Stephen demands senior SNP MP correct the record after false Vow claims

Liberal Democrat Scotland spokesperson and former Deputy First Minister Lord Nicol Stephen has demanded one of the SNP’s most senior MPs correct the record after falsely claiming that the Vow - given by the UK party leaders before the independence referendum –called for Full Fiscal Autonomy.

During the Scotland Bill debate in the House of Commons on Monday SNP MP Angus MacNeil said “the vow included full fiscal autonomy.” This is despite the Vow specifically safeguarding the principles of pooling and sharing resources equitably across the UK including the continuation of the Barnett formula.

Lord Stephen has today written to Angus MacNeil to ask that he stop trying to rewrite history.

In a letter, Lord Stephen said:

Dear Angus,

I was disappointed to read your remarks during the Scotland Bill debate. On a number of occasions you claimed that the Vow included full fiscal autonomy in its proposals.

For clarity, I have included the full text of the Vow published on October 1 2014.

Nowhere in this commitment signed by the three party leaders can I find the words “full” “fiscal” or “autonomy”.

Instead, there is a specific and clear commitment to continue the Barnett Formula. The SNP’s plans for full fiscal autonomy would scrap the Barnett Formula and leave Scotland with over £7billion per year of cuts in services or increased taxes.  

In the Vow there is an agreement to ensure “opportunity and security for all” by pooling and sharing resources.

The SNP’s plans for full fiscal autonomy would sever completely the UK-wide link on pensions and other welfare funding. 

Many Scots who voted to remain in the UK and now wish to see a stronger Scotland in the UK will be appalled by your attempts to rewrite history.

You are either mistaken or are deliberately setting out to mislead for your own political ends. 

I sincerely hope it is the former.

Your assertions In the Commons chamber do not match the facts. 

I urge you to do the right thing and correct the record.


Nicol Stephen


The Vow

The people of Scotland want to know that all three main parties will deliver change for Scotland.

We are agreed that;

The Scottish Parliament is permanent and extensive new powers for the Parliament will be delivered by the process and to the timetable agreed and announced by our three parties, starting on 19th September.

And it is our hope that the people of Scotland will be engaged directly as each party works to improve the way we are governed in the UK in the years ahead.

We agree that the UK exists to ensure opportunity and security‎ for all by sharing our resources equitably across all four nations to secure the defence, prosperity and welfare of every citizen.

And because of the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources, and the powers of the Scottish parliament to raise revenue, we can state categorically that the final say on how much is spent on the NHS will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

We believe that the arguments that so powerfully make the case for staying together in the UK should underpin our future as a country. We will honour those principles and values not only before the referendum but after.

People want to see change. A No vote will deliver faster, safer and better change than separation.

Notes to Editors:


During the Scotland Bill debate, Angus MacNeil said:

Mr MacNeil: It is now clear that the policy of Labour’s Front Benchers is to leave Scotland’s tax powers in the hands of this Tory Government. The vow did not say that; the vow included full fiscal autonomy. Will the hon. Gentleman tell us when he changed his mind?

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