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SNP MEP and Party President Ian Hudghton is supporting stronger checks on political lobbyists who try to influence legislation in the European Parliament and other EU institutions. MEPs meeting in Brussels debated proposed new rules for lobbyists including a mandatory public register of lobbyists, comprehensive financial disclosure and a code of conduct with sanctions available.
Mr Hudghton welcomed the new rules and the European Commission is now expected to prepare for setting up a comprehensive register of lobbyists in the coming months. Speaking after the vote in Brussels, the SNP MEP said:
"Public confidence in politics has taken a tumble in recent years and I hope that measures like these to promote greater openness and transparency will help restore that loss of confidence.
"I fully support a mandatory public register of lobbyists, a requirement for full financial disclosures and an enforceable code of conduct. These measures are entirely justified and fully in the public interest. Ethical, honest lobbyists should have nothing to fear.
"There was some concern that parts of the legislation would be overly burdensome on certain organisations. That's why I'm pleased we were able to secure exemptions relating to the provision of confidential legal advice and an exemption for government representations (like Scotland's representation in Brussels) who play an important role influencing EU legislation.
"These new requirements are a set of sensible measures that should bring greater clarity and openness to this area of politics."