Unelected Lords say indy Scotland should have no call on existing UK institutions


  By a Newsnet reporter

A committee of unelected peers has said that independence should mean Scotland becoming a successor state, with no call on institutions such as the BBC and the Bank of England.

In a new report published today they recommended the remainder of the UK would keep all the existing international agreements with Scotland having to renegotiate.

The peers also urged Prime Minister David Cameron to ignore the Scottish Government’s timetable for post-Yes negotiations.

Baroness Jay of Paddington, chairman of the committee, said: “We urge the UK Government to put the rest of the UK’s interests first in the event of independence negotiations. The Prime Minister should feel under no obligation to conclude negotiations by March 2016. The Scottish Government’s proposed timetable has no legal or constitutional standing.

“We are clear that, in the event of independence, the remainder of the UK would be the ‘continuator’ state while Scotland would be a ‘successor’ state. That would mean that the UK continued to be party to existing international agreements, while Scotland would have to enter into those agreements afresh.”

The committee also said Unionist MPs representing Scottish constituencies should be prevented from taking part in negotiations between Holyrood and Westminster if there is a Yes vote in the referendum.

If implemented, the recommnedation would prevent politicians such as Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, as well as Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael, former Chancellor Alistair Darling and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown from taking part in port-Yes talks.

However the committee agreed with the Scottish Government that MPs should be allowed to remain up until the day of independence.

Commenting on today’s report from the House of Lords Constitution Committee, Angus MacNeil MP said:

“The House of Lords is an undemocratic anachronism stuffed to the gunnels with over 800 peers of the realm who answer to no electors and are often there because of privilege or patronage. To be lectured by them about timetables and for democratic processes is something that could only happen in Westminster. It will be elected representatives who will lead Scotland’s transition to independence – not some elite club whose members can still turn up for just half an hour’s work and get a £300 daily allowance.

“As well as being part of Westminster’s crony culture – the House of Lords is now the second biggest chamber in the world after the Chinese National People’s Congress, which governs a country of 1.3 billion. Under the Westminster system, we have the ludicrous situation that there are far more legislators who are appointed than elected – and people in Scotland elect only 4 per cent of the Westminster parliamentarians who hold powers over the economy, welfare, defence, our place in Europe, and many other crucial areas of policy.

“The SNP’s long-standing position is that we believe those making laws should be elected by the people, and therefore we do not nominate members to the House of Lords.

“If the rest of the UK want to keep funding the unelected House of Lords – that is a matter for them. A Yes vote means that people in Scotland can get rid of the expensive and unrepresentative Westminster tier –  with savings of around £50 million a year in not sending MPs and Peers to London- which means more cost effective and fairer government.”