Labour leadership hopeful David Milliband backs more powers for Scottish Parliament

DAVID MILLIBAND today backed the proposals of the Calman Commission and called for greater powers for the Scottish Parliament.

• David Milliband

The former Foreign Secretary took his campaign north of the border where he met MSPs at Holyrood and held meetings with local party activists.

Mr Miliband watched Scotland's SNP First Minister Alex Salmond clash with opposition leaders, including Labour's Iain Gray, in the weekly First Minister's Questions session at lunchtime.

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He later said that he backed proposals of the Labour-backed Calman Commission last year which called for a range of additional powers for Holyrood.

"The Calman report was excellent," Mr Miliband said.

"I've always believed that the redistribution of power, as well as the redistribution of wealth and opportunity, is an important part of Labour's message.

"I see the growing strength of devolution as being a complement to a genuinely United Kingdom. It's not the alternative to it and I think that's a really important message we take forward."

Calman included proposals for greater tax-raising powers for Holyrood as well as control over areas like drink-driving, speed limits and air weapons.

The new Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration has ditched a previous Labour white paper on Calman and pledged to come forward with its own plans.

The South Shields MP is one of five candidates contesting the Labour leadership. The others are his brother Ed, the shadow energy secretary, as well as shadow education secretary Ed Balls, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and left-wing backbencher Diane Abbott.

Mr Miliband also pledged to look at Labour's success in Scotland at last month's general election, where the party held onto the 41 Scottish seats it took in 2005 despite heavy losses elsewhere.

He added: "I think we've got a lot to learn from the Scottish Labour Party.

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"The Scottish Labour Party had fantastic results on May 6 and the reason I'm here on the day after nominations close is that it's important that the UK Labour party learns from success.

"We've had an excellent meeting with party members from Edinburgh and East Lothian."

Mr Miliband held a meeting with MSPs at Holyrood, where he set out his plans for the future of the party, and will hold talks with local party members in Glasgow and Stirling later today and tomorrow.

"We've got to make sure that we practice that commitment to make sure that we have a living, breathing movement in every part of the country," he added.

"It's important that I'm here today to talk to as wide a range of people as possible – including those who didn't vote Labour as well as those who did."

It comes ahead of a hustings event with all five leadership candidates in Glasgow this Sunday.