I can imagine what those champions of transparency, the Liberal Democrats, would have said if I had kept secret from Parliament the complications, the lack of compliance and the reason why we could not pursue the like-for-like exemption. The Parliament has to be fair; I raised the matter at stage 1, I raised it in committee and I raised it when being pursued by Conservatives as to why the exemptions were not in the bill.
I have been transparent with Parliament.
It is important to tell the truth to Parliament about the condition of legislation, the arrangements around the Smith commission, the no-detriment principle and what the bill would mean to the very important region that is the Highlands and Islands. That would be sacrificed if we did not address the issue in the correct way. I have kept Parliament up to speed and been transparent, and I have engaged with the UK Government to try to find a solution. However, it is for the UK Government to resolve the issue.
Of course, being so transparent creates a risk in how the EU could respond to the issue, but the request from the UK Government was that the Scottish people should take the risk of the UK Government’s lack of compliance over the years. The UK Government should bear that burden when resolving the issue, so that we can deliver the powers in a competent fashion that protects every part of Scotland.