Richard Leonard’s principled position on the Tory “power grab”.


As Scottish Labour is the party that made devolution in Scotland happen, it’s no surprise to me that Richard Leonard has raised concerns about how the Tories are dealing with the repatriation of powers from the EU to the UK. We have to recognise properly the 1998 Devolution Act and acknowledge that the default position for some of the powers returning from the EU as part of Brexit is that they reside with the Scottish Parliament. Yes, some of these powers are highly technical in nature but the Devolution Act must be respected.

Whilst the Scottish Labour leader’s position may be highly principled, the SNP position is based on a fair degree of grievance and hypocrisy.

Firstly, the nationalists are seeking the return of these powers to Holyrood simply to pass them back to Brussels, along with many others, at the very first opportunity.

Secondly, at the same time as demanding these powers reside in Holyrood they are asking the UK Government to retain welfare powers that could have been transferred to Scotland some time ago.

Lastly, Holyrood already has many powers that the nationalists are simply failing to use. On everything from dealing with pavement parking to reducing the impact of AirBnB type holiday lets to introducing a tourist tax the SNP is simply failing to use the powers at its disposal.

These three points completely expose the SNP’s “power grab” rhetoric as simply yet another way of seeking artificial arguments with the UK Government to further their obsession with owing division in our country.

The SNP need to learn that when in Government they should actually govern. Demanding Labour’s   1998 Devolution Act be respected is fine, but the SNP need to actually use the powers Holyrood already holds to the full to make Scotland a better place to live, work and do business.

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