Press Notice

Session 2009-10, 11 March 2010

Publication of Report


COMMISSION ON SCOTTISH DEVOLUTION

Scottish Affairs Committee has published its Third Report of Session 2009-10 on Commission on Scottish Devolution (HC 255):

Publication date 11 March

CLOSER UK AND SCOTTISH RELATIONS MUST BE BACKED UP BY POLITICAL WILL, SAY MPs

Closer cooperation between the UK and Scottish parliaments and governments is only possible if backed up by political will, concludes the Scottish Affairs Committee in a report published today (11 March 2010).

It says removing procedural barriers is only one part of improving communication and cooperation; structural changes alone will not make the difference.

The report examines the recommendations of the Commission on Scottish Devolution ('the Calman Commission'), specifically the parts which relate to relations between the two parliaments.

The Committee's key findings are:

€ The government should make time for a regular 'State of Scotland' debate, to include devolved matters

€ The UK and Scottish governments have given a positive response to the idea of appearing before committees of either Parliament; any such invitations should reflect the workload and timetable of the ministers concerned

€ The idea of a 'Scottish Super Grand Committee' composed of Scottish MPs, MSPs and Scottish MEPs should be revisited

€ Changes should be made to allow UK and Scottish parliamentary committees to work together, for example attending meetings in a non-voting capacity

€ Positive consideration should be given to whether Scottish ministers can give evidence to UK Parliament committees examining Scotland Act Orders

€ Arrangements should be made to remove any unnecessary barriers to access for MSPs visiting Westminster

€ A programme of exchanges and secondments with the Scottish Parliament should be funded and encouraged by the House

The Chairman of the Committee, Mohammad Sarwar MP, said: "That we continue to debate the findings of the Calman Commission is testament to its importance. We warmly commend the work of the Commission and agree with its key finding that mutual respect between the governments and parliaments is paramount.

"The recommendations we have made in our report are designed to facilitate closer cooperation, but this will only become a reality if supported by genuine political will. We urge the future Scottish Affairs Committee to continue our work to ensure this happens."

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

The Committee's report is in response to an invitation from the Speaker requesting the Committee's views on the Calman Commission recommendations relating to relations between the UK and Scottish parliaments (Part 4 of the Calman report).

The Committee held a seminar on 9 February 2010 to discuss the recommendations and the report published today is drawn from those discussions.

For all media inquiries, please contact Becky Jones on 020 7219 5693.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Committee Membership is as follows: Mr Mohammad Sarwar MP (Lab, Glasgow Central) (Chairman), Alistair Carmichael MP (Lib Dem, Orkney and Shetland), Ms Katy Clark MP (Lab, North Ayrshire and Arran), Mr Ian Davidson MP (Lab/Co-operative, Glasgow South West), Mr Jim Devine MP (Lab, Livingston), Mr Jim McGovern MP (Lab, Dundee West), David Mundell MP (Con, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale), Lindsay Roy MP (Lab, Glenrothes), Mr Charles Walker MP (Con, Broxbourne), Mr Ben Wallace MP (Con, Lancaster and Wyre) and Pete Wishart MP (SNP, Perth and North Perthshire).

More information on Committee publications can be found at: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/scottish_affairs_committee/scottish_affairs_committee_reports_and_publications.cfm

Specific Committee Information: [email protected] 0207 219 6125

Committee Website: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/scottish_affairs_committee.cfm

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk