LAST week this newspaper welcomed Nicola Sturgeon’s renewed push for independence.

On Friday, the First Minister set out plans for a grand listening exercise to assess the public mood in the wake of the UK’s vote for Brexit and Scotland’s vote to Remain.

However, this long-awaited, much-anticipated and positive move forward for the Yes movement has been tarnished.

For one of the measures Sturgeon announced was a new SNP Growth Commission to examine the economics of independence and help craft future government policy.

The idea is sound, but her choice of a corporate lobbyist as its chair is not. It is cliquey, small town Scotland at its worst.

Andrew Wilson, the former SNP MSP who now runs Charlotte Street Partners, has many fine qualities, no doubt. But he also has clients in big business, and that means conflicts of interest.

One of his past customers was Cluff Natural Resources, which wanted to ignite coal under the sea off Scotland to collect methane and has close ties to the fracking giant Halliburton.

However most of Charlotte Street’s clients are secret because this influential firm, which seems to have a direct line to the SNP, does not volunteer them, unlike many of its rivals.

How then are people to judge whether Wilson’s work on the Commission reflects what is best for Scotland or what is best for the firms that pay his bills?

At the very least, he should make Charlotte Street’s client list public. If he will not, or if his clients won’t let him, then the answer to his conflict is obvious: step down as chair.