Sheppard slams ‘monstrous deceit’ over more powers

Tommy Sheppard. Picture: Philip Stanley Dickson
Tommy Sheppard. Picture: Philip Stanley Dickson
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The “monstrous deceit” of broken promises on more powers for Holyrood will only accelerate Scotland’s exit from the United Kingdom, Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard has told the SNP conference.

He won a standing ovation from delegates in Aberdeen for his attack on the UK government’s Scotland Bill and what he called its abject failure to meet the expectations of voters following The Vow on extensive new powers made during the referendum and in the subsequent cross-party Smith commission.

Mr Sheppard said: “The Smith commission was a watered down version of The Vow and the proposals in the Scotland Bill are a watered-down version of the Smith commission. The whole 
process has been diluted so much it has lost the taste of home rule completely.

“It’s a monstrous deceit upon the Scottish people.”

He said the SNP had asked voters at the general election if they agreed the proposals on extra powers were “woefully inadequate” and it had won a huge mandate.

He told delegates: “David Cameron and David Mundell do not just have a conflict with the Scottish National Party, they have a conflict with the people of Scotland.

“If we get the situation that we’ve had over these long months where we win the arguments and they drag them out of the bars and clubs to come and vote from the shires and the home counties against the people of Scotland they will rue the day.

“Because every time they say no to a reasonable proposal then they are fuelling the support for a Yes decision the next time and every time they say no to something, they are increasing our ambition to have everything.”

In her opening address to the conference, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the party had “work to do” to convince voters of the case for independence.

And she said it would be wrong to propose another referendum without strong evidence that a significant number of those who voted No had changed their minds. “It would not be respecting the decision that people made,” she said.

But she had a warning for David Cameron over the EU referendum if Scotland voted to remain but the UK as a whole opted to leave.

She said: “Last year, you told the Scottish people that the only way to protect our EU membership was to vote No. If you try to take Scotland out of the EU against our democratic wishes, you will be breaching the terms of last year’s vote.

“And, in those circumstances, you may well find that the demand for a second independence referendum is unstoppable.”

She said Labour were “unreliable, unelectable and unable to stand up to the Tories” and that the Conservatives were shifting the centre ground to the right but claimed Scotland could offer “a beacon of hope to people across the UK”.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com