Monday, September 27, 1999 Published at 08:24 GMT 09:24 UK
Suspension call for media company
Beattie Media has apologised for any embarrassment caused
Pressure is growing for Scotland's professional PR body to suspend Beattie Media, which is at the centre of allegations over suspect lobbying methods.
A senior member of the Association for Scottish Public Affairs said she will demand the company's immediate suspension.
Julia Clarke, chief executive of a parliamentary affairs consultancy, said she is very concerned at the "disturbing allegations".
"ASPA and its members fully support the all-party objectives of openness, accountability and transparency in Scotland's Parliament.
"Therefore as a matter of urgency, I shall be calling for the suspension of Beattie Media as soon as possible from the ASPA pending completion of full inquiries into these allegations."
The suspension call follows allegations in the Observer newspaper that Beattie Media, Scotland's largest PR firm, touted for business by offering privileged access to ministers - including Finance Minister Jack McConnell.
The company has denied the story and has apologised for any embarrassment which has been caused to Mr McConnell.
It has also taken steps to suspend its parliamentary lobbying division.
As the story broke on Sunday morning, a statement announcing a probe into the allegations was issued on behalf of First Minister Donald Dewar.
Mr McConnell issued a statement before the paper's publication rubbishing the charges.
But he has remained tight-lipped since.