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Scottish Government vows to ‘resist’ any attempt by Sunak or Truss to meddle in devolution settlement

16 Aug 2022 4 minute read
Conservative party leadership contender Liz Truss at yesterday’s Channel 4 debate. Picture by Victoria Jones / PA Wire. Nicola Sturgeon picture by Arctic Circle (CC BY 2.0).

The Scottish Government has vowed to “resist” any attempt by Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak to change the devolution settlement after one of the two becomes Prime Minister.

Last night the two Tory leadership contenders both said that Westminster would seek a greater role in the affairs of the Scottish Government in future.

It comes after Liz Truss accused devolved leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland of playing “political games” rather than delivering for voters.

But discussing the candidates’ commitments, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Parliament, alongside the people of Scotland, rightly holds Scottish ministers accountable, which includes scrutinising the Scottish Government’s yearly programme for government and Scottish budget.

“Scottish ministers have made clear that they will continue to resist any attempts to change the devolution settlement which the people of Scotland voted for in 1999.”

Liz Truss, the favourite in the race, committed to get “Scotland’s economy moving”, and vowed to give Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) special legal protection, allowing them to be more outspoken as they scrutinise decisions made by the devolved government.

Rishi Sunak meanwhile promised that Scottish civil servants would face greater scrutiny from Westminster, while UK ministers will be required to be more visible north of the border.

Their pledges came ahead of the candidates heading to Perth to face Tory members at an official hustings on Tuesday.

Ms Truss said: “Having grown up in Paisley, I consider myself to be a child of the Union. When I say I’ll deliver for our country, I mean all of it.

“I will never let anyone talk down Scotland’s potential. As a nation we are stronger together and the UK needs Scotland as much as Scotland needs the UK.

“For too long, people in Scotland have been let down by the SNP focusing on constitutional division instead of their priorities. That won’t happen under my watch.”

She added: “I’ll make sure that my government does everything to ensure elected representatives hold the devolved administration to account for its failure to deliver the quality public services, particularly health and education, that Scottish people deserve.

“As prime minister and minister for the Union, I will deliver on my ambitious plan to capitalise on the opportunity we have to turbocharge the growth and business investment required to get Scotland’s economy moving.”

She would change the Scotland Act to give parliamentary privilege to MSPs, in order to create more “robust questioning” of ministers and increase the powers of the Scottish Parliament to hold the Scottish Government to account.

‘Shoulder to shoulder’

Rishi Sunak meanwhile promised to make it a requirement for Scotland’s most senior civil servant, the permanent secretary to the Scottish Government, to attend Westminster’s Public Affairs and Constitutional Affairs (PACAC) Select Committee each year, just like the UK Government’s cabinet secretary.

The former chancellor has also promised to enforce “consistent reporting of public service performance data across the country” so that UK Government could hold Scottish Government accountable for essential public service delivery.

Mr Sunak said: “The future of the United Kingdom is bright but our Union must work together, each nation shoulder to shoulder, to get there. We must defeat the collective challenges threatening the health of our public services. Under my plans the UK Government will play its part, but the same must be reciprocated by Holyrood.

“For too long the SNP has been able to obscure its failures by picking and choosing the data it publishes – I would change that, ensuring the Scottish Government’s record could be held to account, while ensuring our public services are better joined up.

“Scottish senior civil servants will also face greater scrutiny, with the permanent secretary to the Scottish Government required to appear annually at a UK Parliament Select Committee hearing.”

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One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 year ago

There’s only One referendum result these hateful Tory criminals demand everyone respects.
OUR democratic referendums mean nothing to them!
We will never be treated fairly by the thieving Westminster orcs.
We must rid ourselves of these parasites.

Last edited 1 year ago by One of the two witnesses
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago

‘Rule Britannia, Britannia waives the rules’ as the song nearly says and ‘Land of hope and glory, mother of the free’. There is no hope if not free and only the dubious glory of the master will be served. At least Sunak helps a little by referring to ‘each nation’. You’re getting it Rishi. This is not one nation and each nation must be free to run its’ own show.

Aled Rees
Aled Rees
1 year ago

hold your ground Nicola,HOLD.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 year ago

I totally agree with SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s stance regarding resisting any Tory change to our devolution settlement. Pity Mark Drakeford wasn’t as vocal. Wales & Scotland’s right to devolution is set in stone and cannot be chipped away by this English Tory idiocracy because they cannot foist their insular ideology and damaging policies anymore. Both Liz Truss & Rishy Sunak state they want to be more active in Scotland & Wales. And they could be if Scottish & Welsh voters chose to elect Conservative Scottish & Welsh governments in parliamentry elections. But they don’t because we are not… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 year ago

Let the games begin! The Tories will continue to attack devolution and any thought of independence. However, inevitably they will shoot themselves in the foot as a British Isles consisting of independent countries will happen sooner as a result.

Andy Williams
1 year ago

What’s next, they want the 13 colonies back.

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