20 Years of Devolution

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:50 pm on 11th July 2019.

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Photo of Ross Thomson Ross Thomson Conservative, Aberdeen South 1:50 pm, 11th July 2019

I thank the hon. Lady. There is a lot of merit in what she has suggested; it would be a constructive way to resolve disputes.

As has been said, devolution is not the end of the road; it is a process, not just an event. I wish to say as part of my contribution today that we often, even in this place, view devolved issues in a very binary way—either a matter is entirely reserved, so it is just to do with Whitehall, or we see it as devolved, so it is only to do with Edinburgh. But some policy areas fall into reserved competence that do have an impact on devolved matters, so perhaps we should start to look at things slightly differently. Perhaps we should take a more shared, joined-up approach. An example would be to have representatives from the devolved Administrations on UK-wide regulatory bodies, such as the Trade Remedies Authority. That would be helpful and constructive.

I echo the points raised by my colleague, my hon. Friend Stephen Kerr, that we need to see some more Union in Scotland, too. I do not think there is anyone from the Treasury in the Chamber, but I would like to see the Treasury supporting more projects in Scotland directly. Just because an issue is devolved does not mean that we cannot spend money on it—not at all—and if there is a great project that merits it, which will provide benefits, then absolutely the Treasury should support it.

I believe that devolution can strengthen the bonds between our communities right across the United Kingdom. I do look forward with optimism to the future of devolution and to the enduring strength of our Union. With a passionate belief in devolution and in our Union at the heart of this Government, I am sure that the best days of devolution are ahead of us and, if I may say so in closing, more so when Scotland has its first Scottish Conservative Government in 2021.