Cameron and Miliband ditch devo timetable vow


  By a Newsnet reporter
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has ditched a pre-referendum vow to hold a vote in the House of Commons on further devolution for Scotland, dismissing such a move as “meaningless”.
The revelation was made by First Minister Alex Salmond who yesterday announced he is to resign as First Minister and leader of the SNP.

In a shock statement at Bute House, Mr Salmond told journalists of his intention to step down following the failure to achieve a Yes vote in Thursday’s independence referendum.

He said:

“I am immensely proud of the campaign which Yes Scotland fought and of the 1.6 million voters who rallied to that cause by backing an independent Scotland.

“I am also proud of the 85 per cent turnout in the referendum and the remarkable response of all of the people of Scotland who participated in this great constitutional debate and the manner in which they conducted themselves.”

Mr Salmond added: “The real guardians of progress are not the politicians at Westminster, or even at Holyrood, but the energised activism of tens of thousands of people who I predict will refuse meekly to go back into the political shadows.

“For me right now , therefore there is a decision as to who is best placed to lead this process forward politically.

“I believe that in this new exciting situation, redolent with possibility, Party, Parliament and country would benefit from new leadership.

“Therefore I have told the National Secretary of the SNP that I will not accept nomination to be a candidate for leader at the Annual Conference in Perth on 13th-15th November.”

However Mr Salmond revealed that in his telephone call to Mr Cameron after the referendum result was announced, he asked the Prime Minister if the UK Government would honour the pledge made to the Scottish people by Gordon Brown prior to the vote.  Something Mr Salmond said, was not confirmed by the PM.

He said: “I spoke to the Prime Minister today and, although he reiterated his intention to proceed as he has outlined, he would not commit to a second reading vote by 27th March on a Scotland Bill. That was a clear promise laid out by Gordon Brown during the campaign.

“The Prime Minister says such a vote would be meaningless. I suspect he cannot guarantee the support of his party.”

Mr Salmond also called into question, the pre-referendum pledge made by the three leaders of the London based parties after it emerged that Labour leader Ed Miliband had refused to sign up to a joint declaration plan with David Cameron.

He said; “Because in the manner in which the offer was presented, a number of people thought that it was so explicit, so clear and so definite, that there could be no going back from it.”

Mr Salmond added that the “common front” paraded before the people of Scotland by Miliband and Cameron before the referendum “now in the aftermath seems somewhat more difficult”.

Yesterday Ed Miliband announced his intention to hold a constitutional convention in the autumn of 2015, after the next UK general election, in order to discuss the UK-wide implications of devolution and to bring these recommendations together.

The talks will also determine the shape and extent of English devolution.

The refusal to commit to new powers for Scotland prior to the next UK general election is in breach of the ‘vow’ made to the Scottish people days before the independence referendum.

The vow, which appeared in the Daily Record, said all the parties with a chance of forming the next UK government had guaranteed ‘extensive’ new powers will be put on the statute book next year.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was said to have ‘brokered a deal’ with all three London parttes.  He said: “We have agreed a timetable for that stronger Scottish Parliament – a timetable to bring in the new powers that will go ahead if there is a No vote. A White Paper by November, put into draft legislation by January.”

It now appears as though that timetable has been scrapped.