SENIOR TORY SAYS PARTY COULD BLOCK MORE POWERS
HESELTINE ECHOES DEMANDS FOR END TO SCOTS VOTES ON KEY ISSUES
Westminster’s commitment to delivering additional powers for Scotland has been called into question again today – after a senior Tory said that his party’s MPs would refuse to implement any new powers for Scotland
Former Tory Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine has suggested that his party’s MPs could block more powers unless Scottish MPs are banned from voting on key issues in the House of Commons – which media reports suggest senior Tory ministers believe should include issues such as income tax and benefits. This follows on from yesterday’s reports that Tory MPs will seek to block Scottish MPs from voting on the Budget.
Lord Heseltine is reported to have said: “Let’s be frank about it: English MPs are not going to implement that unless they get a degree of equality for England.”
Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP said:
“It emerged yesterday that David Cameron was already planning to go against the recommendation of the Smith Commission that Scottish MPs should continue to vote on income tax – now it seems that the Tories are threatening to wreck the entire process of more powers unless they get their way on stopping Scottish MPs voting on key issues such as the budget.
“The idea that the process of transferring the powers promised to Scotland could become bogged down in a squabble between the Westminster parties on English votes for English laws is absolutely ludicrous – and that these threats appear to be being led by an unelected peer is a perfect example of how broken the Westminster system is.
“This latest Tory threat will be a real personal embarrassment for Gordon Brown and for Labour generally – who told us during the referendum campaign that more powers for Scotland were guaranteed by their Tory allies. Now it’s clear that they’ve fallen for a Tory trap – and have been hoodwinked into doing David Cameron’s bidding.
“The Westminster parties won’t be allowed to wriggle off the hook. They simply must deliver the extensive new powers Scotland was promised – or they will pay a heavy price at the ballot box.
“Electing a strong team of SNP MPs in May will send a clear message to David Cameron, Lord Heseltine and the rest of the Westminster establishment – that the people of Scotland won’t accept delay or diversion when it comes to the powers we were promised.”