Plans for new Scottish powers commission announced

Lord Smith of Kelvin. Picture: Comp
Lord Smith of Kelvin. Picture: Comp
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THE crossbench peer appointed to convene cross-party talks on more powers for Holyrood today announced plans for his commission.

Lord Smith of Kelvin, who headed the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games committee, visited the Scottish Parliament to meet the parties and invite them to nominate two representatives - including at least one MSP - to take part in the talks.

He is also asking the parties to prepare written submissions on their views on strengthening the Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom.

Later in the week he plans to write to Scottish civic institutions and business groups, seeking their views, and next week he will announce how individual Scots can share their thoughts on the issue.

The aim is to produce recommendations for further devolution of powers by November 30.

Lord Smith said: “Following the referendum we have a willingness, shared by all five of Scotland’s main political parties, to strengthen the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

“My message today to the political parties is a simple one - Scotland expects you to now come together, work together and agree the detail of what those powers should be.

“Time is tight but this is not an exercise in thinking about what we could do; that has been done. It is about agreeing on what we will do.

“My job is to create a process through which agreement is reached, but I cannot force an agreement. It will not be easy; it will require positive intent, courage and compromise from all parties. But I have confidence that our political leaders will rise to the challenge and I look forward to working with them.”