Nicola Sturgeon MSP

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Nicola Sturgeon MSP

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  • Member for: Glasgow Southside
  • Region: Glasgow
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Nicola is a member of the following Committees:

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Parliamentary Activities

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Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities (Nicola Sturgeon)

It is now nearly six weeks since the referendum and the sense that our country has changed—changed for the better and changed for good—grows ever stronger with every day that passes.

Expectations have changed. The people of Scotland have been promised substantial additional powers for this Parliament and want those promises to be delivered in full.

The state of our democracy has changed. The turnout in the referendum and the extraordinary level of engagement during the campaign have set new standards in participative democracy, which I think that all of us on all sides of the chamber welcome.

Our outlook has changed. We have emerged from the referendum as a more self-confident and more self-aware nation that is ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Of course, there has been some change for political parties as well—for the Scottish National Party and the Greens, thousands of new members and, for the SNP, new leadership; for Labour, let us just say that they live in interesting times. There has been change for everybody—positive, vibrant change that is welcome not just across the Parliament but across our country.

It will come as no surprise to anybody in the chamber to hear me say that I believe as passionately today as I did before the referendum that Scotland should be—and will be in the future—an independent country. However, I also accept unreservedly that independence was not the choice of the Scottish people on 18 September. That is democracy and I accept that.

I also accept—this is an important point for me to state on the record—that independence will not be the outcome of the process that Lord Smith is leading. Scotland will become independent only when a majority of the people of this country vote for that in a referendum. I believe that that will happen, but when it happens is a matter for people in this country.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Nicola Sturgeon

I always mean what I say, as I am sure that Murdo Fraser knows. All of us would do well to learn from the process of the referendum. I say not in some kind of party-political way but sincerely that one thing that all of us, whatever side we were on, should have taken from the referendum campaign is that the people of Scotland are in charge. It is not for politicians on either side of the debate to dictate the destination of the debate. Whether and when Scotland becomes an independent country will be determined by the people of this country. That is a principle that all of us should be able to agree on.

I accept—I have accepted it before and will do so again—that the Smith commission will not result in independence, but it offers an enormous opportunity for all of us to rethink the future governance of our country. As I have said previously, we will work in good faith with Lord Smith and all the parties involved. John Swinney and Linda Fabiani are representing the SNP on the commission. They will do so constructively and they will seek to do so in the best interests of the people of Scotland. I call on all representatives on the commission to do the same and I would expect all of them to do so.

Of course it would not be appropriate for any of us during this debate to prejudge or constrain the outcome of the Smith commission process in any way. All of us must respect Lord Smith’s work and allow the discussions to take place. However, I will today set out the case for the ambitious proposals that the Scottish Government published on 10 October.

The first point to make is that in this process we do not seek powers for their own sake. We propose an ambitious approach that would give the Parliament the tools that it needs to tackle the issues that face us in Scotland: powers that will help us as the parliamentarians of our country to make Scotland a more prosperous country, with job creation as a priority—on that note, I welcome warmly the input and intervention of some of our major airports this morning in calling for the devolution of air passenger duty; powers that will enable us as parliamentarians to do as much as we can to make our country a fairer society so that everyone, no matter what their circumstances, has equal access to opportunities and a fair chance in life; and powers that will give Scotland a clearer and stronger voice on devolved issues on the world stage, so that we can best represent our interests abroad and strengthen our international relationships. I hope that all of us can unite around those principles, if not necessarily behind the package of powers that will enable us to put them into practice.

That is why we are putting forward a coherent sweep of proposals that, taken together, will transform the Parliament’s ability to make real and lasting improvements—in short, to transform the Parliament’s ability to serve the people we are elected to serve.

Our approach to the process and our proposals are undermined—underpinned, rather—by four interconnected objectives. I hope that that will be my last Freudian slip of the debate. First, the outcome of the process must meet the expectations of the Scottish people. I make no apology for repeating that point. There is a powerful majority for change in this country. The 45 per cent who voted yes and the significant number of people who voted no on the promise of more powers—the promise of the vow—represent a majority for change.

