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SNP trying to undermine devolution settlement, claims Scottish Secretary

01 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack. Photo James Manning/PA Wire

The Scottish Secretary is to accuse the Scottish Government of repeatedly seeking to “undermine the devolution settlement” to provoke unnecessary disagreement, in a speech to his party’s conference.

Alister Jack will urge the Government to respect the devolution settlement and work constructively with the UK administration when he speaks in Manchester on Sunday.

He will tell the Conservative Party conference that devolution works best when the two governments work together.

Mr Jack will say: “My view of devolution is straightforward: it is about Scotland’s two governments, at Westminster and Holyrood, respecting each other’s roles and working together where we can.

“We know that is how devolution works best and we know it is what the vast majority of Scots want and expect.

“Unfortunately, my view is not shared by the Nationalists.

“Time and again they have sought to undermine the devolution settlement in order to provoke unnecessary disagreement between the two governments.

Clashes

His speech comes after recent clashes between the two governments led to court action.

This included the Scottish Government’s legal challenge against a decision by UK ministers to block controversial gender reform legislation.

The challenge, heard at Scotland’s highest court earlier this month, came after Mr Jack utilised never-before-used powers under the Scotland Act – the legislation that established the Scottish Parliament – to halt the gender laws which sought to simplify the process for trans people to self-identify and obtain a gender recognition certificate.

Lady Haldane, the judge who presided over the case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, has said a judgment could take some time.

And last November the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Parliament did not have the powers to hold a second independence referendum without the consent of Westminster.

Speaking about the SNP, Mr Jack will tell the conference: “Time and again they have sought to undermine the devolution settlement in order to provoke unnecessary disagreement between the two governments.

“When they took Nicola Sturgeon’s Referendum Bill to the Supreme Court, they wasted taxpayers’ money, confirming what everyone knew already: the constitution and the Union are matters reserved to Westminster.

“When they tried to introduce a new system of self-ID for trans people – their Gender Recognition Reform Bill – they ignored the harmful impact on safeguards for women and girls in existing reserved legislation.

“And when they tried to bring in a bottle deposit return scheme, they failed to consider the plan’s effect on cross-border trade.

“In each case I felt it was my duty as Secretary of State for Scotland to step in.

“I will not stand by and allow Nationalist ministers to undermine or abuse the devolution settlement for their own political ends. Not now, not ever.”

SNP depute leader Keith Brown MSP said: “Alister Jack has some brass neck.

“As Secretary of State for Scotland, he should be going out of his way to enable the smooth running of devolution, but instead he seems to be doing everything he can to sabotage it.”


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago

Scottish government undermining devolution says the Secretary of State for undermining devolution.

Annibendod
Annibendod
7 months ago

Gaslighting of the highest order. “Muscular Unionism” and debased Tory ministers are probably the biggest threat to the “Union” right now. It is important to keep in mind what exactly is the UK and why the Tories are so fond of it. It is the last vestige of a capitalist and imperial venture that made a fortune for the ruling class of the UK. Its very constitution and institutions are built to maintain that advantage. Once it is recognised for what it is, the causes of its failures – rampant poverty and inequality – become plain to see. The whole… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
7 months ago

The Tories can help smooth devolution by actually working with rather than dictating to but that is not in their DNA. They thrive on division. The very role of the Conservative party is to conserve but these days the party isn’t the party of old, it’s lurched too far to the right. Ironically, it will eventually become the catalyst for the breakup of what it once strived to preserve.

Annibendod
Annibendod
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

They think they’re born to rule – “natural party of government” they call themselves. They know what the UK is – it’s their ticket to a free lunch. I don’t know why it’s tolerated – I understand even less why genuine left wing folk support it.

Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago

Devolution does not sit in any Conservative plan for the UK. They want to wreck it. They need it to fail. Far right think tanks drive the UK now, not us.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

Indeed and not being able to vote for them = no democracy.

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
7 months ago

Doesn’t the Scottish Secretary have better things to do than carping about the SNP?

Like asset-stripping the country for selling on the cheap to his mates?

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago

Arguably it is the duty of the SNP, who are the party of government in Scotland, to undermine devolution and shift the country towards independence. Tories will see that as fundamentally wrong and breaching all sorts of “rules” but it is necessary to remind the party of persistent rule breakers and deviants that their track record of broken promises and deal breaking goes back to the 2014 referendum and beyond.

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