On the day that a Westminster Hall debate on intergovernmental cooperation takes place, Liberal Democrat Scottish Affairs spokesperson Jamie Stone MP has written to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament suggesting that a backbench cross-party liaison committee consisting of MPs and MSPs be established.
In his letter, Mr Stone asks the Speaker and the Presiding Officer to consider encouraging a cross-party arbitration process for the two institutions, with links being formed between backbench MPs and MSPs. This would prevent disputes between the two Parliaments escalating to publicity stunts as they did on last week when the SNP walked out of Parliament.
Mr Stone said:
“The unedifying and embarrassing scenes of last week when the members of the SNP walked out of the House of Commons did nothing for democracy. The move wrote off four potential questions from members who might have wanted to call the Government to account and it also served to further delay a crucial debate about the relationship between the UK and Scottish Parliaments.
"In some ways this event was disheartening but not surprising. For too long the relationship between both Parliaments has not been harmonious. This is exactly why I have now written these two letters to the Speaker and the Presiding Officer.
"MPs and MSPs meeting and discussing matters of importance to both Parliaments and how better to improve the relationships between them can only be a good thing. It is in all our interests to see both Parliaments running smoothly. Voters expect this and do not like it one little bit when they instead see discord and confrontation.
"It is my hope that this new constitutional mechanism would allow us to make the necessary breakthroughs.”