Cameron Tackled On Powers Pledge
David Cameron is facing growing pressure from Tory MPs after promising more powers for Scotland if it rejects independence.
The Prime Minister, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg signed a letter in the Daily Record pledging “extensive” new devolution in the event of a No vote.
The party leaders said the UK “exists to ensure opportunity and security for all by sharing our resources equitably across all four nations”.
They also suggested that the Barnett formula for allocating government funding - which has been criticised as overly generous to Scotland - would continue unchanged.
“We can state categorically that the final say on how much is spent on the NHS will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament,” the missive added.
However, the intervention - which came after Mr Cameron last night insisted he was not “remotely” near backing a devolved English parliament - drew a sharp response from Conservative backbencher.
Christchurch MP Christopher Chope said he would vote against a “devo max” package in Westminster unless there was a wider examination of the balance of powers within the UK as a whole.
He said: “I certainly think that people in Scotland should recognise that this is a 'pledge' ... by party leaders, but that is not a guarantee that that would be implemented in the United Kingdom Parliament.”
Fellow Tory John Redwood demanded an “honest” and “more grown up” constitutional settlement if Scotland stays.
“If Scotland is going to decide some tax rates as well as spending for itself, so should England. What is good enough for Scotland is good enough for England,” he said.
“It must mean the end of Scottish MPs voting on English schools or English hospitals whilst being unable to do the same for their own.
“There must be no question of Scotland setting her own income rate and then sending MPs to Westminster to help set ours.
“England has been very good about the current system. There have not been too many complaints that our students have to pay to go to a Scottish university when Scots and people from elsewhere in the EU go free.
“There is also more generous long-term care in Scotland than in England. The English have accepted that more money is spent on each Scot than on each English person out of our common taxes.”
Tory MP Rob Wilson posted on Twitter: “England will not accept another downgrading for DevoMax. Already 2 classes of MP, where Scots vote on Eng matters but we can't on Scots!”
Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee and a frequent critic of the PM, said more fiscal autonomy should mean Scottish MPs are barred from becoming chancellor.
“We could never have a Scottish UK chancellor setting English taxes in England at the annual budget but not in his or her own constituency. So Parliament will have to consider how to establish an English executive, with an English first minister and finance minister,” he said in a letter to The Times.
The Yes campaign said a vote for independence in Thursday's referendum was the only way to guarantee Scotland gets the powers it needs.
A spokesman for Yes Scotland said: “It's clear that project panic is willing to say anything in the last few days of the campaign to try to halt the Yes momentum - anything except what new powers, if any, they might be willing to offer.
“The reality is that the only way to guarantee Scotland gets all the powers we need to create jobs and protect our NHS is with a Yes vote on Thursday - so that we can use our enormous wealth to create a better and fairer country.”
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