Westminster will take revenge on Scots after ‘No’

Canon Kenyon Wright: Westminster may seek to undermine devolution after No vote. Picture: TSPL
Canon Kenyon Wright: Westminster may seek to undermine devolution after No vote. Picture: TSPL
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SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: Suggestions that Westminster might take “revenge” on Scotland in the event of a No vote in the referendum are very real, one of the leading architects of devolution has claimed.

Canon Kenyon Wright, who chaired the Scottish Constitutional Convention which laid the groundwork to set up the Scottish Parliament in 1999, has urged people to vote Yes.

The canon said independence was “the only way left open, to give Scotland power over her own affairs that is both complete and secure”, describing promises of further powers from the unionist parties as looking “suspiciously like a rather desperate bribe”.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have all put forward their own proposals for further devolution in the event of a No vote, which include further tax-raising powers.

Yes campaigners have questioned whether these will be delivered, and have claimed Scotland’s budget could be cut in future years.

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The retired Episcopalian clergyman, who has already been highly critical of the No campaign, said: “I believe the suggestions of revenge against the Scots emanating from Westminster are very real if there was a No vote on 18 September.

“There will undoubtedly be cuts to the Barnett Formula, affecting the NHS in Scotland, social security, and that benefits will suffer – we’ve already had [Chancellor] George Osborne and his ‘bedroom tax’ – and I envisage devolution being undermined despite promises of more powers.

“Like many, I argued for a second question offering a middle way – which I saw not as devolution but as ‘constitutionally secure autonomy within a reformed UK’. That door was slammed shut – but not by Scotland.”

Responding, a Better Together spokesperson said: “The three parties supporting a No vote have a strong track record of delivering on devolution not just for Scotland, but also for other parts of the UK. The Scottish and UK parties have all pledged further powers on tax and welfare to Scotland if we remain in the UK. There are already more powers coming to Scotland through the 2012 Scotland Act.