20 Years of Devolution

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:28 pm on 11th July 2019.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 12:28 pm, 11th July 2019

That points to some of the evidence we took in the Committee. It is an important point, and I know that it will be looked at when these matters are being progressed.

We found, however, that the Scotland Office did do the following. It is its right and prerogative to do this, so of course it can, but it wanted to make sure that the role of the UK and the workings of its Government are asserted in Scotland. That seems to be the basis of the Dunlop review: how we can make Scotland better love what the UK does. This seems to involve a relatively large resource and budget, and it seems as though we will have to expect a lot of new UK branding with all the associated flagging paraphernalia that goes with it. It seems like some sort of bold attempt to make us love that just that little bit more by visibility.

We asked the Secretary of State about this yesterday, and I got the sense that the UK Government are trying to do a rebranding exercise. [Interruption.] Scottish Conservative Members do not like that and are saying that is not the case. We shall hear their opinions about what the Dunlop review will do, but we are very encouraged by the Secretary of State’s response to our report. I think they have agreed to look at almost every recommendation we made; we are excited that they have said they will look at most of the things around the JMC and that that will form part of the review. They are even prepared to look properly at a review of the Scotland Office and tell us what it will be doing, so we remain encouraged. [Interruption.] I did not want to sound bitter or unhappy with things, but that was what I was hearing yesterday, and David Duguid was at the same meeting. We have to be positive where we can be and thankful for the fact that most of that response seems to have been quite good so far, so we will just keep things going, and I say to colleagues on the Scottish Affairs Committee that we have a role in this, so we will make sure that that happens.