Cross Party Group on the Civil Nuclear Industry

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Nuclear spin.png This article is part of the Nuclear Spin project of Spinwatch.

Lobbying controversy

The Scottish equivalent of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Nuclear Energy was set up by MSPs to promote 'consideration and discussion of aspects of the civil nuclear industry which come within the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament, including environmental, economic and planning issues relating to the commissioning, operation and decommissioning of nuclear plant, and liaison with interested groups, including management and employees in the industry and other stakeholders."[1] It is supposed to be neutral on nuclear power.

On the eve of the launch of the 2006 energy review, the Scottish Sunday Herald revealed that the CPG had "failed to declare the administrative support it receives from nuclear power firm British Energy that runs eight power stations in the UK. Services include drafting agendas and taking minutes of meetings, none of which is made available to the public." The newspaper also reported that the CPG was given presentations by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the nuclear waste agency, Nirex, and had gone on a trip to a nuclear power station with its UK counterpart, the Nuclear Energy APPG. [2]

According to the Sunday Herald, the Scottish Parliament has been asked to investigate whether the Cross Party Group "flouted anti-sleaze rules" as it has "has failed to register a number of trips and dinners financed by organisations that support the controversial energy source." [3]

"The group's register also leaves the 'financial benefits' section blank, despite Holyrood rules requiring CPGs to register 'financial or other benefits' exceeding £250 received from any source. "But last August, nuclear plant operator British Nuclear Fuels Limited funded 'accommodation' costs for MSPs to visit the reprocessing plant at Sellafield".

"Weeks later, the CPG and its Westminster equivalent, the all-party group on nuclear energy, attended a dinner paid for them by the nuclear industry. This was preceded months earlier by a trip to Torness, home to one of Scotland's nuclear plants, part of which was funded by British Energy".

According to the paper,

Critics say the group has broken the MSPs' code of conduct and compromised the forum's impartiality by accepting financial benefits from outfits that back new reactors. They want parliament to examine the role of commercial lobbyists in arranging meetings between their pro-nuclear clients and politicians.

Secret spinners

According to the newspaper, after it "...started making enquiries about the group last week, the name of a well-known lobbyist mentioned on the website was erased." The lobbyist in question is Thomas Docherty, as illustrated by this screenshot of the old version of the CPG's website, which was still in the Yahoo cache a few days after The Herald report was published.[4]

In addition, the website listing for Nirex's representative on the CPG was altered: Rachel Robertson (daughter of former NATO Secretary General George Robertson) from Fleishman-Hillard was on the Group, although she was listed as being from Nirex and not the PR company itself. [5] She was replaced by Ian Price. Unless there are two Ian Prices working for Nirex in Edinburgh, this is the same person who is a member of staff of Fleishman-Hillard, based in the PR firm's Edinburgh office, [6] and is seconded to Nirex. [7] If so, the fact that he is a public relations professional is not disclosed on the CPG's website. [8]


Information as of 25 January, 2005 [9]



External links