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Donald Dewar
"All those named in what was after all an over-exaggerated sales pitch were exonerated"
 real 28k

The BBC's Iain Macwhirter reports
"Should the inquiry have happened at all?"
 real 28k

BBC Scotland's political editor Brian Taylor
"The new czar will not stop standards committee investigations"
 real 28k

Friday, 19 November, 1999, 07:12 GMT
Reid quits PR job
The committee decided MSPs were innocent

The son of Scottish Secretary John Reid has resigned from his public relations job following the Lobbygate controversy.

A spokesman for Beattie Media stressed it was Kevin Reid's own decision to leave.

Mr Reid was secretly filmed with a colleague by a newspaper, which reported that the company said it could provide access to government ministers.

The Scottish Parliament's Standards committee has published its final report on the affair, which cleared ministers of any wrong-doing.

No evidence was found that any MSP had breached any code of conduct.

Christina Marshall was among the witnesses
But the report expressed concern about a conflict between the evidence of Alex Barr, an employee of Beattie Media, and Christina Marshall, the secretary of Finance Minister Jack McConnell, who was at the centre of the most serious allegations.

The committee's remit only extends to MSPs and its investigation can go no further.

It will now focus on drawing up a code of conduct for MSPs which will include appropriate safeguards against the influence of lobbyists.

The report also recommends the Ministerial Code of Conduct should be re-examined as it makes no reference to lobbyists.

Negotiations are under way to appoint an independent commissioner for parliamentary standards.

The move won widespread support when proposed last month as it would allow allegations against MSPs to be vetted by a legally-trained official, to weed out the trivial, malicious or politically motivated claims.

The standards committee would still have authority to investigate allegations of a serious nature, but a process of pre-scrutiny, similar to the one which operates at Westminster, would ease the committee's workload.

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See also:
28 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Pulling the strings of power
29 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Minister denies wrongdoing
29 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Dewar heeds calls for official statement
26 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Probe launched into lobbying allegations
27 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Reid defends lobby row son
03 Oct 99 |  Scotland
McConnell pledges to aid standards inquiry
06 Oct 99 |  Scotland
MSPs' watchdog pledges speedy inquiry
29 Oct 99 |  Scotland
Committee to rule on Lobbygate
27 Oct 99 |  Scotland
Secretary disputes Lobbygate evidence
29 Oct 99 |  Scotland
Standards watchdog clears McConnell
31 Oct 99 |  Scotland
Perjury probe over Lobbygate evidence
27 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Suspension call for media company

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