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Lobbying firm criticised for Ian Duncan appointment

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Lobbying firm criticised for Ian Duncan appointment

An Edinburgh-based lobbying firm has been criticised for appointing Ian Duncan, a deputy speaker in the House of Lords, as a consulting partner.

Charlotte Street Partners has been urged by industry body the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) to rethink the move, warning it breaks the public affairs code.

The firm has also had its membership of the Association for Scottish Public Affairs revoked.

Lord Duncan of Springbank was appointed to the role last week.

Both the PRCA and ASPA codes of ethics state public relations and public affairs firms should not hire sitting legislators.

But Charlotte Street Partners has opted out of adherence to the PRCA code.

Liam Herbert, PRCA public affairs committee chair said: “It is simply wrong for lobbying firms to employ members of the House of Lords and unthinkable that the deputy speaker of the Lords himself would think it appropriate to accept such a job.

“The PRCA public affairs code is crystal clear – you cannot be a legislator and a lobbyist. You have to pick one or the other.”

Meanwhile, ASPA convener Peter Duncan said: “Our code of conduct makes the position completely clear and as a result Charlotte Street Partners will no longer be entitled to membership of our association.”

A spokesperson for Charlotte Street Partners told that Lord Duncan would not be undertaking any lobbying role, but rather would work for the firm as a strategic consultant.

It comes after former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was criticised for planning to take up a role with PR firm Tulchan Communications in 2019.

Davidson ended up U-turning on the appointment to the £50,000 a year role after she faced pressure to quit as an MSP.

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