Pressure is increasing on Ruth Davidson to clarify her party's position on
increased devolution IMAGE: STOCKPIX.EU
Scottish independence: Calls for clarity from Davidson as senior Tory backs Devo Plus
SCOTTISH Tory leader Ruth Davidson has been called on to make clear where she stands on more powers being devolved to Scotland, after one of her senior and most respected MSPs has called on the Party to support Devo Plus.
In an article on the Conservative Home website entitled 'Why Conservatives should support Devo Plus', former Holyrood Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson urges his Party colleagues “to accept, fundamentally, that unionism is not a fixed point on the political and constitutional spectrum. It is very much a variable,” and that it is “beyond bonkers” to suggest that financial accountability could not work in Scotland.
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Mr Fergusson warns fellow Conservative members that they risk making the same mistakes in the past by not showing some leadership over constitutional issues.
He says: “We have not led the Scottish people, and all too often we have stood back while others took the lead in the debate. We have allowed ourselves to be seen as disinterested bi-standers, usually entering the debate at too late a stage to make any difference whilst giving the distinct impression that we have no vision of our constitutional future.”
During the Tory campaign to elect a leader Ruth Davidson declared that the Scotland Bill was “the line in the sand” in terms of increased devolution. Since then the Prime Minister David Cameron has said more powers are "on the table" and a number of senior Tory colleagues have expressed a different view to their Scottish leader.
In his articles Mr Fergusson wrote:
"We could spend all day debating why the Conservative vote in Scotland continues to fall. In my view, it is a reflection of the fact that for decades we have been behind the curve on constitutional issues.
"We have not led the Scottish people, and all too often we have stood back while others took the lead in the debate. We have allowed ourselves to be seen as disinterested bi-standers, usually entering the debate at too late a stage to make any difference whilst giving the distinct impression that we have no vision of our constitutional future.
"For once, we need to get ourselves ahead of the curve. We need to lead the debate, to be in its forefront, and if we are seen to do that, our natural supporters just might think of returning to our fold once again."
Urging Ruth Davidson to make clear to Scottish voters what exactly the Tory position is on the constitution, Cumbernauld & Kilsyth MSP Jamie Hepburn said:
"Mr Fergusson is one of the Tories’ most respected elected representatives, and clearly his views will resonate with a significant number of rank-and-file members.
"Since Ruth Davidson famously drew ‘a line the sand’ after the Scotland Bill, Senior Tory figures have been queuing up to essentially kick the sand back in her face and demand a significantly enhanced form of devolution.
"Clearly a large part of the Tory membership recognises what a missed opportunity the Scotland Bill is.
"It is high time that Ms Davidson showed some leadership on this issue and tell us exactly what the Tories are offering Scotland. Otherwise – as Mr Fergusson rightly points out – the Tories will see their vote in Scotland continue to fall."
McLetchie lets slip that further devolution "may not take place"
David McLetchie during this yesterday's Scotland Bill Committee meeting said that further devolution “may not take place”. Mr McLetchie's claim will increase pressure on Ruth Davidson to clarify her views and seems to also contradict David Cameron's position.
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