“Labour’s Chisholm rejects Calman proposals” – The Herald


Malcolm Chisholm, the MSP for Edinburgh North and Leith, warned that Scottish Labour was “currently caught on the Calman hook and needs to get off it fast if we are to create a parliament with meaningful financial powers”.

He is the first serving Labour MSP to openly reject the Calman proposals and his comments mirror views expressed at the weekend by former First Minister Henry McLeish.

The SNP, which believes Calman falls far short of what is required, urged Labour voters who want more powers for the Scottish Parliament to support Mr Chisholm’s call.

Writing on the Labour Hame website, Mr Chisholm said: “I believe that Devo Max in some form is the right position for the good governance of Scotland and the best way of ensuring that Scottish priorities are to the fore in all domestic policy areas.

“Those who are not convinced of that should perhaps reflect that nailing our colours to Calman and the Scotland Bill will boost the independence vote in the forthcoming referendum, as evidenced a few weeks ago when two well-known Labour figures told me they would vote for independence if the alternative was Calman.”

Mr Chisholm, a former minister at both Holyrood and Westminster, warned there were many voters “genuinely unsure” about what Labour stands for.

Mr Chisholm said Labour had to look not just at the devolution of all taxes and revenues to Scotland but also intermediate positions such as the Devolution Plus option advocated by lobby group Reform Scotland.

Stewart Maxwell, an SNP member of the Scotland Bill Committee, said: “Malcolm Chisholm is spot on that the Calman powers are a poor deal that does not deliver the real improvements Scotland needs. It is no surprise some Labour members would rather see independence than be caught in the Tories’ tax trap..”

A Labour spokesman said: “Malcolm Chisholm’s comments reflect the wide-ranging debate going on in the Scottish Labour party at the moment.”