Calman consensus shattered by Alexander

The SNP today welcomed indications Labour is moving toward backing far greater powers for the Scottish Parliament, as Douglas Alexander called for an end to Labour’s negativity over changes to devolution.

However the SNP questioned whether Alexander had the support of any of the Labour leadership candidates and how he intends to deliver more powers for the parliament in the face of a Tory government without asking the people of Scotland.

Commenting on Douglas Alexander’s speech, SNP MP and Director of the referendum campaign Angus Robertson MP, said:                                                                                 

“Douglas Alexander now realises, in contrast to his 1999 policy of ‘engendering fear’ in the Scottish electorate, that his party needs to respond positively to the desire of the people of Scotland for more powers. It is a very welcome development, and it is good to see that at least some Labour politicians now recognise the total inadequacy of the Scotland Bill and the urgent need for far more powers for the Scottish Parliament to match the ambitions of the people.

“Douglas Alexander joins Henry McLeish, Malcolm Chisholm and Scotland’s voters in accepting that the people of Scotland want and need controls over the economic levers affecting Scotland to be held in Scotland. Mr Alexander has well and truly sunk the Calman proposals and left any notion of Unionist consensus on the constitution in tatters.

 “The problem for Labour is that none of their three leadership candidates appear to back this stance – Mr Alexander’s intervention means Labour risk having a leadership without a clear policy and a policy without a leader who will champion it.

“Labour are deeply split on the issue of including a 'more powers' option in the referendum. The only alternative is being in cahoots with the Tories in opposing progress for Scotland – a position which is already proving to be a disastrous stance in Scottish politics.

"Only independence can fully meet Scotland's aspirations, which is why support for independence continues to grow.”