Scotland referendum: Time to move forward, says Camerontext_fields
London: It is time to move forward, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday after Scotland voted in a historic referendum to stay with the United Kingdom.
“The people of Scotland have spoken. It is a clear result. They have kept our country of four nations together,” Cameron said at 10, Downing Street, after results showed that 55.42 percent of the Scots voted against the call for independence as against 44.58 who were in favour.
“So now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together, and to move forward.”
A vital part of this, the British Prime Minister said, would be a balanced settlement that was fair to people in Scotland and as also people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.
Stating that he was a passionate believer of the United Kingdom, he said: “But I am also a democrat. And it was right that we respected the SNP’s (Scottish National Party) majority in Holyrood (the heart of the Scottish government in Edinburgh) and gave the Scottish people their right to have their say.”
Cameron also paid tribute to those who voted “Yes” for independence, saying: “We hear you.”
He said that, as promised, in case the referendum went against independence, more powers would be given to Scotland.
“To those in Scotland sceptical of the constitutional promises made, let me say this we have delivered on devolution under this government, and we will do so again in the next parliament,” Cameron said.
“The three pro-union parties have made commitments, clear commitments, on further powers for the Scottish Parliament. We will ensure that they are honoured in full.”
To buttress this, the prime minister said that Lord Smith of Kelvin, the businessman and former head of the BBC, would oversee the process of devolution of powers.
“And I can announce today that Lord Smith of Kelvin -- who so successfully led Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games -- has agreed to oversee the process to take forward the devolution commitments with powers over tax, spending and welfare all agreed by November and draft legislation published by January,” he said.
“Just as the people of Scotland will have more power over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs."
At the same time, he added that “a new and fair settlement for Scotland should be accompanied by a new and fair settlement that applies to all parts of our United Kingdom”.
“So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues and all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland,” Cameron said.
Stating that that he hoped that this would take place on a cross-party basis, he said that he has asked Leader of the House of Commons William Hague to draw up these plans.
“We will set up a cabinet committee right away and proposals will also be ready to the same timetable,” he said.
“I hope the Labour Party and other parties will contribute.”