Westminster ‘split over Scottish powers’
ALEX Salmond last night claimed that the Westminster coalition was split over the referendum after indications that the UK government would be prepared to offer Scotland more powers in exchange for a No vote to independence.
As he prepares for a week in which he will meet the Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, the First Minister called on the coalition to clarify its position.
Salmond was reacting to comments by Moore, who yesterday appeared to promise that more powers would be devolved to Holyrood after the referendum.
Cameron has insisted that the referendum scheduled for the autumn of 2014 should be limited to a straight-forward Yes/No question on independence without a second DevoMax option.
Although both Cameron and Moore are against DevoMax appearing on the ballot paper, the Scottish Secretary’s suggestion that more powers could eventually be transferred to Holyrood goes against Conservative ministers who have reservations about giving Scotland more control over taxation.
Salmond’s spokesman said: “It is clear there is growing consensus that the proposed timetable for Scotland’s referendum is entirely reasonable.
“However, only this weekend it is obvious there are divergent views within the Westminster coalition on their position in regard to more powers – with the Prime Minister refusing to offer any further powers and the Secretary of State for Scotland saying Scotland could get greater financial powers.
“If that is a genuine offer it should be articulated clearly to the people of Scotland at this stage.
“It is wise for politicians to listen to the views of the people – already, there have been over 1,500 responses to our consultation – and that is what the Scottish Government will do.”
In his referendum consultation, Salmond said that a DevoMax question could be included if there was a demand for it from people in Scotland.
At the moment, various voluntary organisations, trades unions and churches are examining the constitutional question with a view to reporting their findings to the consultation.
Salmond will meet with Moore tomorrow and with Cameron on Thursday.
Yesterday Moore said: “The central point is to let Scotland decide whether it’s part of the United Kingdom or not.
“I’m confident it will say ‘We are’. Then we can work through the detail of what the next stages of devolution will be.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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