Those listening to Ruth Davidson’s speech on further devolution (available here) will note that (along with Adam Tomkins) I shall be advising the Scottish Conservatives’ working group reviewing devolution, chaired by Lord Strathclyde. The other members of the group include Annabel Goldie MSP and Alex Fergusson MSP. As the unionist parties all seek to establish how they think devolution should work if there is a vote against independence in 2014, the Conservatives’ initiative in setting up this commission is to be welcomed and I’m pleased to help it as best I can. The establishment of the working group, and Davidson’s speech, show clearly that the Conservatives have embraced the logic of delivering a constitutional settlement that provides greater self-government within the Union, and accords with the clear preferences of the Scottish people.
There’s coverage of Davidson’s speech from BBC News here, Holyrood magazine here, the Guardian here, the Telegraph here, the Scotsman here, the Herald here, and a thoughtful analysis by Alex Massie in a Spectator blog here.
I have accepted the party’s invitation on a non-party basis, and remain politically impartial. I’ve already given evidence to the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Commission on Home Rule and Community Rule and Labour’s Devolution Commission. I will continue work with IPPR on the ‘Devo More’ project, and to help any other parties or bodies that want devolution advice so long as that doesn’t create impossible time pressures or conflicts of interest.