Malcolm Bruce condemns SNP’s ‘politburo Scotland’

Bruce echoed Alistair Carmichael's claims that Scotland under the SNP is 'the most centralised place in Western Europe'. Picture: John Devlin
Bruce echoed Alistair Carmichael's claims that Scotland under the SNP is 'the most centralised place in Western Europe'. Picture: John Devlin
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THE deputy leader of the Lib Dems has condemned “politburo Scotland” under the SNP, as his party overwhelmingly backed a motion to set up a constitutional convention with a people’s jury to create a federal UK.

In an impassioned speech, veteran MP Malcolm Bruce told the Lib Dem conference that he shares much of his Gordon constituency with First Minister Alex Salmond which voted two to one against independence.

He said: “Voters rejected independence in Alex Salmond’s own back yard.”

But he warned that the next stage of devolution needed to see a decentralising from Holyrood to local communities after the “centralising to the politburo in Edinburgh” agenda of police, fire and other services by the SNP.

Earlier Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael claimed that Scotland under the SNP is “the most centralised place in Western Europe”.

Meanwhile former MSP and Glasgow councillor Robert Brown accused the refusal of some senior figures in the SNP to accept the referendum result and rule out another one in the next decade as “undemocratic.”

The debate at the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow heard concerns from English delegates that ideas for devolution south of the Border were not properly thought out.

Berwick parliamentary candidate Julie Porksen said: “We must not rush into a solution that is not the safer solution.”

She added: For the sake of speed we are going to confuse matters.”

Gordon parliamentary candidate Christine Jardine appealed for the three UK parties to use the momentum of the referendum to bring forward new powers for Scotland quickly.

She said: “The vote on 18 September was not the end of the discussion, it was the beginning of the discussion.”

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said: “The Westminster parties promised extensive new powers would be delivered in the event of a No vote - and the people of Scotland are waiting for this promise to be kept.

“Malcolm Bruce should reflect on the fact that the Lib Dems were on the same side as Ukip in the independence referendum. And this week they sold out their last remaining principle, admitting they are willing to back the Tory in/out referendum on Europe.

“Mr Bruce and the other Westminster leaders have a duty to ensure that the substantial news powers they promised are delivered. Forty-five per cent voted Yes last month and the 55 per cent of those who voted No thought they were being offered Home Rule. It is time for Mr Clegg to get on with it and honour the vow. The Scottish Parliament must have the powers we need to make Scotland a fairer, more equal country.”

The Lib Dem motion, which was agreed overwhelmingly, backed rapid progress on bringing more powers to Scotland as well as devolving to local communities.

It also called for a constitutional convention with a people’s jury for the rest of the UK.

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