MPs aim to revive Grand Committee

SCOTTISH unionist MPs are planning to attempt to regain the initiative over constitutional issues from the SNP by reviving the Scottish Grand Committee.

Liberal Democrat Scottish Secretary Michael Moore is considering an informal request from Labour MPs to hold the Grand Committee - made up of all the Scottish MPs - for the first time since 2003.

Until devolution, the Grand Committee, which used to meet regularly in Westminster, was the main forum for discussing Scottish affairs. Scottish Labour MPs in particular believe it would allow them to use their overwhelming numbers to take the initiative on constitutional issues and bring in some of the so called big beasts, such as Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander.

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Kilmarnock Labour MP Cathy Jamieson, one of those pushing for it to be reconvened, said: "It would be a wonderful opportunity to bring the work of MPs closer to Scottish voters and help show that what happens in Westminster is important to them too."

But a spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond said: "If the Scottish Grand Committee is revived, SNP MPs will always take part, but the reality is that Scotland's own democratic forum is the Holyrood parliament."