Campaigning Labour MSP Neil Findlay demanded that the shroud of secrecy around politicians' dealings with lobbyists be lifted today after revelations that most specialist cross-party groups had failed to lodge details of the cash they receive from outside forces.
Lothian representative Mr Findlay raised the call for a statutory register of lobbyists "to improve transparency and accountability" - and is proposing a parliamentary Bill to achieve it.
He spoke out after it was revealed that the vast majority of the 70-plus cross-party groups in the Scottish Parliament have not declared what, if any, financial backing they had from lobbyists.
Sixty-three failed to file annual returns detailing cash and other support they have received despite strict rules at Holyrood stating that cross-party groups must do so.
The latest revelations follow reports that lobbyists operating in Westminster, including arms manufacturers and pharmaceutical firms, have paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to cross-party groups there.
Mr Findlay has already attracted support for his Lobbying Transparency Scotland Bill, but the latest failures shine an even brighter spotlight on the issue.
He said today: "Cross-party groups play an important role in parliament but recent revelations from Westminster on the large amounts of money paid by lobbyists, businesses and trade organisations to some cross-party groups highlights the need for action to improve transparency.
"I suspect the amounts of money paid to such groups in the Scottish Parliament will be much, much smaller but this doesn't mean they shouldn't be declaring what is received.
"This is evidence of another area of the Scottish Parliament's work that needs reform.
"I hope that MSPs from all parties will support improvements, not just to the accountability of cross-party groups but also with the way in which lobbyists interact with Parliament across the board.
"My Lobbying Transparency Scotland Bill seeks to create a statutory register of lobbyists to improve transparency and accountability.
"I look forward to taking it through Parliament in 2013."
Industries which lobby Scottish Parliament cross-party groups include brewing, construction, whisky and energy - all of which could stand to benefit from influencing legislation.
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