Moore tells Salmond: Stop picking fights – do your job

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has told First Minister Alex Salmond to stop picking fights with the UK government and “get on with the job” of running Scotland.

The Liberal Democrat also attacked the “insidious” impression that the SNP is standing up for Scotland in its regular spats with Westminster.

The Scottish Government will set out its programme of legislation when MSPs return from their summer break next week.

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Mr Moore said the Nationalists should focus on this and not matters such as economic policy, which are controlled by the UK government in London.

Ministers in Edinburgh already have control over “bread and butter” policy issues that matter to the Scottish people, he will say in the speech on the future of Scottish devolution tomorrow at the David Hume Institute in Edinburgh.

“The schools where we send our children, the hospitals where we treat our sick, the police forces that protect our communities, the transport systems that get us from A to B, the local authorities that provide the services on which we all rely – all of these fall within the remit of the Scottish Parliament.

“They should get on with the job. Yet, all too often, their minds appear to be focused on other things – particularly if they are happening south of the Border.

“Macroeconomic policy, corporation tax, constitutional change. These are of vital importance, and it is unrealistic to expect the Scottish Government to have no view. But these are issues reserved to Scotland’s government at Westminster.

“The First Minister’s concentration on them leaves the impression that Scottish ministers lack interest in the powers they do have while being obsessed with powers they don’t have.

“With a majority comes the opportunity to innovate and the responsibility to govern. Mr Salmond should seize those.”

UK ministers have been “too slow or considered it unnecessary” to point out that Scotland has two governments, he will add, which are each “distinct, elected and legitimate”.

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The Scottish Secretary added: “There is an insidious narrative in which the Scottish Government is portrayed as standing up for Scotland’s interests by standing against the UK government.”

The SNP government marked its 100th day in office last week and will unveil plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol and new laws to crack down on religious bigotry.

A spokesman said: “We’ve struck the balance between building on our impressive track record and delivering on the priority areas – including the economy, transport, health, education and justice – while also putting forward a detailed case for securing more powers.

“A survey in December showed over two-thirds were in favour of more powers for the Scottish Parliament.”