In its response to the Scottish Affairs Committee’s report on intergovernmental relations, the UK Government has accepted the Committee’s recommendations on reviewing the role of the Scotland Office, and exploring the introduction of third party involvement in dispute resolution proceedings.
Ahead of an evidence session today with David Mundell MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, the UK Government has said it will consider and discuss with the devolved Governments the Committee’s recommendations on how to strengthen the UK’s intergovernmental structures. The Government also says it will consider strengthening the intergovernmental dispute resolution process through the introduction of third-party involvement.
The Government’s response to the Committee’s report also references the Prime Minister’s recent announcement of a wide-ranging review of devolution, which will examine whether the devolved nations should retain their own Secretaries of State. This follows the Scottish Affairs Committees’ conclusion that it is currently unclear what value the Scotland Office adds to the relationship between the UK and Scottish Governments.
The Committee will discuss the Government’s response with the Secretary of State for Scotland this afternoon at 3pm. The Committee will also discuss the UK Government’s new “Hub” offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Shared Prosperity Fund, City Region Deals, and the Stronger Towns Fund.
Commenting on the Government’s response to the Committee’s report, the Chair, Pete Wishart MP, said:
“The Government response makes some welcome indications of support for updating intergovernmental structures, including a fairer dispute resolution process for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. My Committee will be testing the Government’s commitment to thoroughly reviewing and reforming devolution structures in our evidence session with the Secretary of State this afternoon.”
The House of Commons will also be holding a debate on Thursday to mark 20 years since devolution, in which MPs will further discuss the Committee’s report, as well as the work of the Welsh Affairs and Northern Ireland Affairs Committees.