Labour and Green MSPs raise the standard for voluntary flow of information from Scottish Parliament pending publication of secret Holyrood Diaries

holyrood-logoAt least two MSPs in the Scottish Parliament have nothing to hide – and nothing to fear – from the forthcoming publication of ‘The Secretary Holyrood Diaries’.

This is the name of the freedom of information disclosure requirement – containing details of all public visitors processed through the ‘nuclear power station-style’ security gates at the Scottish Parliament on their way to meet Holyrood MSPs.

As the Scottish parliament is a ‘public body’ the information it holds – through such registration, notification and vetting – this ‘public information’ which must be disclosed.

The requirement for such publication was made to the chief clerk of the Scottish parliament by Scottish Energy News and is due to be issued on 7 December 2016.

Over and above this, Scottish Energy News has individually requested MSPs to voluntarily provide such information – as is good practice adopted by Tory Euro MP Malcolm Wickes, who publishes a ‘Lobbying Log’ of all individuals and/or organisations he has held meetings with in the course of his daily job as a public servant.

The Lobbying Log - with dates, names, and organisations, of meetings held by Tory Euro MEP Malcolm Wickes
The publicly-discosed Lobbying Log – with dates, names, and organisations, of meetings held by Tory Euro MEP Malcolm Wickes

Many MSPs in the Scottish parliament are presently hiding  behind the meretricious defence that they are not ‘public bodies’ as their excuse not to similarly voluntarily disclose their recently-passed diaries of meetings held in Holyrood – obviously oblivious to the fact that MSPs – including Labour’s Neil Findlay and Andy Wightman, (now a Green MSP) after a spending a working lifetime campaigning in favour of open-ness, transparency and freedom of information – have already volunteered to do so.

Scottish Energy News has a particular interest in energy-related matters and lodged the writ after our reporter was physically banned from attending a meeting in Holyrood of the cross-party Scottish Parliament group on renewable energy and energy-efficiency on the orders of Paul Grice, chief clerk.

The principles of open-ness, transparency, accountability and ethical behaviour are basic building blocks of democracy and are expressly embedded in the Codes on Ethical Behaviour in Public Life.

Perhaps MSPs from the other parties would like to follow the voluntarily best-practice example set by Findlay and Wightman?

Andy Wightman, Green MSP (Lothians)
Andy Wightman, Green MSP (Lothians)
Neil Findlay, Labour MSP (Llothian)
Neil Findlay, Labour MSP (Lothians)

And perhaps the Scottish Green and Labour party leaders, as well as Tory Ruth Davidson and the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon should have a word to the wise with them before the 7 December deadline?

In addition to the Scottish Crown Estate, Scottish news agencies, SNP MSPs and a senior Advocate at the Scottish Bar, those involved in the Scottish energy sector who also are keen to know the contents of the MSPs’ Secret Holyrood Diaries include inter aliaSee also: goo.gl/huQHyq

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