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Monday, 8 September 2014

Gordon Brown speech on 'Home Rule' within the UK

The former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown will set out plans for a timetable for new powers for the Scottish Parliament during a speech in Midlothian tonight.

Speaking at the Loanhead Miners’ Welfare, Gordon Brown will say: "I was proud when earlier this year – as a result of a Devolution Commission report initiated by our Scottish Leader Johann Lamont – Labour proposed greater devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament. With Johann’s encouragement I have been pressing the UK Government for some months now to agree to a timetable for delivering the stronger Scottish Parliament we want. With her agreement, I made another approach again last week.

"I know also that Johann has been of the view for some time that before we vote on 18 September, the Scottish people must be able to see in as much detail as possible. The alternative to an irreversible separation is a more powerful Scottish Parliament with a timetable for its delivery. Quite simply, Scottish voters deserve to know to the fullest extent possible about how new powers as ambitious as possible will be delivered as soon as possible within the UK. And so we are demanding a tight-timetable with tough deadlines and streamlined procedures.

"A ‘No’ vote on 18 September will not be an end point, but the starting gun for action on19 September, when straight away we will kick off a plan to deliver the enhanced devolution that we want. On 19 September we will start bringing into law the new, stronger Scottish Parliament, and to secure the change we want we will work with the other parties. The Scottish people will expect nothing less, not only because that is the right thing to do, but because we need an agreed timetable with deadlines for delivery and a roadmap to our goal.

"Last week I spoke to the Speaker of the House of Commons and requested a parliamentary debate for the first week to bring the issues to the House of Commons at the earliest opportunity. He has promised me his answer by Wednesday. But I think it is right anyway that on its first week back the House of Commons agrees a motion to set a new Scotland Act in train I hope this can be agreed. But even though we are not in power, Labour is now taking the initiative proposing a timetable for strengthening the Scottish Parliament

"It is this: by the end of October, just over five weeks after the referendum, we seek a command paper that sets out all the plans, including the agreed ground that unites us, and the issues that need to be resolved. By the end of November, we seek Heads of Agreement on a new Scotland Act published in a White Paper, or its equivalent, will report back on an intensive month of consultation with Scottish civic society and with the groups who were engaged in talks during Scottish Constitutional convention, who like the Scottish Parliament, will be able to scrutinise and challenge the proposals.

"By the end of January 2015,we seek draft clauses ready for legislative enactment as the new Scotland Bill and Scotland Act. I want to see draft clauses giving effect to these policies as soon as possible because I want legislation to happen as soon as possible. And from November to January we would continue to consult the Scottish Parliament. Labour since Keir Hardie has been the Party of Home Rule for Scotland within the United Kingdom so the plan for a stronger Scottish Parliament we seek agreement on is for nothing else than a modern form of Scottish Home Rule within the United Kingdom, published by St Andrews Day on 30 November, with the draft laws around 25 January – interestingly enough by Burns Night."