Wednesday, 12 October 2011
SNP MP and Member of the Scottish Affairs Committee, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, today (Wednesday) described the announcement of twin inquiries by the Committee into the Scottish Government’s plan to hold a referendum on Scottish independence as a ‘sideshow’.
Dr Whiteford also said she was bemused that the committee’s terms of reference appear to have been lifted from the Secretary of State for Scotland’s party conference speech, and expressed concern at the short timescale for interested parties to answer the Committee’s calls for evidence.
Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:
“These inquiries are a sideshow from the real issues affecting Scotland. It is obvious from the terms of reference that this will be a partisan and pejorative inquiry and that those driving it have already decided what its conclusions will be.
“There are already questions over the chairman’s judgement after his ridiculous neo-fascist remarks during a debate on the Scotland Bill. This just shows how Labour is obsessing about the SNP when the committee should be investigating the impact of Tory cuts.
“A referendum in Scotland is clearly a matter for the Scottish Parliament and Government – and the referendum that is happening is the one the SNP pledged in the election campaign, which we said will be held in the second half of this parliament. That is the platform the SNP stood on in May, and which the people of Scotland gave us a resounding mandate to deliver.
"The days of Westminster Committees or Tory and Labour Governments telling the people of Scotland what to do are over.
“Considering the many pressing issues in the areas where the Scottish Affairs Committee could make a useful contribution, it is disappointing they are instead proceeding with a partisan inquiry into something which has nothing to do with them.
“David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both conceded this is a matter for the people of Scotland and the Scottish Parliament but it would seem their backbenchers now want to hijack this issue by political grand standing.”
Commenting on the terms of reference for the second inquiry, which include six questions listed by Scotland Secretary Michael Moore in his conference speech, Dr. Whiteford said:
“It’s absolutely extraordinary that the agenda for the Scottish Affairs Select Committee seems to have been lifted from a LibDem conference speech by Michael Moore! It seems Ian Davidson has been rummaging through Michael Moore’s waste paper basket looking for inspiration?”