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David Cameron's pledge to Nicola Sturgeon on powers

By Katrine Bussey

David Cameron could implement "sensible suggestions" on more powers for Scotland in the wake of the SNP's landslide in the general election.

The Tory Prime Minister, who secured an unexpected majority at Westminster last week, travelled to Edinburgh for talks with Nicola Sturgeon.

With the discussions taking place just over a week after Scottish nationalists won an unprecedented 56 of the 59 constituencies north of the border, Mr Cameron told the First Minister he would consider proposals from her government to extend the devolved settlement.

The Conservative leader confirmed he would include legislation to implement the recommendations of the cross-party Smith Commission on more powers for Scotland in the forthcoming Queen's Speech, saying: "We will deliver the stronger Scottish Parliament, be in no doubt about it."

But after Holyrood's devolution committee said the draft clauses that have already been drawn up did not live up to either "the spirit or the substance'' of the Smith Agreement, the Prime Minister did not rule out further changes.

Mr Cameron said: "We're going to look again at welfare and make sure the clauses reflect what that agreement was."

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon said two issues of significance had been agreed at the talks.

She said: "Firstly, there was a commitment from the Prime Minister that the legislation that they will shortly introduce to the Westminster parliament to implement the proposals of the Smith Commission will implement those proposals in full.

"Secondly, I have said we will put forward proposals for devolution further than the Smith Commission proposals. The Prime Minister has said they would consider those proposals."

"I am not going to put words in his mouth and say he has agreed any specific proposals, but there is an agreement to look at that and there will be a meeting with the Deputy First Minister and the Secretary of State for Scotland to take that discussion forward."

Belfast Telegraph


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