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Reform Scotland News: 30 November 2012

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 30 November 2012

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is highlighted and underlined. 

In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News

Politics

Leveson report reaction: There are splits in the UK coalition government following David Cameron’s decision not to follow the legal recommendations from the Leveson report that call for tougher regulation underpinned in legislation. Mr Cameron announced to the House of Commons that he backed tighter regulation of the press, but did not announce support for statutory underpinning. Labour is reported as saying that the PM is still considering legislation, but a Downing Street spokesperson suggested that any drafted Leveson Bill would be done as an exercise to show that it “would not work”. Alex Salmond indicated that he wanted a statutory underpinning of press regulation in Scotland. Speaking on behalf of pressure group Hacked Off and victims, Professor Brian Cathcart said the Leveson Report gave a balanced set of recommendations to protect vulnerable people, yet maintain freedom of speech. However, he voiced disappointment that David Cameron “has not done his job” in his response to the report. Some commentators criticised the Leveson Report for failing to extend the recommendations to the ownership of Internet blogs and websites such as Twitter in their regulatory controls following the recent legal action by Lord McAlpine against false allegations of child abuse. [Scotsman page 1, page 8 and Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman, Herald page 1 , page 6 and Alison Rowat in the Herald, Telegraph page 1, page 7 and page 9 Alan Cochrane and Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph, Sun page 8, Record page 6, Express page 6, FT page 1, Times page 1, Hugo Rifkind and Magnus Linklater in the Times, Guardian page 1 and page 6, Harold Evans in the Guardian, Mail page 1 and page 4, P&J page 12, Courier page 1]

Leveson report and Alex Salmond: There have reportedly been calls for the First Minister not to engage in critical talks over the Leveson Report amid opposition claims that he has been “tainted” by the reports findings. The claims are based upon comments in the report on Mr Salmond’s “striking” readiness to lobby former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and Business Secretary Vince Cable in favour of NewsCorp, owned by Rupert Murdoch, during the time of their acquisition of BSkyB, although his spokesman stated that the Leveson report totally vindicated his position. [Scotsman page 5, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 9, Sun page 1, Times page 13, Mail page 9, P&J page 13]

Constitutional debate:  Murdo Fraser in The Scotsman writes that the last year has strengthened Scotland’s relationships with the UK and support for maintaining the UK in opinion polls.  Despite this, he believes that a “third-way” for the future of Scotland that involves more devolution and making the Scottish Parliament more responsible for raising the money it spends should not be ignored as it offers a long-term, sustainable solution.

143,000 are pro-independence: More than 143,000 people have reportedly signed up in support of the Pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign. [Record page 2, P&J page 11]

MSP criticise Remploy closures: Labour and SNP MSPs have expressed anger at the closing of Remploy sites across the country and the axing of disabled jobs, calling for an immediate investigation. Remploy is a provider of employment services. [Record page 2]

Increases in calls to Shelter: The housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland has said the number of callers using their helpline has increased by almost 4% in the last 3 years with 60 people and families a day, the equivalent of 22,000 calls between 2011-2012, seeking advice last year. [Herald page 7]

Economy

Energy Bill details needed quickly: Energy Secretary Ed Davey has been warned by energy companies to quickly form the details of the Energy Bill to provide investors with confidence and to ensure the £330billion energy investment needed is delivered in the next 20 years. This follows Mr Davey’s announcement that reforms to the bill will produce “once in a generation” opportunities to cut household bills and greenhouse emissions. [Scotsman page 37, Guardian page 28]

Health

MS increases in young: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Scotland’s largest health board, has announced fears over the growing number of young people being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis: with a seven-fold increase in the under-30s believed to be from a lack of vitamin D. [Herald page 1]

NHS whistleblower helpline: Scotland is to launch an NHS whistleblowers’ helpline for staff to report bad practices. The announcement by Alex Salmond and the NHS comes after the BBC aired How Safe Is Your Hospital? revealing 345 secret NHS reports of malpractice. [Herald page 4, Express page 14, Mail page 16, P&J page 19, Courier page 19]

Justice

Lawyers agree to meet McAskill: The Law Society of Scotland has agreed to organise a meeting between the country’s law faculties and Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill. This follows after unanimous support for strike action among defence solicitors after the government announced plans for changes to legal aid. [Herald page 2, Courier page 16]

Transport

ScotRail staff strike: Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union voted in favour of striking following the firing of a ScotRail ticket conductor Scott Lewis. Mr Lewis was fired following “unwanted contact” whilst trying to establish whether a passenger had the correct ticket for the journey. [Scotsman page 17, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Express page 4, Times page 16, Mail page 20, P&J page 16]