Cook’s recipe

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George Cunningham always gets the blame for having initiated the 40 per cent rule in the 1979 referendum (James Duncan’s letter, 6 September).

However, according to Tam Dalyell’s autobiography, The 
Importance of Being Awkward, the plan was conceived by Robin Cook.

Like Dalyell himself, Cook suspected that if the Scots found that they could run a devolved parliament successfully, this would give them the confidence to go for full independence.

With the prospect of a glittering Westminster career ahead of him Cook didn’t want to openly rock the Labour Party’s devolution plan and so persuaded Cunningham to take on the amendment under his own name.

The rest is history.

I don’t agree with Tam’s views on Scotland, but he has a reputation for uncovering hidden truths.

Mary McCabe

Glasgow

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