THE Labor MSP who led the charge at Holyrood against lobbying scandals hopes to find work as a lobbyist himself, it has emerged.
Neil Findlay is looking for a public relations career, supporting his “excellent working relationships with the Scottish and UK media, pressure groups and politicians.”
His online resume now features a picture of him, captioned with the hashtag “#opentowork.” in a parliamentary committee room.
Below that, as a “campaign manager, public affairs consultant and communications manager.” the left-leaning MSP notes that he is open to offers.
The SNP said that the move by Mr Findlay would “raise an eyebrow or two”
Mr. Findlay, since 2011 a Lothians MSP, was the campaign manager of Jeremy Corbyn in Scotland and is a leading member in the Scottish Labour Party on the left.
He was the guiding force behind the public registry of officials, MSPs, civil servants and lobbyists, which documents direct interactions.
He cautioned that because they have greater access to policymakers and control over policy and the decision-making process, some lobbyists can enjoy greater influence than others.
Now, as he prepares to step down in the Holyrood elections next year, Mr. Findlay, 51, based on his own connections and experience, is promoting himself as a budding lobbyist.
He says on his LinkedIn page, “I have excellent knowledge of the functions of the Scottish Parliament and local government, having been a member of the Scottish Parliament since 2011 and a councillor for 8 years before that.”
I am a seasoned campaigner who, through a range of lobbying and communication strategies, successfully raises the profile of issues.
I enjoy excellent working relationships across the political spectrum with the Scottish and UK media, stakeholders and politicians. I have a wide knowledge of public policy and the political system, as well as good skills in analysis, communication and public speaking.
“I am seeking a role in campaign management, advocacy, communications or public affairs.”
Findlay has never been opposed to lobbying, but has warned that it could weaken public confidence in politics without greater accountability.
His 2012 Lobbying Disclosure Bill was intended to discourage shadowy peddling of power.
“I believe that lobbying is a legitimate part of the democratic process,” he said, launching a consultation on the new legislation.
But I also believe lobbying should be more transparent and accessible.
“When decisions are made, laws are passed and budgets are adopted, the public has a right to know who is lobbying whom and what they are lobbying about.”
‘The lack of accountability and the controversies and scandals resulting from lobbying activities will undermine public trust in the political process,’ the consultation states.
There are also growing concerns that the power of lobbying works for the benefit of strong interest groups and is carried out without proper external oversight.
“It’s very important that lobbying is conducted to the highest ethical standards and that those involved can be held accountable.”
The Scottish government then introduced its own bill on the issue, which entered into force in 2016, spurred into action, and the lobbying register went live in 2018.
Findlay revealed he will step down as MSP in May 2019 after his party’s disastrous European election campaign and conflicts with parliamentary colleagues.
He condemned “the perennial internal fighting within our party and the toxic culture of leaks and briefings emanating from some within the Scottish and UK caucuses.”
He has been working since July to create a social enterprise called SEJ Consulting, according to his register of interests at Holyrood.
The corporation would try to support community organisations, trade unions, non-governmental organizations, charities, etc. to advocate and affect reform at national and local levels. Until I leave Parliament in March 2020, I will not work or gain any profits for the business [sic].
If fully registered and founded, the company is likely to be a company of general interest that reinvests surpluses after visits into charitable projects, discounted rates or pro bono work.’
“I know I don’t have to register because of this.