The Westminster parties’ rhetoric during the campaign of home rule, devo max and near federalism must now follow through into a commitment to deliver substantial additional powers for the Parliament. At least one poll since the referendum has shown 66 per cent support for devo max, defined as all powers short of defence and foreign affairs. That is where public opinion is. If that public opinion is not met by what the Westminster parties are now prepared to sign up to, that will be unforgivable. The people of Scotland will not be prepared to forgive that and that should be in the minds of all of us.

Secondly, the agreed outcome must significantly enhance the democratic and financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament and Government to the people we serve. It is not credible for the Parliament to raise only a fraction of the expenditure that it controls, so any settlement must bring into better alignment its revenue and expenditure powers. Our proposal is for full fiscal responsibility so that we can be more directly accountable to the Scottish people, with the tax revenues raised in Scotland being retained here.

Scotland is in a strong fiscal position, which would continue under further devolution. However, getting the powers that fiscal autonomy would deliver is not about standing still; it is about empowering the Parliament to grow our economy better, more quickly and more sustainably, with more jobs at the heart of that.

I turn to democratic accountability. We all know and can be proud of the Parliament’s record in delivering positive change in areas for which we are responsible. The smoking ban, free personal care and free higher education are clear examples of that.

We have provided a level of access to decision making for people and organisations that Westminster, to be frank, has never achieved and can never achieve. We must build on that and bring key decisions in areas such as tax and welfare that affect the daily lives of people in Scotland closer to the people they affect.

The Parliament must also become responsible for its own affairs. We demonstrated collectively—as a Parliament and a people—that we could make a success of the biggest democratic event in this country’s history. Surely we can be trusted with the Parliament’s own structures and procedures and with decisions about elections in Scotland.

Our third principle is that we must transform the Scottish Parliament’s ability to create jobs and growth, tackle inequality and represent our interests in the European Union and the international community. That is the essence of the powers-for-a-purpose argument.

Our proposals are about giving the Scottish Parliament policy levers to deliver change. Any employer or economist will tell us that tax and welfare are key levers to promote jobs and growth. Any charity or advice worker will tell us that they are also at the heart of delivering a fairer society in Scotland. Any fisherman, farmer or export business will tell us that having a voice in the EU is critical to promoting our interests. However, Westminster remains the dominant force in all those areas, often taking decisions that do not reflect Scottish circumstances and are opposed by this Parliament and a majority of Westminster Scottish MPs.

There are many examples of how having powers in those policy areas would significantly enhance the Parliament’s ability to grow our economy and tackle poverty and inequality. For example, control over the minimum wage would allow us to do much more to tackle one of the biggest scandals in Scotland today, which is the level of in-work poverty. By contrast, decisions made at Westminster—such as the introduction of the bedroom tax—run counter to what we are trying to achieve.

Our final principle is that any agreed arrangements must be fair, be equitable and enable the Parliament to receive and reinvest the financial and economic rewards of sound decision making, as well as to have the tools to manage the risks of our new responsibilities. Our proposal is that the Scottish Parliament should raise all its own revenue. That is the most coherent way of achieving such fairness. Of course, the Barnett formula would still be required during the transition.

Any final agreement that falls short of that and requires allocation of resource from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament must also be equitable and, in our view, based on the continuation of the Barnett formula. I am glad that all the parties say that they now agree with that position, although some of the noises that we hear from Westminster colleagues of parties that are represented in this chamber cause significantly more concern.

We have presented a coherent and ambitious package of proposals, but the final word that I want to say concerns the Smith commission process. I said at the start of my speech that I know that the process will not deliver what I think is best for Scotland. I go into it with open eyes and the ability and willingness to compromise to secure the best deal that we can for Scotland.

For me, that means recognising that independence will not be the outcome of the process and that, for example, powers over defence, security and intelligence, the currency, citizenship, foreign affairs and no doubt other issues will remain at Westminster. I also recognise that we will not get everything that we asked for in the proposals that we set out on 10 October. That is what I mean by compromise, pragmatism, realism and a determination to get progress. For others who are represented in the chamber, that must mean recognising that they will need to go further than their currently published proposals in order to show Scotland that they are serious about delivering on the promises that were made in the referendum campaign.

