Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said she will not now be taking up a “contentious” job with a lobbying firm.
The MSP accepted a role with Tulchan Communications which would have paid £50,000 for 25 days’ work a year.
But other politicians said this would be a conflict of interest and called for Ms Davidson to quit as an MSP.
She insisted the role would have been within Holyrood’s rules, but said she had agreed to “step back” from the job.
Ms Davidson, who quit as Scottish Tory leader earlier in the year and is expected to step down from Holyrood at the next election, was to serve as a “senior advisor” with the communications firm.
She said she had sat down with parliamentary officials to “go through the code of conduct in detail in order to avoid any conflict and ensure I would be working within the rules at all times”.
However all of Holyrood’s other parties were critical of the move and called for Ms Davidson to “decide which day job matters”.
The SNP said she was “holding her constituents and the Scottish Parliament as a whole in contempt”, while Labour said her Edinburgh constituents “deserve and MSP that will represent them, not private corporations”.
Ms Davidson accepted that the debate about the job had “become increasingly contentious”.
She said that as a result, she and the firm had “agreed not to proceed with the appointment”.
“The consensus view from political opponents and commentators is that working to improve businesses’ understanding of the cares and concerns of people is somehow incompatible with my role as an MSP,” she said.
“So if I am asked to choose between Holyrood and this role, then I choose the parliament I have dedicated the last nine years to, eight as party leader, a decision Tulchan supports.
“I would like to thank Tulchan for asking me to take on the role.”
Politicians who were criticised over second jobs
- Former Chancellor George Osborne faced calls to quit as an MP over his extra commitments. He was editing the London Evening Standard, working as an adviser at BlackRock, the chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, a Kissinger Fellow at the McCain Institute and undertook engagements at the Washington Speaker’s Bureau.
- Kezia Dugdale was criticised for receiving a fee of £70,000 for appearing on I’m a Celebrity. The former Scottish Labour leader was formally reprimanded by her party for her absence from the Scottish Parliament while she was appearing on the ITV show.
- Former foreign secretaries Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind were criticised after they were secretly recorded apparently offering their services to a private company for cash. Both denied any wrongdoing.
- Scottish Tory MP and Scottish Football Association referee Douglas Ross said he would no longer accept refereeing appointments when Parliament was sitting, after he was criticised for missing a debate on Universal Credit to run the line at a Champions League match.