Calls for Governments To Work Together

16 May 2016, 08:27

The Scottish and UK Governments should put "political disagreements aside'' and work in the national interest, David Mundell has said.

The Scottish Secretary said new powers over tax, welfare and equal opportunities that will be devolved later this year will make Holyrood "one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world''.

With the recent election returning an SNP minority Government, Mr Mundell believes it is time to "reset the relationship'' between Westminster and Holyrood.

In his first speech since the election - which returned 31 Conservative MSPs making it the second-largest party at the expense of Labour - the Tory MP said "people are sick and tired of the bickering and blame games''.

"People in Scotland have a right to expect - and Scotland's two Governments a duty to deliver - a relationship between Holyrood and Westminster which puts the national interest first and political considerations last,'' Mr Mundell said.

"Frankly, people are sick and tired of the bickering and blame games. They want to see their politicians working together for the common good.

"So I want to make a big offer to the incoming Scottish Ministers: let's reset the relationship between our two Governments.

"Let's put our political disagreements aside where we possibly can, and put our energies and talents together to deliver a better future for Scotland. And let's include everyone in Scotland - businesses, charities, churches, trade unions, universities, private citizens - in a new collective effort to use our powers and potential in this common endeavour.''

An SNP spokesman said: "We will always work together with other parties when it is in the interests of the people of Scotland - but the fact is the UK Tory Government views Scotland as an afterthought, while the SNP in Government will always put our national interests first.

"That is exactly why we were re-elected with an unprecedented third-term mandate just over a week ago while the Tories just managed to scrape over 20% of the vote.

"David Mundell's warm words can't disguise the fact that his Government is pursuing the most right-wing agenda the UK has seen since Margaret Thatcher was in office - and if he truly wanted to work in Scotland's interests, he would pressure the Prime Minister to ditch his ideological commitment to austerity, rather than being an enthusiastic cheerleader for cuts to Scotland's budget.''