Smith Commission

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 14th January 2015.

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Photo of Lorraine Fullbrook Lorraine Fullbrook Conservative, South Ribble 11:30 am, 14th January 2015

What the next steps are for implementation of the Smith commission proposals.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael The Secretary of State for Scotland

The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have made it clear that the Government are committed to delivering draft clauses by 25 January.

Photo of Lorraine Fullbrook Lorraine Fullbrook Conservative, South Ribble

Following the Prime Minister’s meeting with the new First Minister, does the Secretary of State expect full support from the Scottish Government in ensuring a speedy delivery of the proposals in the draft Bill?

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael The Secretary of State for Scotland

I have learned over the years not to expect too much when working with the Scottish Government, but I am hopeful that that will be the case. One way or the other, however, we shall deliver on the undertakings that were given.

Photo of Iain McKenzie Iain McKenzie Labour, Inverclyde

The Smith commission agreement contained a strong desire to see devolution extend to local government. Will the Secretary of State impress upon the SNP Scottish Government the need to embrace that desire, release their iron grip on power and devolve to local government?

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael The Secretary of State for Scotland

Indeed. This is something we hear from communities across the country in Scotland. Power in Scotland has been sucked up, particularly from local councils, and exercised at the centre by the Scottish Government. That was not how devolution was ever intended to work, and they need to change their approach.

Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture and Sport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution)

The Smith commission is not the only example of parties working together. Yesterday, we saw a fantastic example, when Scottish Labour walked through the Lobby with the Conservatives to support Conservative austerity. Does the Secretary of State envisage any other such “better together” moments coming before the next general election?

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael The Secretary of State for Scotland

The only remarkable thing about that is that it tells us absolutely nothing about what the SNP would do to tackle the deficit, if—heaven help us—they were ever in a position to influence it.