Miliband promises home rule for Scotland while Sturgeon puts her foot down

Rebuttals abound in the discussion on home rule

Ed Miliband will today pledge a Home Rule Bill for Scotland within 100 days of a Labour government being elected in May.

As he campaigns alongside Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy in Glasgow today, the Labour Party leader will also announce plans by Labour to force a vote in the House of Commons next month for powers over the work programme to be devolved immediately to Holyrood.

In his first visit to Scotland since Jim Murphy’s election, Miliband will say:

“We will put the Home Rule Bill before Parliament in the first 100 days of the next Labour government.

“This bill will give Scotland the powers that were promised over jobs, welfare and tax.

“But we want to go faster. Scotland needs the job creating powers that the Smith Agreement promised. And Scotland needs them now. Next month, Labour will force a vote on our bill to pass these powers now.

“If that’s not accepted, we will devolve control over the work programme immediately on taking power.”

But the SNP, whose support Labour will in all likelihood need to secure the keys to Downing Street, sought to rubbish the commitment as “laughable”.

Picking up on recent comments made by Lewis MacDonald, shadow minister for business, energy and tourism at Holyrood who earlier this month seemingly denied that Labour had ever spoken of home rule, the SNP’s deputy leader Stewart Hosie said:

“Trying to claim that this is home rule could be reported under the Trade Descriptions Act for being completely untrue.

“Recently, Lewis MacDonald MSP specifically denied that Labour had ever talked about ‘home rule’, which renders the claims of Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy laughable.

“The reality is that, with 70 per cent of taxation and 85 per cent of welfare spending staying under Westminster control, Labour and the other UK parties are offering Westminster rule not home rule – and it is embarrassing for Mr Miliband to try to pretend otherwise.”

Noting Ed Miliband’s poor standing in the eyes of Scottish voters, he continued:

“People in Scotland don’t believe Ed Miliband – who has achieved the extraordinary feat for a Labour leader of having even worse poll ratings in Scotland than the Tory prime minister.

“The way to achieve the real powers of home rule is to vote SNP in May, for a strong team of SNP MPs holding the balance of power at Westminster.”

Meanwhile, Scotland’s first minister has asserted her authority by insisting that she will personally lead any negotiations over the SNP’s support, or otherwise, for a potential minority government after the General Election.

In what will be seen as somewhat of a snub for Alex Salmond who had hoped that a return to Westminster would put him at the heart of the action, after being asked in London who would lead the negotiations Nicola Sturgeon has responded:

“Me, I’m party leader. I am the party leader, Stewart is the deputy and we will lead the position.

“If Alex is elected, and I would be fairly confident in predicting that, he will be a key part of the team and will of course have a key part to play.”

Meanwhile, with the Conservatives making hay over a Labour government potentially being propped up by Scottish votes, Alex Salmond has sought to portray himself as a self-styled anglophile.

Asked during an interview with the International Business Times if he had an “England problem”, Salmond replied:

“As probably the most avid practising anglophile in Scottish politics, I don’t see that at all.

“I can only go on the reception I got when I did Question Time in Liverpool recently. If the audience had been polled, actually they were polled if I remember rightly, immediately afterward… if I was standing for Liverpool Scotland constituency, as opposed to Gordon, then I would maybe not rate my chances as highly, but I would be in with a fair shout.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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11 Responses to “Miliband promises home rule for Scotland while Sturgeon puts her foot down”

  1. robertcp

    it is probably a mistake to use phrases like home rule, which suggests virtual independence on domestic policy. More powers will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament but Sturgeon is right that this will fall short of what could be described as home rule, although the SNP seems to be in denial about the result of the referendum.

  2. Peem Birrell

    Oh FFS. 55% of us in Scotland don’t want home rule nor do we want more powers for the halfwits in Holyrood. Will the Labour party never learn that you don’t ‘dish the Nats’ in Donald Dewar’s words by continually giving in to them?

  3. uglyfatbloke

    Peem – lots of people voted ‘No’ in the expectation of seriously enhanced devolution; an expectation which was assiduously fostered by all three party leaders, Darling, Brown and other prominent political figures. The Holyrood halfwits may be unimpressive, but they are miles better than what we see at Westminster.

  4. Guest

    Ah yes, halfwits are better than the British blah blah.

  5. AlanGiles

    Miliband and Murphy are desperate men. They will say anything to secure the keys to No 10 but whether they will ever deliver on even half of their promises/pledges/offers (“offers” seems to be the favourite word at the momment) is highly debateable. There are at least two Labour parties now and at the moment the Blairite Progress shower have the upper hand, so Miliband can make all the “offers” he wants, whether the PLP allow him to do it – or the country gives him the chance to try is an entirely different matter

  6. uglyfatbloke

    Read what was written, not what you’d like to react to. Virtually all of the members of both parliament are British…perhaps all of them for all I know. .The only thing that prevents the Holyrooders from looking totally useless is that the Westminster lot are even mean feat.

  7. Guest

    I don’t go for your excuse of blaming Westminister for the British.

  8. uglyfatbloke

    I don’t blame them ‘for the British’; I blame the for everything..with the possible exception of the pathetic efforts of the Scotland cricket team.

  9. uglyfatbloke

    On reflection, I blame them for that too.

  10. Paul

    Yet a recent poll showed that a majority of Scots, 55% in fact (a number that should be familiar to you) said the Smith Commission would have made no difference to the way they voted in the referendum.

    Keep telling yourself stories.

  11. Mukkinese

    As it always was with the left. Five months ago the Tories did not stand a chance of staying in power.

    Now they have a good chance, not because of anything they have done, but what the opposition has done- turned on itself again.

    This is the classic snatching defeat from the jaws of victory we are so well practiced at.

    I just hope that there are enough Scots with the sense to see what is happening and do not sleepwalk us into another five years of Conservative austerity and the final nail in the coffin of the NHS…

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