Monday, 28 November 2016 18:32

MSP seeks clarity from Mundell over new powers claims

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SNP MSP Ivan McKee has written to the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, asking for further details of the ‘significant new powers’ that he suggested would be devolved to Scotland in the wake of Brexit.

Mr Mundell made the comments on Sunday Politics Scotland, promising that no powers would be re-reserved by Westminster “whatever the circumstances”, whilst saying that agriculture and fisheries would “self-evidently” be passed to the Scottish Government due to existing devolution in these areas. When pressed for further details on these suggestions, David Mundell was unable to offer any concrete information.

Ivan McKee, who sits on Holyrood’s Constitution Committee, has written to Mr Mundell seeking further clarity over these comments given that they contradict previous remarks from Ruth Davidson and Rural Affairs Secretary, Andrea Leadsom.

Commenting, Ivan McKee said:

“Mr Mundell’s comments must be taken with a pinch of salt unless he can provide further details of what the UK government is proposing.

“The Tories are consistently making grand statements boasting of giving Scotland greater power, yet they contradict themselves at every turn, with Ruth Davidson and Andrea Leadsom having both offered different opinions to David Mundell over agriculture and fishing.

“This Tory government is seeking to drag Scotland out of the EU against its will, and only the Scottish Government is taking effective action to protect Scotland’s interests in Europe. No vague promise of further powers for Scotland will be enough to mask the damage that a Tory Brexit will cause Scotland – with forecasts of 80,000 lost jobs and an £11.2 billion hit to the economy.

“It would be extraordinary if David Mundell was making up pledges and promises to Scotland as he went along, with no plan of whether this would actually be delivered. He must provide clarity over these comments and tell the people of Scotland what he is proposing – following the UK government’s approach of keeping as much secrecy as possible over any proposal will not be good enough.”


Ivan McKee's letter to David Mundell:

Dear David,

I was interested to hear your comments on Sunday regarding Scotland being set to receive new powers in the wake of Brexit, whilst being concerned that you failed to provide any significant detail of what these new powers will actually be. I trust that you did not simply give an answer that has not been fully considered over an issue of such vital importance to Scotland.

I am writing to ask what new powers the UK government is proposing be transferred to Scotland in the event of Brexit. It would seem wise for the UK government to offer this clarity, as people have the right to know what the implications of Brexit will be.

What new powers will Scotland gain as a result of Brexit? What implications will any new powers have for existing funding arrangements between Scotland and the UK government? How will these new powers impact on Scotland’s ability to continue our relationship with Europe, which people voted overwhelmingly for in June? You mentioned fisheries as an area that would potentially come under Scottish Government control, contradicting comments from Ruth Davidson who has said that the fishing industry would prefer a UK-wide agreement: which path does the UK government intend to take on fisheries? Comments from Andrea Leadsom on agricultural payments seem to challenge what you have said on new powers over agriculture – who should the people of Scotland listen to on this important matter? Will these supposed new powers allow Scotland to pursue policies to suit its needs on matters such as trade and migration?

I trust that you intend to be more forthcoming with this information than the UK government has been in providing an explanation of what Brexit means. As you will be aware, it is important that you do not create the impression that the UK government is making up its plans and promises for Scotland post-Brexit on an improvised basis, given the impact that the proposals will have on people’s lives.

I look forward to your response.

With best wishes,
Ivan McKee
MSP for Glasgow Provan