Scotland Election 2016

Scottish Labour calls for MSP second job ban

Holyrood debating chamber Image copyright Wikipedia

MSPs would be banned from holding second jobs under a package of Holyrood reforms proposed by Scottish Labour.

It also argues the bulk of committee convenors and the presiding officer should come from opposition parties.

The proposed ban on second jobs would include paid directorships and consultancies.

An SNP spokesman said it would try to find agreement but it was up to parliament to decide its rules in a "consensual, democratic way".

Scottish Labour's democracy spokeswoman Claire Baker said the changes would improve parliamentary scrutiny.

'Full attention'

Speaking ahead of MSPs returning to the parliament on Monday, she said: "Our manifesto contained many proposals for reforming the Scottish Parliament that received backing from all opposition parties.

"We will work with other parties to make them a reality.

"As a start, the presiding officer and the majority of committee convenerships should not come from the governing party.

"We saw in the last term that SNP-dominated committees did not provide anywhere near the level of scrutiny that the government's work required. We will work to change that - but we must go further.

"People require confidence that the politicians they elect to serve are giving them the full attention they deserve.

Image caption Both Labour and the Tories want committee convenors to come from opposition parties

"Being a member of the Scottish Parliament is an immense privilege and it should be the only job that MSPs do. That is why we will push for a ban on MSPs holding second jobs, including paid directorships and consultancies."

The Scottish Conservatives - now the main opposition party after returning 31 MSPs in the Scottish Parliament election - have also called for improved parliamentary scrutiny.

The Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson also argues that Holyrood committees should have opposition MSPs as their convenors.

An SNP spokesman said: "Parliament will decide all of these issues in a consensual, democratic way, as it always has done.

"The shape of Holyrood's committees is determined by the strength of parties in the parliament - again in line with democratic principles.

"And it isn't for any single MSP or party - certainly not those who lost the election by a country mile - to try and dictate terms.

"The SNP government will seek to work with all parties to find consensus wherever possible, if it is in the interests of the people of Scotland.

"At the same time, Ruth Davidson and Labour need to respect the verdict of voters across Scotland, who have handed the SNP an overwhelming victory at this election and with it a clear mandate from the public to deliver on our manifesto commitments."

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