Today, the cross-party Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), of which I am the only Scottish member, published a report highly critical of the UK Government’s attitude and engagement towards Scottish devolution.
Some of the key findings of the report include:
- The UK Government does not understand devolution and takes little account of the realities of devolved power.
- Inter-Governmental relationships within the UK are in need of overhaul and it would be preferable to have them established in law.
- The UK Government’s lack of consultation with the Scottish Government over Brexit was “highly regrettable”.
- The Scotland Office may no longer be necessary and at the very least it may need reformed.
In my view the report highlights a lack of trust, confidence and understanding within the UK Government. The UK Government should have approached the devolved parliaments immediately after the vote to leave the European Union and initiated a grown up conversation that allowed for input and constructive criticism. Unfortunately they did not engage with the Scottish Parliament in a respectful or meaningful way.
The evidence collected for this report also showed that when confronted with valid concerns, the UK Government simply retreated into an internalised and disjointed discussion within their own government.
It is concerning that despite the Scottish Parliament’s prominent role within Scottish society over the past 20 years, the UK Government still does not understand devolution.
A full copy of the report can be found [here].