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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 13:33 GMT
Cameron urges devolution clarity
David Cameron
Mr Cameron was greeted by Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie
The relationship between Westminster and Holyrood needs to be spelled out much more formally, according to UK Tory leader David Cameron.

His call followed a meeting with Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell during a visit to Edinburgh.

Mr Cameron gave an assurance that devolution would be allowed to work freely under a future Tory government.

He also stressed the need to work closely with recently-elected Scottish leader Annabel Goldie.

When he arrived at the Scottish Parliament, Mr Cameron was greeted by Ms Goldie.

Mr Cameron said he was taking a Conservative recovery in Scotland under his leadership "extremely seriously".

'Hard fight'

He said: "We are going to be fighting very hard to make sure that when the next election comes in Scotland we will have an even stronger team in the Scottish Parliament."

BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor said: "To date, David Cameron has sought to shake things up - for example, to undermine the Liberal Democrats or to construct cross bench alliances with Tony Blair.

"But, arguably, at Holyrood he needs to offer reassurance - not least because Conservatism in Scotland is still somewhat fragile after years of retrenchment and the resignation of former leader David McLetchie."

Mr Cameron pledged before his election to try to help party members revive their fortunes in Scotland and added that he would like them to campaign at Holyrood for tax cuts.

Tax powers

Following his short meeting with Mr McConnell, Mr Cameron said it had confirmed that a more formal arrangement needed to be drawn up between London and Edinburgh, ahead of the possibility that the Tories might win power at Westminster while Labour retained its position in the Scottish Executive.

He also made it clear that the Scottish Parliament's power to vary income tax by up to 3p in the pound would continue were he to win power and that Scottish Tories would have the fiscal freedom to cut tax north of the border to below the UK level.

But Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond accused Mr Cameron of trying to "wriggle out" of his party's commitment on the future of the Scottish regiments.

Mr Salmond said: "Today he failed to guarantee Tory support for Scotland's historic regiments and was reduced to a rather weak 'maybe' when asked about restoring the regiments in six months time.

"It seems he lacks the courage to state his position one way or another."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
David Cameron sets out his view on devolution



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