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SNP urged to ‘give new Holyrood powers a chance’

Baroness Goldie
Baroness Goldie

The Scottish Government has been urged to stop campaigning for independence and give new devolved powers for Holyrood the chance to work effectively.

Former Scottish Conservative Party leader Annabel Goldie said SNP ministers must allow time for new arrangements, set out by the Smith Commission, to bed in.

The recommendations include giving Holyrood the power to set income tax rates and bands on earned income and control over air passenger duty and Crown Estate income.

Baroness Goldie, an MSP and working peer, spoke out after the House of Lords committee constitution committee said the fast-tracked package was “not the way to implement significant constitutional change”.

It questioned the failure to consider the impact of the changes on the rest of the UK, and said both the UK and Scottish parliaments were “excluded from the decision-making process”.

Baroness Goldie raised her concerns with Finance Secretary John Swinney at Holyrood yesterday.

“The House of Lords committee noted that Scotland and the UK have been in a period of constitutional upheaval for 15 years, which is unprecedented in mature western democracies,” she said.

“Can the cabinet secretary make a commitment that, once the new powers are in effect, the Scottish Government will end constitutional wrangling and give the new powers a chance to work effectively for the people of Scotland?”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated the SNP’s desire to abolish the “unelected” House of Lords at the weekend.

Mr Swinney said the Scottish Government always fully co-operated with the UK Government when required.

“However, Ms Goldie must appreciate that SNP members have views that are different to hers about the constitutional arrangements that are appropriate for Scotland,” he added.

“Those are appropriately held, deeply held and sincerely held views about the arrangements of our country – they are as deeply and sincerely held as I know Ms Goldie’s are on her position.

“We simply have to leave it to the people of our country to decide what our future should be.”

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