PM push to link Scotland’s powers with English votes ‘will not wash’, says SNP Westminster leader


  By a Newsnet reporter

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson has called on the UK Government to honour its vow and stop linking extra powers for Scotland with the concept of ‘English votes for English laws’.

Mr Robertson, the MP for Moray, said the two issues are unrelated and that David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband’s pre-referendum vow to establish significant further Scottish devolution was a standalone pledge.

He said: “The vow the Westminster party leaders made to the people of Scotland in the run up to the referendum was to deliver substantial new powers for the Scottish Parliament – no ifs, no buts – and it had nothing to do with English votes for English laws.

“David Cameron’s barefaced attempts to backtrack by linking the two will not wash.”

The SNP has recently announced a membership exceeding 75,000 – around triple what they had the day of the independence referendum two weeks ago.

Mr Robertson said the extraordinarily high level of political engagement in Scotland meant the Prime Minister and the other Westminster leaders “now have a duty to ensure that the substantial powers promised to Scotland are delivered”.

He added: “The people of Scotland will accept nothing less.”

The Moray MP’s comments come as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown also criticised Mr Cameron for what he called “setting a trap for Scottish voters”.

Mr Brown, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, has claimed Tory proposals to fully devolve income tax powers to Holyrood are aimed at getting the Scottish electorate to accept cuts in voting powers for Scottish MPs in Westminster.

The Conservatives have recently confirmed a further £25bn worth of cuts will take place if they return to power after next year’s general election.

Mr Robertson criticised the announcement, saying it would serve merely to increase the issue of in-work poverty and proved that the Conservatives “can’t be trusted with welfare and taxation”.

According to Scottish Government figures, around 60% of children living in poverty are from households where at least one adult is in employment.

Mr Robertson added: “In the same week that George Osborne announces benefit cuts that will cost families £500 per year and intensify the problem of in-work poverty, Mr Cameron has laughably claimed that the Tories are the party of ‘compassion and social justice’.

“To those who are currently relying on foodbanks to help them feed their families, the irony of his words will not be lost.

“It is time for the Scottish Parliament to have the powers we need to make Scotland a fairer, more equal country and address the causes of inequality. Mr Cameron made a promise to the Scottish people and he must now honour it.”