BBC broadcasts Brown speech as anger grows over broken devo pledge


  By a Newsnet reporter
A speech by Gordon Brown in which the former Labour leader has insisted his timetable for more powers will be maintained has been broadcast live by the BBC.
The broadcaster has stepped in as anger begins to grow over the failure of the parties involved in the Better Together campaign to honour a vow given to the Scottish people in the days leading up to the independence referendum.

In his speech, broadcast in full by the BBC, Mr Brown told those watching “The timetable we set out, will be delivered”

Insisting that promises made “will be upheld” he claimed that the leaders of the three Unionist parties had signed a resolution to deliver to the promised timetable.

He said agreement had been reached: “That a command paper will be published by the end of October.  That the heads of agreement between the parties, on further devolution, will come in November and that the draft legislation – the laws that will form the Scotland Bill, and eventually the Scotland Act – will be ready by the end of January.”

Mr Brown’s speech was rushed out after it emerged the so-called timetable pledged by Labour and the Conservatives in the last days of the referendum campaign, appeared to have been ditched by both David Cameron and Ed Miliband.

On September 8th, the Better Together campaign pledged that draft laws for inclusion in a Bill would be drawn up by January which would be tabled in the Commons in the first legislative week of the new parliament in June.

Speaking at the time, Labour leader Ed Miliband welcomed the timetable, saying: “I make this commitment as Leader of the Labour Party: if we win the general election, we will move with utmost speed in our first Queen’s Speech to enact this legislation.”

However yesterday Mr Miliband appeared to backtrack on the pledge by announcing any new powers for Scotland would be defined only after a constituional convention to be held in the autumn of 2015.

Yesterday, First Minister Alex Salmond revealed that in a phone call to Prime Minister David Cameron after the referendum result had been announced, the Conservative leader had said he would not commit to a second reading vote by 27th March on a Scotland Bill, something that Gordon Brown had claimed had been agreed.

It has also emerged that a promise of a motion on more powers for Scotland issued during the final days of campaigning by the anti-independence campaign group Better Together had already been broken.

An official leaflet issued by Better Together said: “The day after a No Vote, the timetable for further powers will be published as a motion before the UK parliament. All UK parties will support the motion.”

Despite the promise, no such motion was published.

This afternoon, the Scottish National Party slammed the No campaign accusing it of failing to keep its first promise on more powers for Scotland the day after the referendum for Scottish independence.

Commenting, Bruce Crawford MSP said:

“Scots who chose to vote No on Thursday were told they were voting for more devolution, so where is the missing motion?

“It doesn’t bode well for us that the No campaign – Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories – have failed to keep their first promise.

“The first part of the three Westminster Leader’s ‘vow’ is already broken. Neither the 55% who voted for it, or the 45% who voted Yes, will let this go.”

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