By a Newsnet reporter
Plans drawn up by the Scottish Conservatives that will see Holyrood responsible for raising all income tax have been attacked by a senior party figure.
Michael Forsyth has called the proposals, which will be officially unveiled by Ruth Davidson on Monday, ‘a complete distraction’ and said all discussions on more powers should wait until after the referendum and should include the rest of the UK.
The Tory peer expressed concern that there was a danger in handing over so many powers that it will eventually lead to independence.
“It’s very hard to see how much more scope there is for giving more powers that don’t actually deliver what Alex Salmond wants, which is independence,” he said.
Speaking to the Sunday Times newspaper, Forsyth said Unionists should focus solely on making the case against independence until the referendum on September 18.
He told the newspaper: “It is a complete distraction from the main question which is, does Scotland think its best future lies as part of the United Kingdom? I just regard it as a complete distraction from what we should be doing, which is getting across why it is in Scotland’s interests to remain part of the United Kingdom.”
The Tory peer added: “If after September 18 Scotland decides to remain part of the United Kingdom, then you can have a discussion about some of the problems that arise because of the asymmetric nature of devolution, but that is a debate for the whole of the United Kingdom not just for Scotland.”
Commenting on the in-fighting, Annabelle Ewing SNP MSP said:
“Lord Forsyth’s comments go to the heart of the Scottish Tories’ lack of credibility. They promise something to the people of Scotland – but then the grandees in London put a stop to it – which is why only a Yes vote will deliver the powers that Scotland needs.
“The Tories simply cannot be trusted to deliver anything, and this demolishes the credibility of the Strathclyde Commission.
Ms Ewing insisted the only way to guarantee the extra powers Scotland needs was to vote Yes in September.
Highlighting similar broken promises of better if Scots vote No, she added: “There isn’t a ‘more devolved powers’ option on the ballot paper – the Tories point-blank refused to include one – which is why Scotland needs to vote Yes to move forward.
“In 1979, the Tories said vote No for better devolution – and all we got was Margaret Thatcher and 18 years of Tory governments that Scotland rejected.”