Lord Smith: Devolution vow has been delivered in full

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Lord Smith of Kelvin, the peer who brokered the more powers vow for the Scottish Parliament, has claimed the Scotland Bill honours the cross-party deal thrashed out in the aftermath of the referendum.

Speaking on ITV Border last night, Lord Smith gave his backing to the package of new tax and welfare powers which is coming to Holyrood as a result of his commission.

The cross-party Smith Commission, which involved all Scotland’s major political parties including the SNP, has formed the basis of the Scotland Bill, which was passed by the House of Commons this week even though the SNP has argued that it does not go far enough.

Yesterday the SNP-dominated Holyrood devolution committee called on the Scottish Secretary David Mundell to reinforce the powers being transferred to Holyrood.

But Lord Smith argued the deal agreed by his cross-party commission had been accurately represented by the Scotland Bill.

“I think it’s honoured what the five parties agreed in this very room,” Lord Smith said. “So I think that’s been honoured. I’ve looked at it quite carefully. There were three things: one was taxation which I always thought was relatively straightforward in terms of delivery. One was welfare which is very complicated, but actually I honestly believe has been delivered in full.”

The third, said Lord Smith, was the financial mechanism to make the other two work. Lord Smith said people should not sign up to it, unless it worked. But he added he had every confidence that politicians could come to an agreement.