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SNP accused of rejecting referendum peace offering

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie accused SNP of rejecting  olive branch.
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie accused SNP of rejecting olive branch.

The Nationalists have been accused of rejecting overtures to heal the social rifts caused by the independence referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her deputy John Swinney rejected the Smith Commission’s proposals for new powers for Holyrood as “disappointing” despite it making the Scottish Parliament one of the strongest regional assemblies in the world.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie told a party meeting in Cupar, Fife last night that the SNP were invited onto the commission as an “olive branch” designed to bring the country together but instead they “snapped it in two”.

“We got all five parties in the room together for the first time ever to shape Scotland’s constitutional future – this was unique,” he said.

“The victors were reaching out to the losers to bring the country together but the response from the SNP was to undermine that.”

Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown will tell a audience in Glasgow today it is time to move away from the constitutional debate towards improving the lives of ordinary people.

“It is time to move beyond two years of constant talk of constitutional change to a new focus in the next two years on the social and economic change that Scottish people have said they want,” the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP will say.

“I am pressing the reset button because it is time to move beyond the old issue of bigger powers for the Scottish Parliament, as we now have more powers than at any time, to the issue that really concerns Scotland – better lives for the Scottish people.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband was also in Glasgow yesterday when he claimed the “Vow” for more Scottish powers he made along with David Cameron and Nick Clegg had been “signed, sealed and delivered”.

He rejected suggestions that the Smith Commission’s proposals will lead to the break-up of the UK.

Instead, he said, the proposals were about “bringing power closer to people while maintaining the benefits of the UK”.

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon will tell the SNP’s second annual women’s conference in Ayr today that women and men must get equal pay.

She will say: “As first minister, tackling inequality is at the heart of all I do. Smashing the gender glass ceiling to smithereens is an important part of making progress.”

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