ONE of Scotland’s most senior public affairs specialists has said his firm has become a “target” for criticism amid increased scrutiny of the lobbying world.

Andrew Wilson, an SNP backer who helped found Charlotte Street Partners (CSP), denied he is a corporate lobbyist and said some of the descriptions of his firm are “completely unfair”.

Wilson has been in the public eye this year over his chairmanship of the SNP Growth Commission, set up by the First Minister to refresh the economic case for independence.

However, the “strategic communications” firm he helped set up, CSP, has also attracted media coverage over the company not declaring its clients.

Known clients, past and present, have included News Scotland - the publishers of The Times and The Sunday Times - Tesco, Cluff Natural Resources, FirstGroup and Abellio, although the CSP website does not provide a current list.

READ: Interview with Andrew Wilson, chair of the SNP Growth Commission

Wilson is a former SNP MSP, and fellow CSP Partner Kevin Pringle was the Scottish Government’s top spin doctor when Alex Salmond was First Minister.

Asked how he felt about being described as a corporate lobbyist, Wilson, who also used to work for the Royal Bank of Scotland, told this newspaper: “Create a pejorative term, badge someone and then you can stop thinking. I have seen people call me a banker. It’s like describing the people that sell pies at Parkhead as footballers. I work for a strategic communications consultancy.”

He added: “I can think of one occasion when I have spoken to a Government Minister with a client on the issues that affect the client, and that Government Minister was David Mundell.”

On some of the references to CSP in the media, he said. “It’s completely unfair. It doesn’t reflect the reality of what we do here. We’ve become a target,” he says.

He added: “We do debate every client from the perspective of ‘do we feel, as a team, able to work for this organisation?’, and it goes beyond the ethics. It’s also a cultural point. Are we working with people for whom we feel we can be respected, and respect them? So that’s the test that we apply.”

On ethical red lines and clients, the Sunday Herald sketched out three scenarios for Wilson. Asked whether CSP would work for a tobacco company, he said: “It’s unlikely that we would.”

How about if Russian propaganda channel RT wanted CSP to promote The Alex Salmond Show? “Unlikely to be asked, or to do it.”

And what if Trump International needed a PR firm to promote its Scottish business? “That would be a harder one, but I think we probably would be unlikely to do it.”