RUTH Davidson has been accused of holding her constituents and the Scottish Parliament in contempt after joining a PR firm as a senior adviser, as she faced calls to resign.

The former Scottish Tory leader has been appointed to a post at Tulchan Communications, where she will be paid £50,000 for 24 days’ work a year – while still sitting as an MSP.

The move attracted cross-party condemnation, with calls for her to step down if she is no longer focused on representing Edinburgh Central. 

Labour MSP Neil Findlay accused Ms Davidson - who was recently appointed to the Scottish Parliament’s corporate body, which oversees its workings - of bringing Holyrood into disrepute. 

He said: “Instead of standing up for her constituents in parliament she will be standing up for the firms that her bosses are paid to lobby for.

READ MORE: 'Conflict of interest' row over Ruth Davidson's PR role 

“You cannot be a parliamentarian and a highly paid lobbyist at the same time.

“If she wants to continue pocketing tens of thousands of pounds from this lobbying firm she should resign as an MSP.

“The people of Edinburgh deserve an MSP that will represent them, not private corporations.”

Mr Findlay is putting forward legislation to stop MSPs from having a second job.

Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: “The people of Edinburgh Central elected Ruth Davidson to represent them, not use her position to earn £50,000 from lobbyists.

“This is clearly a conflict of interests. Davidson needs to resign from the [Scottish Parliament's] corporate body and as an MSP so Edinburgh Central can elect a committed representative.

“Most folk who take second jobs do so through pressing necessity. It’s time for a by-election in Edinburgh Central, not to mention a change in the law.

"Neil Findlay’s bill on second jobs for MSPs should be fast tracked to stop this happening again.”

SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald said: “This is a monumental misjudgement from Ruth Davidson, who simply cannot be allowed to accept cash from a lobbying firm while continuing to sit as an MSP.

“That’s not only a conflict of interest – it’s holding her constituents, and the Scottish Parliament as a whole, in contempt.

“Ruth Davidson needs to decide which day job matters. If she isn’t interested in focusing on her role as an MSP she should allow the people of Edinburgh Central to pick a representative who is.

“If she is brazen enough to continue sitting as an MSP, then the questions and pressure on her will simply continue to pile up.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles also joined calls for Ms Davidson to step down.

He said: “Collecting almost twice what the average Scot earns in a year for a handful of days work, on top of her MSPs salary is an absolute joke.

“It spells the end for the growth of the Scottish Conservatives now their former leader is walking away for a fat cat job in the City of London.

"Ruth Davidson has let the people of Edinburgh Central down. If she's not willing to give them proper representation she should step aside and let them choose a new MSP."

Tulchan is a strategic financial and corporate communications advisory firm.

Its website says Ms Davidson, who already earns £63,579 as an MSP, will advise clients on “changing political demands and providing stakeholder value”.

She told the Evening Standard she would not be lobbying or talking to ministers.

She said: “It is about helping people get ahead of where it is going, letting them know what government thinking is, what campaigns are brewing outside of that.”

However, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), the world’s largest PR trade body, criticised the move as unethical.

Director general Francis Ingham said: "It is simply wrong for lobbying agencies to employ legislators.

“The possible conflict of interest in doing so is clear, and damages the reputation of both our industry, and of the political process.

"PRCA members are prohibited from employing parliamentarians - and with good reason. Unlike the vast majority of its competitors, Tulchan is not a PRCA member.

READ MORE: Former Scottish tory leader Ruth Davidson reveals aid work ambition

"But in the public interest, we would nonetheless urge them to reconsider this appointment."

George McGregor, co-chair of the Public Affairs Board, also condemned Ms Davidson's role as “unacceptable”.

He said: “Lobbying companies should not be employing sitting parliamentarians. There is a clear conflict of interest.”

It comes after last week's announcement that Ms Davidson is to chair ITV's new Mental Health Advisory Group, created following the deaths of participants of the Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island.

A former BBC journalist, Ms Davidson said she is "excited" to chair the mental health group which will advise both ITV and STV about the production of shows.

Andrew Feldman, managing partner at Tulchan Communications and a Tory peer, said: "We are delighted that Ruth has chosen to join Tulchan as a senior adviser and look forward to having her on board.

"I have no doubt that our clients will benefit immensely from her insight and unique perspective on the rapidly developing evolving relationship between business and politics and the need to navigate the shifting demands of a broader range of stakeholders."

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Ruth's business advisory role is well within all parliamentary and industry rules.

“It is far less onerous than the party leadership she held for eight years, and she is able to complete the 16 hours a month it requires while still having more time for her family and constituency.

“Ruth is committed to seeing out her term as the MSP for Edinburgh Central.”