Willie Rennie calls for cross-party collaboration

Willie Rennie believes cross-party collaboration is the way to pave Scotland's future post-referendum. Picture: PA
Willie Rennie believes cross-party collaboration is the way to pave Scotland's future post-referendum. Picture: PA
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SCOTTISH Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will address activists today on the need for cross-party collaboration in paving Scotland’s post-referendum future.

Speaking in Perth, Mr Rennie will set out the challenges for unionist and nationalist parties as they seek an agreement on more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

He will say: “We know that, as a result of the referendum, Britain and Scotland will never be the same again. But the change we must secure needs to stand the test of time.

“For nationalists, they will need to convince voters that they will not use the Smith process to secure independence by the back-door only days after it was rejected by the voters.

“An attempt from nationalists to redefine home rule and federalism in an ultra-extreme form is perhaps understandable but it is not something that will create a sustainable settlement that will stand the test of time.

“For unionists, especially Labour, the test will be whether they can adopt a more substantial package of powers that will give the parliament the financial responsibility and flexibility it needs to tackle inequality, create jobs and invest for the long term. Without the power to raise the majority of the money we spend, undertake prudent borrowing and control wealth taxes the change will not be substantial enough to be sustainable.

“Nationalists and unionists will need to come together and create a big package of powers that entrenches Scotland in the United Kingdom. That is the will of the people expressed through the referendum.”

Lord Smith of Kelvin has been tasked with building a consensus on more powers for Scotland following the No vote in the referendum.

He has appealed to Scotland’s main political parties to come to the table with proposals which meet the country’s expectation for significant change while respecting the vote result.

The Liberal Democrats have appointed former Scottish secretary Michael Moore and former Scottish leader Tavish Scott to represent the party at the commission.

The SNP has selected Scottish Government Finance Secretary John Swinney and Linda Fabiani MSP and the Conservative Party has appointed academic Adam Tomkins and former Scottish leader Baroness Annabel Goldie.

The Scottish Greens will discuss their nominations at their party council today and Labour is expected to reveal its representatives in the coming days.

The parties must submit their proposals to Lord Smith by October 10.


Michael Moore, Tavish Scott to represent Lib Dems in devo talks