Calls to resign as MSP

Davidson in conflict of interest row over PR role

Ruth Davidson announcing her resignation as Tory leader (pic: Terry Murden)

Former Scottish Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson is at the centre of a conflict of interest dispute after she was appointed an adviser to a public relations and lobbying firm.

Ms Davidson, who resigned as Scottish Tory leader in August months after giving birth and amid concerns over the party’s Brexit policy, has joined London agency Tulchan Communications.

Tulchan represents a number of major companies, including drinks giant Diageo, construction firm Galliford Try and the insurer Prudential.

Ms Davidson will be paid £50,000 for 24 days work a year but will remain a member of the Scottish Parliament, representing Edinburgh Central until 2021.

Her dual role has drawn criticism from the Public Relations and Communications Association which said: “It is simply wrong for lobbying agencies to employ legislators.”

Francis Ingham, director general of the PRCA, said: “The possible conflict of interest in doing so is clear, and damages the reputation of both our industry, and of the political process.

“PRCA members are prohibited from employing parliamentarians – and with good reason. Unlike the vast majority of its competitors, Tulchan is not a PRCA member. But in the public interest, we would nonetheless urge them to reconsider this appointment.”

Ruth Davidson’s actions bring the Scottish Parliament into disrepute

– Neil Findlay, Scottish Labour

Scottish Labour and the SNP called for Ms Davidson to resign as an MSP.

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay is putting forward a Member’s Bill at the Scottish Parliament which will stop MSPs from having a second job.

“Ruth Davidson’s actions bring the Scottish Parliament into disrepute,” he said.

“Instead of standing up for her constituents in parliament she will be standing up for the firms that her bosses are paid to lobby for.

“You cannot be a parliamentarian and a highly paid lobbyist at the same time.If she wants to continue pocketing tens of thousands of pounds from this lobbying firm she should resign as an MSP.

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