SNP stage talks with UK Commission over powers

Lord Smith, the Commission chief held meetings with representatives of SNP, the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. Picture: Contributed

Lord Smith, the Commission chief held meetings with representatives of SNP, the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. Picture: Contributed

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THE SNP Government today staged talks with the Commission set up to deliver a deal on new powers for Scotland after the referendum.

It’s understood that finance Secretary John Swinney met with Lord Smith, head of the commission on further devolution, about the prospect of more Holyrood powers.

The Commission chief also held meetings with representatives of the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

Lord Smith said: “Following the referendum we have a willingness, shared by all five of Scotland’s main political parties, to strengthen the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

“My message today to the political parties is a simple one - Scotland expects you to now come together, work together and agree the detail of what those powers should be.

“Time is tight but this is not an exercise in thinking about what we could do; that has been done. It is about agreeing on what we will do.

“My job is to create a process through which agreement is reached, but I cannot force ‎an agreement. It will not be easy; it will require positive intent, courage and compromise from all parties. But I have confidence that our political leaders will rise to the challenge and I look forward to working with them.”

The SNP had faced calls to get involved in the process of more powers for the Holyrood in the event of a No vote.

Lord Smith is to invite each party to nominate two representatives, at least one of which should be a member of the Scottish Parliament, to take part in the cross-party talks.

Each party is also being asked to prepare a written submission on their views on strengthening the Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom. The names of the party representatives will be published by the end of the week.

Scottish civic institutions and business groups will also be asked for their views on strengthening Holyrood powers.

And next week, the Commission will set out the process for individual Scots to share their views on the issue.

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