Rennie and Campbell publish Campbell II Home Rule report

Scottish Liberal Democrats have today published a timetable for Sir Menzies CampbellSir Menzies Campbellradical change in the event of a No vote. The document sets out seven recommendations which show how the emerging consensus can be grasped so that more powers can be delivered swiftly after Scotland votes to remain in the UK.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP asked Sir Menzies Campbell, chair of the Liberal Democrat home rule commission, to conduct a review into the emerging consensus around more powers. Mr Rennie asked that the review assessed the areas of common ground and set out a timetable by which more powers could be delivered.

Drawing upon Liberal Democrat plans for home rule in a federal UK, speeches made by former Scottish Labour leader Gordon Brown and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson amongst many others, Sir Menzies Campbell has estimated that there is a growing consensus around two propositions:

1. That the Scottish Parliament’s financial powers should be expanded so that it is responsible for raising the taxes to pay for the majority of its spending;

2. That the Scottish Parliament should be entrenched permanently.

The Campbell II report makes seven recommendations:

· Recommendation 1: The Queen's Speech of 2015 should include provisions to strengthen the powers of Scotland within the United Kingdom.
· Recommendation 2: Led by the Scotland Office, the UK Government should begin an analysis of the options available to enhance the powers of the Scottish Parliament to
implement the consensus set out in this report.

· Recommendation 3: The Scottish Government should undertake that the research and knowledge acquired by civil servants in Scotland in preparation for the referendum will be available to inform the proposals set out in this report.

· Recommendation 4: The Scottish Parliament should resolve to ensure that the independent fiscal body to be established to support the 2012 Act tax powers is designed to be able to cope with all further financial power legislated for it after a No vote.

· Recommendation 5: The Secretary of State for Scotland should convene a meeting after the referendum, within thirty days, where parties and wider interests can meet. Its aim should be to secure a consensus for the further extension of powers to the Scottish Parliament consistent with continued membership of the United Kingdom and to be included in party manifestos for the 2015 general election.

· Recommendation 6: Political parties should include commitments in their manifestos for the election due in May 2015 that reforms affecting Scotland will be included in the Queen’s Speech which follows the election.

· Recommendation 7: The necessary changes to tax powers should be made through a further Scotland Act. The entrenchment of the Scottish Parliament can be achieved by
a resolution in favour of a statute in both Holyrood and Westminster.

The Scottish Parliament should have a role in establishing its permanence.

Speaking following Campbell II being launched at a press conference in Edinburgh University’s Raeburn Room, Sir Menzies Campbell MP said:

“Liberal Democrats have already concluded that home rule in a federal UK is the best future for Scotland. Today’s report, as requested by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, assesses the emerging consensus on more powers. We have concluded that there is solid common ground on the reform required to Scotland’s relationship within the UK.

“Looking across Scotland’s parties it is clear that a consensus has formed around two broad propositions. Firstly, that the Scottish Parliament should raise the majority of what it spends. Secondly, that the Scottish Parliament should be entrenched permanently.

“On the currency, on energy, on the EU, on the intelligence services, the white paper has been casual in its assumptions that most of the fundamentals of Scotland will be unaffected by independence. The fundamental choice in the referendum is therefore a clear one. Either to maintain these important and fruitful unions and to reform them on a federal basis, or as a result of a Yes vote, to leave these unions and endeavour to join them on inevitably poorer terms to Scotland, if at all.

“Today’s report makes a series of rational, reasonable and indeed radical recommendations by which this reform could take place. Equipping Scotland with more powers, what I regard as an early step for a federal UK, can be done.

“2015 is the time when it should be done. To give a stable future for Scotland and the UK it must be done. The proposals in this report will bring people together after the referendum. It is a radical programme for change.”

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP said:

“The centre of gravity in the debate has shifted so much since Sir Menzies Campbell produced his first report that I asked him to produce a follow up report setting out how we translate the emerging consensus into reality.

“We must not forget how far the Scottish political discourse has come. That the former Prime Minister of the UK and the Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party have both delivered a series of speeches on reforms shows that centre of gravity in this debate has shifted in quite a remarkable fashion since we first published Federalism: the best future for Scotland.”

1. You can read a full copy of the Campbell II report here