Press release 04th Jan 2024

Keir Starmer speech: Transparency International UK urges Scottish Government to elevate standards

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January 4, 2024 - Following a speech from Keir Starmer in which he pledged to ‘clean up politics’ and acknowledged that voters feel ‘anti-Westminster’, Transparency International UK warns that the Scottish Government cannot rest on its laurels simply because “it isn’t as bad as Westminster”. 

The Labour leader today promised a “crackdown on cronyism” and acknowledged that some voters felt “angry about what politics has become”. 


Juliet Swann, Transparency International UK’s Nations and Regions Programme Manager, said: 

“As Holyrood turns 25 is it really enough that when honesty and integrity are questioned the response is to compare Scottish politics favourably to Westminster? 

“Abiding by principles of honesty, integrity, accountability, and transparency should be a rush to the top, not a race to the bottom. 

“When Humza Yousaf took over as First Minister, we suggested he appoint a ‘Good Governance Champion’ to oversee the use and usefulness of tools to ensure political accountability. This would demonstrate commitment to his pledge to restore trust and act with integrity.  

“Delivering on more than just rhetoric and demonstrating an ethical and inclusive approach would bring hope, serve to improve trust in politics, enhance engagement, and deliver better policy decisions and outcomes, rather than resting in the complacency that Holyrood might at least be better than Westminster.” 



Notes to editors: 

In April 2023, Transparency International UK wrote to First Minister Humza Yousaf offering the organisation’s advice and collaboration to take forward a programme for good governance in Scotland. 

We suggested that to demonstrate he is serious about integrity in public life, the Scottish Government should appoint a Good Governance Champion, with responsibility for: 

·         Government and Parliament to develop a more strategic approach to promoting and ensuring integrity in public life in Scotland.  

·         Scrutinising agencies and challenging the performance of relevant departments.  

·         Monitoring the delivery of open and transparent public inquiries, including the Scottish Covid inquiry.   

·         Initiating an independent review into the architecture of political integrity and transparency in Scotland, taking into account recent reports from Audit Scotland; the recommendations of the 
Public Audit and Post Legislative Scrutiny Committee’s review of the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016; recommendations from the Citizens’ Assembly on the Future of Scotland in this area; and associated European standards.  

·         Establishing an independent review of the governance of nationalised enterprises in Scotland including Ferguson Marine, referencing Transparency International’s 10 Anti-Corruption Principles for State-Owned Enterprises