Labour in Home Rule Bill pledge

Published: Thursday 29th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Labour will introduce a new Home Rule Bill for Scotland within 100 days of being voted into office, Ed Miliband has pledged.

The Labour leader said that in the same way that Tony Blair acted quickly to establish the Scottish Parliament after his 1997 victory, devolution would be “one of the first things on our agenda” if the party wins May’s general election.

Work on the legislation, which comes in the wake of the promise of further powers made by Mr Miliband and other Westminster leaders ahead of the independence referendum, would start on the first day of a new Labour government, the party said.

Speaking ahead of a campaign visit north of the border, the Labour leader pledged: “This will be real Home Rule for Scotland in the 21st century, giving Scotland the powers it needs.”

Labour also plans to force a vote on immediately transferring power over the Work Programme to Holyrood next month – and if this does not succeed Mr Miliband says he will act on this as soon as he is voted into Number 10.

He said his party had “delivered the vow” on more devolution, with draft clauses of legislation published last week, ready to be implemented by the new government.

Mr Miliband said: “J ust as in 1997, devolution will be one of the first things on our agenda for the next Labour Government.”

He hailed the new Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy as “already leading the agenda in Scotland” with plans he has set out to increase the number of nurses and help the oil and gas sector.

Mr Murphy is also ” talking about how Labour will use the new powers to deal with unemployment and get our young people back to work,” the party’s UK leader added.

Mr Miliband said if his party is voted into office “w e will put the Home Rule Bill before Parliament in the first 100 days of the next Labour government”.

He added: ” This Bill will give Scotland the powers that were promised over jobs, welfare and tax.

“But we want to go faster. Scotland needs the job creating powers that the Smith Agreement promised. And Scotland needs them now. Next month, Labour will force a vote on our Bill to pass these powers now.

“If that’s not accepted, we will devolve control over the work programme immediately on taking power, so Scotland has the tools it needs to put people back to work.”

SNP depute leader Stewart Hosie said: “Trying to claim that this is Home Rule could be reported under the Trade Descriptions Act for being completely untrue.

“Recently, Lewis MacDonald MSP specifically denied that Labour had ever talked about ‘Home Rule’, which renders the claims of Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy laughable.

“The reality is that, with 70% of taxation and 85% of welfare spending staying under Westminster control, Labour and the other UK parties are offering Westminster rule not Home Rule – and it is embarrassing for Mr Miliband to try to pretend otherwise.

“People in Scotland don’t believe Ed Miliband – who has achieved the extraordinary feat for a Labour leader of having even worse poll ratings in Scotland than the Tory Prime Minister.

“The way to achieve the real powers of Home Rule is to vote SNP in May, for a strong team of SNP MPs holding the balance of power at Westminster.”

Published: Thursday 29th January 2015 by The News Editor

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