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Smith Commission

Volume 590: debated on Wednesday 14 January 2015

The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have made it clear that the Government are committed to delivering draft clauses by 25 January.

Following the Prime Minister’s meeting with the new First Minister, does the Secretary of State expect full support from the Scottish Government in ensuring a speedy delivery of the proposals in the draft Bill?

I have learned over the years not to expect too much when working with the Scottish Government, but I am hopeful that that will be the case. One way or the other, however, we shall deliver on the undertakings that were given.

12. The Smith commission agreement contained a strong desire to see devolution extend to local government. Will the Secretary of State impress upon the SNP Government the need to embrace that desire, release their iron grip on power and devolve to local government? (906929)

Indeed. This is something we hear from communities across the country in Scotland. Power in Scotland has been sucked up, particularly from local councils, and exercised at the centre by the Scottish Government. That was not how devolution was ever intended to work, and they need to change their approach.

The Smith commission is not the only example of parties working together. Yesterday, we saw a fantastic example, when Scottish Labour walked through the Lobby with the Conservatives to support Conservative austerity. Does the Secretary of State envisage any other such “better together” moments coming before the next general election?

The only remarkable thing about that is that it tells us absolutely nothing about what the SNP would do to tackle the deficit, if—heaven help us—they were ever in a position to influence it.