David Whitton

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David Whitton is a former special adviser to the Labour Party[1] and former MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (2007-2011).




Background

In 1970, Forfar-born Whitton began his journalistic career at Dundee publishers DC Thomson. He later moved to the Fife Free Press and Aberdeen's Evening Express where he specialised in coverage of local government. He spent three years at The Scotsman in Glasgow from 1978 to 1981, before becoming Industrial Editor at the Daily Record in 1983. From 1986 to 1996, Whitton worked at broadcasters STV in several roles including producer of current affairs programmes, Westminster Lobby Correspondent and an on-screen reporter. From 1994 to 1996, he was Head of Public Affairs.[2]

1996, Media House

Following Whitton's exit from STV, he had a brief stint at PR firm Media House[3] where he was Director from 1996 to 1998.[4]

1998, Special adviser to the Labour Party

From 1998 to 2000, he was responsible for media relations as special adviser to Secretary of State for Scotland Donald Dewar.[5]

2000, Whitton PR Ltd

In 2000, Whitton established his public affairs firm Whitton PR Ltd. Clients included Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, and the Al Maktoum Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies. At this point, Whitton was also on the committee raising funds for the Donald Dewar Chair of Social Justice.[6]

Whitton was Managing Director of Whitton PR from 2000 to 2007.[7]

The URL http://www.whittonpr.com now redirects to Whitton's Parliamentary Candidate page http://www.davidwhittonmsp.org.uk

2001, Controversy as Whitton PR wins Scottish Enterprise contract

In November 2001, The Scotsman reported that Labour was "mired in fresh allegations of cronyism" following the news that Whitton had won a £100,000 contract to publicise an arm of the Scottish Enterprise network, part of his former colleague and "personal friend" Wendy Alexander's portfolio. Whitton responded saying "That suggestion is complete nonsense. I tendered for the contract with another PR firm, TVI, and we won it fair and square."[8] Journalist Allan Massie of the New Statesman reported:

The board of Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, which comes under the aegis of the Department of Enterprise and its minister, Wendy Alexander, has invited tenders for handling its PR. And to whom was the contract awarded? Why, a PR company set up by one David Whitton, formerly press secretary to the late Donald Dewar. (The under-bidder, incidentally, was Beattie Media, which used to employ the incoming First Minister, Jack McConnell.) It was purely coincidental that the award of the contract to the company was announced a couple of days after Whitton had been making telephone calls in an attempt to drum up support for the same Wendy Alexander as a rival to McConnell in the Labour leadership election that never was. Whitton said he was acting merely as an old friend of Alexander, and that his action was quite unconnected with the contract for which his PR company had bid. There is no doubt he was telling the truth. Equally, there is no doubt that Alexander had nothing to do with awarding the contract.
And yet, it might have occurred to Whitton that it would have been wiser to put some distance between himself (or his PR company) and the minister. That it does not appear to have done tells us quite a lot about Scottish Labour.[9]

2007, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden

In May 2007, Whitton was elected to the Scottish Parliament, having defeated the incumbent Independent MSP Jean Turner.[10]

2011 Election

Whitton lost his seat to SNP member Fiona McLeod.[11]

Contact, Resources, Notes

Contact

Address: David Whitton MSP 78 Townhead
Kirkintilloch
G66 1NZ
Tel: 0141 777 9299
Fax: 0141 777 9299
Website: http://www.davidwhittonmsp.org.uk
Blog: http://davidwhittonmsp.org.uk/david_s_blog

Notes

  1. Info-Dynamics Research, "Where are they now? The 1997/1998 Special Advisers to the Labour Government", GMB: April 2006 Briefing, p8, accessed 28.09.10
  2. "About David", David Whitton MSP, accessed 29.09.10
  3. "About David", David Whitton MSP, accessed 29.09.10
  4. "David Whitton MSP", The Scottish Parliament, accessed 29.09.10
  5. Martin McElwee, "The Great and the Good? The rise of the new class", Centre for Policy Studies, p61, accessed 28.09.10
  6. "About David", David Whitton MSP, accessed 29.09.10
  7. "David Whitton MSP", The Scottish Parliament, accessed 29.09.10
  8. Alison Hardie, "Dewar aide link in crony claims", The Scotsman, 16.11.01, accessed 29.09.10
  9. Allan Massie, "Fit to rule the land of Braveheart?", New Statesman, 26.11.01, accessed 29.09.10
  10. "About David", David Whitton MSP, accessed 29.09.10
  11. Scottish Parliament results for Midlothian North and Musselburgh to Uddingston and Bellshill 2011 election Scottish Parliament, Accessed 18 September 2014