Andrew Whitaker (“Support grows for new restrictions on Holyrood lobbyists”, Perspective, 18 November) suggests that the BMA opposes the creation of a lobbyists register.
Our response to the consultation exercise clearly states that the BMA is supportive of the principal aims of transparency that are at the heart of this consultation.
However, we are not clear as to the reasons for the introduction of this bill. We recognise that at Westminster there have been a number of high-profile lobbying “scandals” in recent years, which have reduced the credibility of some politicians and diminished the public’s trust in the democratic process as a result.
However, no such concerns have been expressed in Scotland regarding the behaviour and conduct of public affairs professionals or the organisations that they represent.
Therefore, it is difficult to see what problem this proposed legislation is trying to resolve. If such concerns exist, however, it would be beneficial to address these openly as part of this consultation process.
It is because of these uncertainties and the lack of information, particularly on the definition of lobbying, in the consultation document, that the BMA cannot currently support the creation of a lobbying register in Scotland.