Carmichael urges ‘real leadership’ from Sturgeon
The UK government is delivering on its pledge to devolve further powers to the Scottish parliament, according to Scottish secretary and Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.
And he said that calls being made for a second referendum were “entirely inappropriate” and ran the risk of dividing Scotland.
It is one month since the nation went to the polls and voted in favour of retaining the union.
Mr Carmichael has used the landmark to say the Westminster administration, which debated constitutional matters in the House of Commons this week, has “hit the ground running” on devolution.
He called on First Minister-in-waiting Nicola Sturgeon to adopt a similar approach and show “real leadership” in making things happen. She will be formally endorsed as SNP leader at the party conference in Perth next month and Mr Carmichael said: “Nicola Sturgeon will take the reins at a time where most Scots are moving on with their lives after the long and passionate referendum campaign. We have hit the ground running and are already working hard to deliver the further devolution which we promised.
“During the referendum campaign we set out a timetable for the devolution of further powers and we’re not only meeting it, we’re beating it.
“I would call on Nicola Sturgeon to show genuine leadership and accept the result. There have already been cries of reneging on the more powers vow even though the Smith Commission hasn’t even proposed anything yet. The betrayal bandwagon is already getting dusted down.
“This is simply not good enough. The Scottish people have made their democratic decision and it must be respected.
“I appreciate the emotional intensity of the campaign but the UK government respected the victory of the nationalists in 2011, recognised the will of the Scottish people and took measures to devolve the power to hold the referendum. Both sides signed the Edinburgh Agreement in good faith and it is that good faith which we need to see from the new First Minister.”
On 18th September, with a record turnout of almost 85 per cent, 2,001,926 voters in Scotland backed staying in the UK – nearly 384,000 more than voted for independence.
Mr Carmichael added: “The referendum gave us a decisive result. This was the most democratic decision we have ever made in Scotland. More than 3.6 million people voted. One question was put to the electorate and the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland answered by saying they want to remain part of the United Kingdom.
“We are now working to build a stronger Scottish parliament. Calling for a second referendum and reflecting on what could have been is entirely inappropriate. The Scottish government wanted to divide the United Kingdom but if they carry on as they have for the past month then they risk dividing Scotland.”