Holy­rood has ‘ un­filled po­ten­tial’

The Scotsman - - SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT - Lewis Mcken­zie

Holy­rood still has “great po­ten­tial” af­ter two decades of de­vo­lu­tion – but it has been un­ful­filled in re­cent years un­der the SNP, the Scot­tish Sec­re­tary has said.

David Mun­dell was one of the orig­i­nal crop of MSPS elected to serve in the new Par­lia­ment in May 1999, though he has since gone on to politics at West­min­ster.

He r e c a l l e d t h e r e wer e “ve r y high hopes for the Par­lia­ment” as he re­flected on when he was first elected as a list MSP for the South of Scot­land.

He said: “Not all of t hose have been re­alised but I think that’s not be­cause of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, it’s be­cause of the dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ments that have been part of it.

“I think the Par­lia­ment it­self, I’m still very pos­i­tive about – its role and what it can do.

“But the Gov­ern­ment it cre­ates and holds to ac­count need to do bet­ter.

“The po­ten­tial re­mains great but that has to be ful­filled and cer­tainly in re­cent years, I don’t think that’s been the case.”

As an MSP, Mr Mun­dell was the first per­son to ask a ques­tion at the newly es­tab­lished par­lia­ment on June 1 1999.

It was posed to t hen- ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Peter Peacock about ru­ral schools.

“T h a t s h ows t h e i s s u e s d o n’t change,” Mr Mun­dell said.

He said there is not enough of a dis­tinc­tion made be­tween Holy­rood as an in­sti­tu­tion and the elected gov­ern­ment.

“I think we do need to do more to

dif­fer­en­ti­ate in the pub­lic mind the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment – I think most peo­ple are quite clear the House of Com­mons is not the gov­ern­ment, it’s dif­fer­ent,” he ex­plained.

“We have to work still to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the par­lia­ment it­self and all the things that it could do from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and what it does do.”

So as some­one who has served in both Holy­rood and West­min­ster, how do the two com­pare?

“Twenty years ago, I think the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment was ahead of West­min­ster in terms of its ap­proach,” Mr Mun­dell said.

“Now I think West­min­ster at the gov­ern­ment g formed by the SNP, who adopted a the ti­tle Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment

TENTH AN­NIVER­SARY OF THE OPEN­ING very least has caught up, if not made some changes the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment might like to con­sider.”

One dif­fer­ence fre­quently high­lighted be­tween the Par­lia­ments in Lon­don and Ed­in­burgh is the dif­fer­ent sys­tems of vot­ing.

In Holy­rood, MSPS are able to cast their votes elec­tron­i­cally, while MPS at West­min­ster must still walk down one of two cor­ri­dors.

Mr Mun­dell ad­mits West­min­ster could per­haps adapt to some more fixed points for vot­ing – sim­i­lar to how Holy­rood holds votes at de­ci­sion time at 5pm. FOURTH F SCOT­TISH PAR­LIA­MENT ELECTION The T SNP won a ma­jor­ity of seats for the first time. At A the 2016 election, the SNP won a third term but fell f two seats short of an over­all ma­jor­ity.

“The po­ten­tial re­mains great but that has to be ful­filled and cer­tainly in re­cent years, I don’t think that’s been the case”

0 David Mun­dell and, be­low, how The Scots­man re­ported the open­ing

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