Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg has backed a cross-party commitment to deliver more powers to Scotland in the event of a No vote in the independence referendum in September.
A joint statement was published today setting out a commitment by the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative parties to deliver further powers to the Scottish Parliament. It affirms a declaration made earlier in the year by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and the other Scottish party leaders.
Speaking after the commitment was published, Nick Clegg said:
"This is a significant statement of common purpose from the parties that have shaped Scotland's home rule journey.
"From the constitutional convention to the Scotland Act 2012, Liberal Democrats have worked with others and delivered. We are unflinching in our commitment to building a stronger Scotland within the UK, strengthening areas of fiscal responsibility and introducing new powers over social security.
"It is crystal clear that voting No to leaving the United Kingdom is also a positive vote for more powers within the UK family. That’s the best of both worlds.”
The full text of the joint statement is as follows:
Power lies with the Scottish people and we believe it is for the Scottish people to decide how Scotland is governed.
We believe that the pooling and sharing of resources across the United Kingdom is to Scotland's benefit in a partnership of nations in which distinct national identities can flourish and be celebrated.
We believe that Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole have been strengthened since the advent of devolution.
We support a strong Scottish Parliament in a strong United Kingdom and we support the further strengthening of the Parliament's powers.
The three parties delivered more powers for Holyrood through the Calman Commission which resulted in the Scotland Act 2012.
We now pledge to strengthen further the powers of the Scottish Parliament, in particular in the areas of fiscal responsibility and social security. We believe that Scotland should have a stronger Scottish Parliament while retaining full representation for Scotland in the UK Parliament. That can bring people together from all of Scotland, from civic society and every community.
The Scottish Labour Party, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats have each produced our own visions of the new powers which the Scottish Parliament needs.
We shall put those visions before the Scottish people at the next general election and all three parties guarantee to start delivering more powers for the Scottish Parliament as swiftly as possible in 2015.
This commitment will deliver a stronger Scottish Parliament in a stronger United Kingdom.