Scottish MPs continue to be outvoted on issues affecting everyday life, the Deputy First Minister has said, as she highlighted the “many flaws” of the Westminster system of government.
Nicola Sturgeon pointed to 10 policy areas where a majority of MPs representing constituencies in Scotland have opposed the decisions taken in the House of Commons, ranging from the recent implementation of the bedroom tax to the invasion of Iraq.
Ms Sturgeon was speaking before a speech at University of Edinburgh this evening on the democratic case for independence.
“We know that Scottish MPs at Westminster have voted against many key aspects of UK policy. Under the previous Labour UK government, a majority of Scottish MPs voted against Trident renewal and the invasion of Iraq.
“This year the welfare benefits cap and the bedroom tax were both opposed by 91% of Scottish MPs.
“This week Scotland’s MPs backed challenging green energy targets, whilst Westminster as a whole voted against.
“There are many flaws with the current Westminster system of government. The first-past-the-post electoral system is deeply unrepresentative. The power of the House of Lords contradicts basic principles of democracy. And Westminster’s doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty is incompatible with the fundamental principle that, in Scotland, sovereignty rests with the people.
“Those problems could, in theory, be reformed although there is little sign of that happening. However, the biggest problem with Scotland’s current constitutional position, that majority Scottish opinion on issues that affect our everyday life can always be outvoted, cannot be dealt with through change at Westminster.
“Scotland now faces a choice of two futures. We can continue to make up less than a tenth of the MPs in Parliament whose decisions on welfare, defence and the economy routinely disregard our wishes. Or we can become a truly equal partner through independence.”