Secretary of State tells Falkirk Council Scotland Bill will be law by May

Secretary of State for ScotlandSecretary of State for Scotland David Mundell visited bus builders Alexander Dennis
Secretary of State for ScotlandSecretary of State for Scotland David Mundell visited bus builders Alexander Dennis

Secretary of State David Mundell expects the Scotland Bill to be law before the Holyrood election in May.

And the confident Conservative MP is predicting the Tories under the leadership of Ruth Davidson will be the second major political force in the country after the poll.

Speaking during a flying visit to Falkirk on Tuesday to meet council leader Craig Martin and chief executive Mary Pitcaithly before taking a tour of the Alexander Dennis bus building factory in Camelon, the UK Government Minister claimed: “I am very confident the Conservative Party will perform well next year.

“Ruth is doing a great job as the effective leader of the opposition in Scotland at the moment. That’s not just my opinion, it’s being backed up on the ground. I think there is a great opportunity for us to overtake Labour in Scotland next May.”

Mr Mundell, who is in the middle of a nationwide tour to sit down with the leaders of all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities to discuss details of the Bill, spent nearly an hour with Councillor Martin and Mrs Pitcaithly talking about that and other local issues with a UK Government connection.

He said: “It was a very positive meeting and provided the opportunity to discuss legislation that’s going to have a big impact on a lot of issues and local authorities will have a part to play, but I am confident we will have the Bill on the statute books before the Scottish Government election in May.

“There will be big changes and the people will want to know the facts and figures as we negotiate the fiscal framework, but all sides are moving forward in good faith.”

Councillor Martin said: “It was constructive and gave us the chance to put forward concerns the council has with particular regard to welfare provision and the impact of the Scotland Bill on the financial framework being discussed by the Scottish and UK governments. It is essential Falkirk district does not lose out.”

The final Commons vote on the Bill in November agreed new powers can be used for tax credits, but was followed by a report from the House of Lords Constitution Committee which claimed members were being asked to debate and scrutinise the Bill without the necessary information.

The committee recommended the House should consider delaying the progress of the Bill until more information is available for parliamentary scrutiny.

It called for a new Memorandum of Understanding setting out how both governments will work together to manage areas of shared and concurrent powers and how they will resolve disputes between their administrations.