Success for Lobbying transparency in Scotland!

Earlier this year the Scottish Parliament passed the UK’s first devolved Lobbying Register.

It goes much further than David Cameron’s bogus Westminster register. It requires virtually all lobbyists to register, disclose who they are talking to and what about.

It’s a big win for campaigners who secured a more extensive register than originally proposed by the Scottish Government. Thanks to their work it will also cover the political advisors who have a big say in ministerial decisions, and attempts to exempt freelance lobbyists-for-hire were seen off.

There’s much more to do, however. The new law doesn’t cover conversations via phone or email, and doesn’t record how much is being spent on a campaign. The difference between a lobbying campaign costing £5000 and £500,000 is clearly a matter of public interest. 

The Scottish public think the law needs to go further. A YouGov poll showed 92% of people want to know how much is being spent on lobbying, and 87% want the Register to cover phone calls and emails.

Unlock Democracy worked together with partners in the Scottish Alliance for Lobbying Transparency including SpinWatch, Unlock Democracy, Electoral Reform Society Scotland, CommonWeal,  Alcohol Focus Scotland,  Global Justice Now, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Transparency International UK to secure the law Lobbying law.