Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Moore accuses SNP of 'cheek' over Scottish independence

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has accused the Scottish National Party (SNP) of "cheek" over the issue of independence for Scotland.

During questions on 22 February 2012, Mr Moore said it was "incredible" that the Scottish government had failed to set out "the fundamentals" of what independence would entail.

He was responding to a question from the SNP's Stuart Hosie, who brought up the recent meeting between Mr Moore, the prime minister, and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.

Mr Hosie claimed that the prime minister had "failed to spell out" what his offer of so-called "enhanced devolution" would mean.

"Can you tell us what you envisage a package of devolved financial powers might look like - would it include corporation tax, income tax, aggregates levy?" he asked.

But Mr Moore told MPs that it was the SNP who had failed to tell the public what its vision for independence would look like.

"You would think after decades of having this as their main reason for existence they might have some clear ideas on it," the Scottish secretary said.

Mr Hosie accused Mr Moore of failing to answer his question, claiming it was because the government had "no detail" about its proposals.

Mr Moore replied: "Honestly, it's a cheek to talk about a lack of detail when they cannot spell out what the currency situation would be, what the national debt might look like, how they would deal with pensions or financial regulation."

Later in the session, Mr Moore confirmed the government was seeking to "tidy up" its role and powers over British territories in Antarctica, after it emerged that powers were passed to Scotland in 1998.

Conservative MP Amber Rudd suggested the last government "forgot" to resolve the issue when it devolved powers to the Scottish Parliament in the Scotland Act 1998.

Mr Moore told MPs the Scotland Bill would pass new powers and clarify the existing settlement. The Scottish government has previously agreed the UK government can retain control over the icecap territories.


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