Would anyone be surprised to learn their msp may be handing out special passes to lobbyists so they could walk around the Parliament, meeting anyone they chose to and arrange all sorts of
scams favours fiddles deals travel junkets fact finding trips etc while constituents who might request one such pass may well be told to take a hike ?
The Sunday Herald reports SNP MSP Tricia Marwick saying "It's unbelievable that we have voluntary organisations who are lobbyists having uncontrolled access to the parliament. They're able to enter the MSP block and do whatever they please. We need a comprehensive review of who has passes and the purpose of giving passes."
Among the lobbyists reported in the story are those from the environment, religious groups, and political party colleagues who failed to gain election seats ... also a few commercial lobbyists such as Devin Scobie, who runs Caledonia Consulting - where Lord Watson, now out of jail from arson charges and back in political life is based, according to an earlier Sunday Herald report HERE
Well, no time like the present is there ? Time to light a fire under the passes system ?
MSPS ARE handing out prized Holyrood passes to lobbyists, allowing them unrestricted access to all areas of the parliament,the Sunday Herald has established.
Around one in five MSPs has given a "regular visitor" pass to either an interest group, a party colleague or an organisation that has given money to their party.
Now a member of the parliament's corporate body, Nationalist MSP Tricia Marwick, is demanding an overhaul of Holyrood's lobbying rules.
This comes in the wake of recent revelations about peers handing out Westminster passes to organisations with whom they have a financial relationship. The House of Lords resisted publishing details of who received passes, but gave in after a freedom of information request.
Now Holyrood has come under fire after publishing a list of pass-holders, who get security clearance on condition they do not engage in lobbying.
Twenty-four MSPs have given individuals or organisations regular visitor passes, nearly 90% of which have gone to lobbyists, party colleagues or donors.
The environment minister Richard Lochhead, an SNP member, gave a pass to Scottish Renewables lobbyist and Nationalist councillor Grant Thoms. Schools minister Maureen Watt sponsored Leonard Cheshire parliamentary officer and SNP member Ryan McQuigg.
Labour MSP Karen Gillon signed a pass form for Unison's Dave Watson, who is also vice-chairman of Scottish Labour. Her colleague, Pauline McNeill, helped PCS union representative and Labour member Lynn Henderson get a pass.
Similarly,Labour'sPaulMartin sponsored Amicus's "political officer" Allan Cameron, whose organisation, like Unison, is a generous party donor.
LibDem members also helped party colleagues get into Holyrood without regular security checks. Jeremy Purvis gave a pass to Fairbridge Scotland's Alex Cole-Hamilton, a LibDem candidate at the last Holyrood election. Iain Smith sponsored the party's campaigns officer Charles Dundas, and Hugh O'Donnell signed in Oxfam's Shabnum Mustapha, a LibDem candidate in Glasgow.
Religious groups also gained access. Labour's Ken Macintosh sponsored two members of the Scottish Council for Jewish Communities, while SNP MSPs ensured the Free Church of Scotland and Catholic Church received passes. But the main beneficiary were environmentalists, with lobbyists from RSPB, WWF, Scottish Environmental Link and Friends of the Earth all getting visitor status.
Commercial lobbyist Devin Scobie, who runs Caledonia Consulting, also received a pass, after being sponsored by parliament official Carol Devon.
The issue is controversial because most interest groups, and all members of the public, can only walk around parliament if escorted by an MSP. A regular visitor's pass, by contrast, affords access to Holyrood for a four-year parliamentary session. Passholders can walk around unrestricted and make bookings through the members' restaurant.
But SNP MSP Marwick said: "It's unbelievable that we have voluntary organisations who are lobbyists having uncontrolled access to the parliament. They're able to enter the MSP block and do whatever they please. We need a comprehensive review of who has passes and the purpose of giving passes."
A parliament spokesman said that although a visitor's pass allowed access toindividualswho hadparliamentary business it "did not entitle them to the unsolicited lobbying of members".