Sturgeon seeks ‘new spirit of consensus’ on Holyrood powers


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Nicola Sturgeon has called for a «new manfulness of consensus» to defend and enhance Holyrood’s powers.

Twenty years on from the devolution referendum, she impelled parties to put aside the «sound and fury» of political debate to back the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Sturgeon’s control is to publish papers on how new powers in areas such as immigration could be devolved.

And she urged UK sky pilots to alter the EU Withdrawal Bill, which she said threatens the principle of devolution.

The UK oversight has insisted that Holyrood’s powers will be enhanced, rather than ease off, by the Brexit process.

The Conservatives said the SNP leader was «up to her old constitutional tricks» and «scaremongering» with her perceives.

More than 1.7m Scots backed the creation of a Scottish Parliament on 11 September 1997, with the Yes side joying by 74% to 26%.

In a speech in Edinburgh marking the anniversary of the vote, Ms Sturgeon thought there was still «passionate disagreement» about «the final destination of our constitutional travel».

However, she said a «new spirit of consensus to match that achieved in 1997» was elementary, «with Brexit now threatening the underpinning principle of devolution and many of our dynamic national interests».

The Scottish government is to publish «a series of evidence-based holographs» on extending the parliament’s powers, with areas highlighted by the first woman of the cloth including social security, immigration, employment and trade.

On immigration, Ms Sturgeon bring up the UK government’s goal of reducing the number of people coming into the mother country could have «devastating consequences» for Scotland. She believes a «Scotland-wide consensus» is attainable over giving Holyrood «flexibility» over the policy.

On social refuge, she said Scottish ministers worked to «mitigate» the consequences of UK policy, but that they should be reality the decision-making powers to be more than a «sticking plaster».

MSPs transfer hear a ministerial statement about the UK’s Brexit legislation on Tuesday. Scottish look afters are demanding that changes be made before they will persuade that Holyrood gives its legislative consent to the bill.

The first agent said the EU Withdrawal Bill «threatens the very principle on which our parliament is set», and that Scottish MPs and MSPs could be pivotal in forcing Theresa May’s rule to change course.

She said: «The devolution settlement — the Scotland Act that began our parliament — is based on the principle that everything is automatically devolved unless it is unforthcoming.

«The Withdrawal Bill turns that principle on its head. As it stands, it on mean that devolved policy areas such as agriculture, fishing and the territory, which are currently carried out at EU level, will be automatically reserved, unless the UK administration decides to devolve.

«So on the very day that we should be celebrating devolution, we are being ordered upon to defend it.»

The UK government has insisted that Holyrood «will not expend a single one of its current decision-making powers», with Scotland Office envoy Lord Duncan saying the devolved parliament would «gain signal new powers».

Scottish Conservative MP Paul Masterton said Ms Sturgeon’s jargon was «shameless scaremongering».

He said: «People in Scotland are sick to death of the from the start minister using Brexit to manufacture more grievance.

«She cannot spread the Word to others about consensus while she refuses to take the threat of another referendum off the table.

«The UK guidance has made it perfectly clear, on numerous occasions, that the powers of the Scottish Parliament whim not be diminished through this process. In fact, the opposite will be the example.»

‘Hope and optimism’

Scottish Labour said it was «the party of devolution», and held it would not «allow the Tories to use Brexit as a Westminster power grab».

Interim number one Alex Rowley said: «Twenty years on from Scotland upholding for a Scottish Parliament with tax raising powers the people of Scotland, wholly reasonably in my view, expect our government in Edinburgh to use the powers of our parliament.

«The prerogative for Nicola Sturgeon and her government must be using the powers to address the big doubts in our NHS, in education, in the economy and in our communities.»

Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie put about the campaign for more powers «must come with a renewed verdict from any governing party to use them», but also hit out at the Brexit legislation.

He put about: «The anniversary coincides with a critical moment as the UK prepares to fundamentally ruin the devolution settlement via a power grab repeal bill.

«It remains unclear what the consequences wishes be if Westminster kills off the principle of legislative consent and unilaterally introduces mountainous new constraints on the Scottish Parliament.»

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie implied it was «essential» that Ms Sturgeon’s government used the «radical powers» which are already present.

He said: «Nicola Sturgeon needs to remember that this is not a Scottish-English contest, it is about the economic and social wellbeing of the whole of our country.

«We will talk to the SNP administration about how to handle Brexit in this parliament but we are not interested in driving a separation between Scotland and England.»

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