PM pressed over more powers proposal

The Prime Minister must end uncertainty around his proposals for devolution of further powers to Scotland the SNP said after David Cameron failed to update parliament on claims made last week that an alternative to independence is "on the table".

Raising a Point of Order in the House of Commons, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP pointed to confusion within the Tory party over the issue with the PM’s belief of the need for more devolution, while Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has said she believes the Scotland Bill is a 'line in the sand'.

Mr Robertson said the Prime Minister must set out the terms of the offer before the end of the Scottish Government’s consultation on the referendum on 11 May.

Mr Robertson said:

“After claiming that more powers for Scotland are ‘on the table’ the Prime Minister now has a democratic duty to set out exactly what is on offer.

“Given the separate interventions by Lord Forsyth and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the Tories appear totally divided on Scotland’s constitutional future with David Cameron claiming more powers are a possibility, while Ruth Davidson says the Scotland Bill is a line in the sand.

“If the Prime Minister is serious, he must set out his offer before the conclusion of the Scottish Government’s referendum consultation on May 11.

“The Tories have been left behind by people across civic Scotland who are considering the powers that Scotland needs to have a successful economy and fair society - instead of savage cuts and a stagnant economy from the UK coalition.

“People in Scotland are entitled to know what the Prime Minister has in mind, and whether his proposals include any real economic powers and responsibilities, for example, over welfare issues.

“The Prime Minister should spell out what his alternative to independence is. If his proposals go beyond the current Scotland Bill, David Cameron has a responsibility to say what he has in mind.”

Note:

A transcript of Mr Robertson’s Point of Order is set out below:

Angus Robertson MP: Mr Speaker, as you are aware the Scotland Bill is still making its way through Parliament. Last week the Prime Minister made a visit to Scotland where he announced that he is in favour of more devolution, and that his proposal is on the table. Given that the UK Government repeatedly says that a lack of detail about constitutional change causes uncertainty, can you confirm whether Ministers have sought to make a statement about any changes to the Scotland Bill?