Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said she won’t take on a controversial lobbying role at Tulchan Communications.
Davidson had faced calls to quit as an MSP after taking on the £50,000 advisory role, in which would have involved 24 days’ work a year.
“The debate in Scotland about my taking an advisory role with Tulchan Communications has become increasingly contentious,” Davidson said.
“I, and Tulchan, have therefore agreed not to proceed with the appointment.”
Davidson said she had met with Scottish parliamentary officials to “go through the code of conduct, in detail, in order to avoid any conflict and to ensure [she] would be working within the rules at all times”, and that the Tulchan role had “reflected” this.
But she added that a “consensus” had emerged that the role “is somehow incompatible” with her role as an MSP.
“So if I am asked to choose between Holyrood and this role, then I choose the parliament I have dedicated the last nine years to, eight as party leader, a decision Tulchan supports,” Davidson added.
Tulchan founder and senior partner Andrew Grant said: “We share Ruth’s decision not proceed with her role with us”.
“It is a great shame as we believe that she would have encouraged business to be bolder in addressing the issues of concern to their stakeholders.”
News of Davidson’s role had been condemned by PR trade body the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) as “simply wrong”.
“The possible conflict of interest in doing so is clear, and damages the reputation of both our industry, and of the political process,” said PRCA head Frances Ingham.
Grant had hit back at criticism over Davidson’s appointment and accused the PRCA of hypocrisy as some of its own members have appointed politicians as special advisers.
“It’s not about trying to change some regulation somewhere – we are not a lobbying firm and we have specifically excluded lobbying from anything we would ask Ruth to do,” Grant told City A.M. last week.