Lobbyists at Holyrood may have to join a register

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Private organisations seeking to influence government policy could be forced to sign up to a register of lobbyists under legislation being drawn up at Holyrood.

Lothians Labour MSP Neil Findlay is to launch a members’ bill aimed at regulating lobbying in and around the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government and government agencies. Any organisation that devotes “significant resources” to lobbying politicians will be required to publicly record who they are meeting and why they are meeting them.

There would also be sanctions for failing to register, including being struck off.

Mr Findlay said: “I’m a fairly new MSP but since I took office I have noticed that we are being lobbied almost every hour of every day.

“The Scottish Parliament has had very few lobbying scandals, but as they say in business it’s harder to redeem a reputation than it is to protect it in advance, so hopefully this bill will go some way to protecting the Scottish Parliament from some of the issues we have seen at Westminster.”

Westminster is currently nearing the end of a 12-week consultation on its own registered lobbying legislation, designed to “clean up politics”.

MARK MCLAUGHLIN