Independence vote ‘ironically’ inspired co-operation, former isles MP says

Relations between the Scottish and UK governments were at their best on the lead up to the independence referendum, a former isles MP told a Westminster committee.

Former MP for Orkney and Shetland, Lord Jim Wallace was a part of a three-person panel of witnesses answering questions from the Scottish Affairs Committee today (Monday).

Twenty-five years after the passing of the Scotland Act 1998, the session was an opportunity for MPs to hear the views of those who were central to the creation and delivery of the Scottish devolution settlement. 

The panel were asked about inter-governmental co-operation and how they felt devolution had benefitted Scotland.

While the panel said there had been something left to be desired, there were some positive aspects which had come from it.

“Ironically, it was one of the biggest divisions between the government and the Holyrood government was the referendum in 2014,” Lord Wallace said.

“Getting to that referendum actually involved quite a lot of negotiation to get the Edinburgh Agreement… There is an irony that the issue that was so divisive was the one, in many respects meant people had to work together.”

Chairman of the committee Pete Wishart said he remembered the government relations “at its best” at that point in time.

Lord Wallace was joined by Lord Robertson of Port Ellen and Lord Dunlop, who were also involved in either the creation of a devolved Scottish parliament or how it was run in later years.


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