Peer warns parties not to undermine Scotland talks

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Lord Smith has warned political parties not to undermine the process for agreeing more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP, Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Greens have been given until today to set out their views on how the powers of Holyrood should be strengthened following the No vote on Scottish independence.

Their submissions to the Scotland Devolution Commission will pave the way for cross-party talks.

Lord Smith was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron to lead the commission, set up to deliver on the pre-referendum vow by pro-union parties to guarantee more powers for Scotland.

In a letter to party representatives, he said he was encouraged by the way in which the parties had engaged with the process so far, but said politicians must come to the table willing to compromise.

He said: “The past three weeks have shown that much of the energy and engagement that characterised the referendum has continued and is now focused on the outcome of our work together.

“While it is right that all the parties will want to continue to put their case to the public it is vital that we respect and protect the integrity of the process we are now in. That is why I will be quick to intervene if I feel that anyone is undermining the work of the Commission or the cross-party talks.

“We enter these talks with a weight of expectation upon us. The people of Scotland, whether they voted Yes or No, expect us to reach agreement.”