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Concerns raised over MSPs exploiting lobbying loopholes

INVESTIGATIONS into undocumented lobbying being carried out within the Scottish government has raised concerns about loopholes being exploited by ministers. 

Joint analysis by media co-operative The Ferret and the Herald newspaper found that hundreds of meetings held had not subsequently been reported to the lobbying register. 

The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 requires face-to-face meetings between ministers or advisers and outside groups to be registered by those who seek to lobby, but phone calls, emails and communication via messaging apps do not have to be recorded. 

Yesterday the government was accused of exploiting these loopholes, with opposition MSPs claiming there are questions over whether the current legislation is fit for purpose. 

Scottish Labour’s Neil Bibby said: “With countless key meetings going unrecorded, it is clear that the SNP are exploiting loopholes to avoid scrutiny.

“These shameless attempts to undermine the spirit of the lobbying Act are all too typical from a government constantly avoiding any and all transparency.”

The Scottish government said it was “committed to transparency,” adding that “all ministerial engagements are recorded and published, including meetings held via phone calls.”

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