Former Green spin doctor extends monitoring arm

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A media firm run by a former spin doctor for the Green Party is preparing to launch parliamentary monitoring of Westminster and Whitehall after winning its first customers for a similar service at Holyrood.

Edinburgh-based Cutbot – which was set up in 2009 by James Mackenzie, a former head of media for the Green MSPs – has signed up land owner The Crown Estate and the Scottish Youth Parliament for its Scottish scheme.

The firm joined forces last month with political monitoring firm Newsdirect to launch the tracking programme, which covers the Scottish Government and Holyrood. The service includes the 500-plus parliamentary questions answered each month and the nearly 300 motions lodged by MSPs.

Mackenzie, who is Cutbot’s commercial director, set up the company with technical director Aaron Crane, who was lead developer at technology news website The Register. The firm already scans more than 1.5 million news articles each week for clients including Edinburgh Airport, Scottish Renewables and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

The business is expecting more organisations to show interest in the run-up to the independence referendum.

Mackenzie said: “This is going to be a crucial year for anyone with an interest in the work of the Scottish Parliament and government.

“We’re not aware of anyone else in this country who can offer media and public affairs monitoring in one service, and that’s before Cutbot starts Westminster and Whitehall.”