I was encouraged by comments from the Conservatives—that is not something that I often say—that their proposals should be viewed as a floor, not a ceiling. That was welcome, and I hope that others will take a similarly constructive approach. I hope that, this afternoon, we will get some clarity from Labour, whose proposals have been widely described as being the weakest of any party’s. I know that the timing is difficult for Labour, given the coincidence of a leadership election with the Smith process, but I nevertheless hope that we can get some clarity on the areas on which it will go beyond the woefully inadequate proposals that were published before the referendum.

That is the spirit in which we enter the process. I hope that we can come out of it with something that takes this country forward. I also hope that, as Lord Smith has indicated is his intention, the wider public will be meaningfully involved in the process. One of the wonderful things about the referendum was the degree of public engagement. We do not want to go back to the days when people tried to do deals behind closed doors.

The public are in charge of this country’s future. That means that we will always go in the right direction. This party—this Government—is determined to play an active, constructive and positive part in that. I have great pleasure in moving the motion in my name.

I move,

That the Parliament welcomes the submissions made to The Smith Commission by all parties involved; notes the publication of More Powers for the Scottish Parliament: Scottish Government Proposals; recognises the importance of all parties working together constructively to agree substantial further powers for the Parliament that deliver a better deal for the people of Scotland; encourages people and organisations across Scotland to respond to the commission’s call for evidence by 31 October 2014; offers its support to the commission in developing proposals for strengthening the powers of the Parliament, and agrees that the people of Scotland must have the opportunity to inform and influence the implementation of these proposals through public participation and dialogue.

15:07  

Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Nicola Sturgeon

Would Drew Smith describe his party’s proposals as a floor, not a ceiling? In other words, does he recognise that they were minimalist, and is there an appetite on the part of the Labour Party to go further than its submission?



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Nicola Sturgeon

I agree whole-heartedly with the member on the need to ensure that powers, if they are transferred to Scotland, lie at the right level in Scotland, and I endorse many of her comments about local government.

I think that the member is a candidate for the leadership of her party. Will she share with us her thoughts on whether Labour’s submission to the Lord Smith commission goes far enough? Are there areas in which she hopes that it will develop over the next period?



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Nicola Sturgeon

Will the member give way?



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Nicola Sturgeon

On that point, will Sarah Boyack acknowledge, first, the Scottish Government’s £500 million commitment to the Glasgow city deal and, secondly, our growth accelerator model of financing, which is allowing the redevelopment of the St James’s quarter in her own city? Why can she not recognise the things that are already happening? I agree with her on the local government point, but she still has not answered my question: does she think that Labour’s submission to the Smith commission goes far enough?



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Nicola Sturgeon

Is Tavish Scott’s intention in this debate to prove me right? Or is he going to try to prove me wrong?



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Nicola Sturgeon

This intervention is meant in good faith. I am sure that the member also heard me say that I accept not just that independence will not be the outcome of the commission but that we will not get everything that we ask for. We are taking part in the process in good faith; I simply ask everybody else to do likewise.



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities (Nicola Sturgeon)

Control of Scotland’s resources would allow the Scottish Government significant greater flexibility to invest in strategic projects with the aim of boosting economic performance, enhancing opportunity, providing better public services and improving the environment for the people of Scotland.



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Nicola Sturgeon

First, I take the opportunity to welcome Lord Smith’s intention to engage with civic society and the grass-roots groups that played such a key role in the referendum campaign. The importance of doing so is something that John Swinney and I stressed to Lord Smith when we met him last week.

The Scottish Government also intends to engage fully with civic Scotland and grass-roots organisations as proposals for further devolution are developed, and we will be encouraging—and do encourage—all organisations across civic Scotland to play a full role in Lord Smith’s commission. He has set a deadline of the end of this month for groups to submit proposals to him, and I encourage all those with an interest to do so.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11332.2 Jenny Marra: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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NoDefeated

S4M-11332.1 Gavin Brown: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11332 Fergus Ewing: Supported Business—That the Parliament recognises the economic and social va
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YesCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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YesCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Nicola Sturgeon
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11380: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11301: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11116.1: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10777: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10739: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10353.3: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10005: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09844.3: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09740.2: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09281: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
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Question S2F-02139: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2006 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-18574: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/08/2005 Show Full Question >>
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Question S2W-18531: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/08/2005 Show Full Question >>
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