Holyrood has ‘ unfilled potential’
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