Scotland Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:58 pm on 27th January 2011.

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Photo of Ann McKechin Ann McKechin Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland 1:58 pm, 27th January 2011

It is now more than 12 years since the then Labour Government guided the pioneering Scotland Act 1998 through this House. I was proud to join thousands of fellow Scots of different political persuasions and of none in campaigning for its creation. It was undoubtedly one of Labour's most important achievements. It has strengthened our democracy and brought government closer to the people and it works well in practice.

However, we recognised the need to review the challenges that the Scottish Parliament had faced in almost 10 years in operation-first, in how it could meet people's desire to strengthen its functions, and secondly, in how to increase its financial accountability to the people of Scotland. The resulting Calman commission report was a serious, balanced and thorough analysis of Scotland's constitutional arrangements. I would like to take this opportunity to commend Sir Ken Calman and his fellow commissioners for their work and the manner in which it was conducted. Despite the fact that the call for the establishment of the commission was initiated by a clear majority at Holyrood, it was rejected by the SNP Government, who preferred instead to engage in a costly, unpopular and one-sided so-called "national conversation" on a wholly independent Scotland.