The Conservatives don’t wish to debate, but to dictate terms to Scotland
The Scotland Bill has now made its way through the committee stage at Westminster, and miraculously it has done so without a single SNP amendment being accepted.
Despite the Bill falling woefully short of pre-referendum promises, the Tories have largely decided to ignore our mandate.
Scotland made its voice heard loud and clear on May 7, yet the Tories still have their fingers stuck in their ears.
We proposed amendments to help strengthen the Scottish Parliament, to enable Scotland to truly thrive and become a fairer place.
These amendments were made in line with our election manifesto, and so with the popular will of the Scottish people.
Yet the solitary Scottish Tory MP continues to subvert democracy.
He seeks to disenfranchise the most politically engaged citizens in the UK, at the risk of the Union.
Similarly, the Labour Party need to be taken to task over their unwillingness to debate.
Ian Murray presented amendments to the Bill in the chamber on Monday evening, yet was woefully supported by his colleagues.
Only a handful of Labour MPs bothered to show up – and those who did seemed more concerned with challenging the SNP than the Tory benches opposite.
My colleagues rightfully challenged Labour MP Graham Allen for referring to us as “bitter separatists” in the chamber.
Mr Allen indeed spent the majority of his speech taking on the SNP, seemingly oblivious to those on the Tory benches opposite.
Tory policies, Tory vetoes, and Tory arrogance, are tearing the Union asunder.
It is a sad indictment of the current state of the Labour Party that they choose to continue their Better Together alliance on the green benches.
It would appear that the lessons of the referendum have not been learned, and that they choose not to acknowledge the new political landscape in Scotland.
As the Scotland Bill trundles towards the House of Lords, many will be left questioning democratic process on these islands.
A room full of unelected Lords and Ladies will now potentially have more of a say on devolution to Scotland than 98 per cent of Scotland’s democratically elected MPs did.
Far from a quirk of process, it’s nothing short of a democratic outrage.
With Scottish votes for Scottish laws being ignored, the Tories now turn their focus to English votes on English Laws (EVEL).
The proposals to change Standing Orders to exclude Scottish MPs from votes that apparently affect England only are ridiculous.
My colleague Kirsty Blackman wrote to the Leader of the House to ask for clarification as to what exactly constitutes an ‘Englishonly’ matter.
The Government responded, listing the Scotland Bill as one of the areas of legislation considered to affect England and Wales only.
This has subsequently been retracted as an “unfortunate administrative error”.
I’d describe it as more Freudian than administrative.
The Tories don’t wish to debate, but to dictate terms to Scotland.
If they are not careful they’ll drive many more to pray for Scottish Independence, and the first words of that prayer will be ‘deliver us from Lords and EVEL’.
Unimpressed Margaret Ferrier has hit out at plans for English Votes for English Laws