CIPR: “Professional Lobbyists do not trade on their contacts”

Meetings set up by former Special Advisor, Jennifer Dempsie, with Scottish Government Ministers, are alleged to have secured to £150,000 “ad hoc State aid” being paid to the organisers of the T in the Park Festival. Questions relating to the contact between Ms Dempsie’s clients and Ministers have given rise to calls for a Scottish Government inquiry.

Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive
Professional lobbyists help their clients and employers understand legislative and political processes and do not trade on their contacts.

It is alleged in this case that meetings were gained based on personal knowledge of Ministers. A professional lobbyist would expect to gain access on the credibility of their information and arguments. They should avoid situations which can give rise to questions about the improper use, in the service of their clients or employers, of any relationships they have developed with senior politicians or officials in the course of their political lives or former employment. A professional will recognise and manage such situations in a way that does not put reputations at risk.

Lobbying is a critical part of our democratic process and because of this, it should always be conducted in plain view. This is why we set up and maintain the UK Lobbying Register, which is open to all lobbyists, free of charge providing they are willing to subscribe to a code of conduct.

We welcome the proposal for a Scottish Lobbying Register and believe that it presents an opportunity for the Scottish Government to support the promotion of professional standards that will drive any malpractice out of lobbying in Scotland.
Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive