Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael says pledge to devolve further powers to Scottish Parliament is on track
One month on from Scotland’s decision to remain part of the UK, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has said the UK Government has hit the ground running on its pledge to devolve further powers to the Scottish Parliament.
He called on First Minister-in-waiting Nicola Sturgeon to adopt a similar approach and show real leadership in making things happen, and said it was vital that people in Scotland accept the result of the fair, legal and decisive referendum and move on in the best interests of all of Scotland.
On 18 September 2,001,926 people in Scotland voted for Scotland to stay in the UK, nearly 400,000 more than voted for the independence option. The turnout, at almost 85%, was the largest in UK election history.
Mr Carmichael said: “Nicola Sturgeon will take the reins at a time where most Scots are moving on with their lives after the long and passionate referendum campaign. We have hit the ground running and are already working hard to deliver the further devolution which we promised.
“During the referendum campaign we set out a timetable for the devolution of further powers and we’re not only meeting it, we’re beating it.
“I would call on Nicola Sturgeon to show genuine leadership and accept the result. There have already been cries of reneging on the more powers vow even though the Smith Commission hasn’t even proposed anything yet. The betrayal bandwagon is already getting dusted down. This is simply not good enough. The Scottish people have made their democratic decision and it must be respected.
“I appreciate the emotional intensity of the campaign but the UK Government respected the victory of the nationalists in 2011, recognised the will of the Scottish people and took measures to devolve the power to hold the referendum. Both sides signed the Edinburgh Agreement in good faith and it is that good faith which we need to see from the new First Minister.
“The referendum gave us a decisive result. This was the most democratic decision we have ever made in Scotland. More than 3.6 million people voted. One question was put to the electorate and the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland answered by saying they want to remain part of the United Kingdom.
“We are now working to build a stronger Scottish Parliament. Calling for a second referendum and reflecting on what could have been is entirely inappropriate. The Scottish Government wanted to divide the United Kingdom but if they carry on as they have for the past month then they risk dividing Scotland.”
Scotland’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish government intends to play a full and constructive part in the process to deliver substantial new powers for the Scottish Parliament.
“This will include working to ensure that the outcome meets the high expectations of the people of Scotland as expressed in the referendum, given the various promises of ‘devo max’, ‘near federalism’ and ‘home rule’ which were made.”
She said that the UK parties were falling out over more powers for Holyrood and introducing Englishvotes for English laws’ at Westminster.
“In the month since the referendum, we have produced our submission to the Smith Commission, continued our engagement with the people of Scotland on more powers and witnessed a phenomenal rise in SNP membership as more and more people realise that it is the SNP that delivers for Scotland. It’s time for the Westminster parties to show the same spirit of co-operation and compromise, to stop squabbling with each other and to join us in working for Scotland’s best interests instead of their own.”