Ruth Davidson faces calls to resign as MSP over PR role

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Ruth DavidsonImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Ms Davidson led the Scottish Conservatives for eight years

Ruth Davidson is facing calls to resign as an MSP after taking a paid job with a lobbying firm.

The former Scottish Conservatives leader has been appointed as a senior adviser to PR firm Tulchan Communications.

She will be paid £50,000 for 25 days' work a year on top of her MSP salary of £63,579.

But despite the criticism, the party said the role was "within all parliamentary and industry rules".

Ms Davidson, who gave birth to son Finn last year, resigned as Scottish Conservative leader in August.

At the time, the Edinburgh Central MSP admitted she was "hopelessly conflicted over Brexit".

Last month Ms Davidson confirmed she is unlikely to seek re-election in 2021.

Politicians who were criticised over second jobs

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Kezia Dugdale and George Osborne were criticised

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay plans to lodge a Member's Bill in the Scottish Parliament to ban MSPs from having second jobs.

He accused Ms Davidson of bringing the parliament "into disrepute" and said: "You cannot be a parliamentarian and a highly-paid lobbyist at the same time.

"If she wants to continue pocketing tens of thousands of pounds from this lobbying firm, she should resign as an MSP.

"The people of Edinburgh deserve an MSP that will represent them, not private corporations."

'Conflict of interest'

The SNP's Gordon MacDonald urged the former journalist to "decide which day job matters".

He said: "That's not only a conflict of interest - it's holding her constituents, and the Scottish Parliament as a whole, in contempt."

Image source, Andrew Cowan/AFP

Scottish Greens co-leader Alison Johnstone and Scottish Liberal Democrat Mike Rumbles also called for Ms Davidson to step aside.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said the role was "well within all parliamentary and industry rules.

"It is far less onerous than the party leadership she held for eight years, and she is able to complete the 16 hours a month it requires while still having more time for her family and constituency.

"Ruth is committed to seeing out her term as the MSP for Edinburgh Central."