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Cameron guarantees EU referendum; pledges tax powers for Scotland

by: Dan Jones
  • 08/05/2015
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Giving his victory speech outside 10 Downing Street after the Conservatives secured a surprise majority in yesterday’s general election, the Prime Minister said the party will push forward with commitments on the EU, devolution, and regional reforms in England.

Cameron said he remains unwavering in his intention to hold an EU referendum by the end of 2017, which he had pledged in the event the Conservatives won a majority.

The government’s plans, he said, include “creating millions more jobs that give people the chance of a better future and yes, we will deliver that in-out referendum on our future in Europe.”

Alluding to the Scottish Nationalist Party’s comprehensive victory north of the border, Cameron said he will strive to keep the UK together by fulfilling promises given in the aftermath of last September’s referendum on Scottish independence.

“I have always believed in governing with respect. That is why, in the last parliament, we devolved power to Scotland and Wales and gave the people of Scotland a referendum on whether to stay inside the United Kingdom.

“In this parliament, I will stay true to my word and implement as fast as I can the devolution that all parties agreed for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.”

The Prime Minister hinted the quid pro quo of this agreement, which he said would give Scotland “the world’s strongest devolved government”, could involve a reform of the way in which the UK-wide parliament votes on English laws.

Plans drawn up by House of Commons leader William Hague earlier this year would see English MPs given a veto over UK parliament legislation that only applies to England.

Cameron said today: “In Scotland, our plans are to create the strongest devolved government anywhere in the world, with important powers over taxation, and no constitutional settlement would be complete if it did not offer, also, fairness to England.”

The PM also spoke of rebalancing the UK economy along regional lines, referencing the Tories’ commitments to building an economic “powerhouse” in the north of England.

“As we conduct this vital work, we must ensure that we bring our country together. As I said in the small hours of this morning, we will govern as a party of one nation, one United Kingdom. That means ensuring this recovery reaches all parts of our country from north to south, from east to west,” he said.

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