Reform Scotland News: 26 Feberuary 2013


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



Church crisis: Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Catholic Church in Scotland’s most senior cleric, has resigned with immediate affect following reports that he was being investigated for allegedly behaving inappropriately towards young priests 30 years ago. His resignation had been formally due in three weeks. The Cardinal will not attend the conclave to choose the successor to Pope Benedict leaving the Catholic Church in the UK with no vote in the election. (Herald page 1, Sun page 1, Bill Leckie in the Sun, FT page 2, Express page 4, Bill Heaney in the Express, Record page 1, Scotsman page 1, John Haldane in the Scotsman, Telegraph page 1, Tom Devine in the Telegraph, Times page 1, Mail page 1, Kevin McKenna in the Daily Mail, Guardian page 1, Andrew Brown in the Guardian, Courier page 3, P&J page 12, Ron Ferguson in the P&J)


Lord Rennard: The Liberal Democrats have reportedly called on Scotland Yard to investigate allegations against the party’s former chief executive, Lord Rennard. The peer has strongly denied the allegations of inappropriate behaviour made against him by a series of women. The party has reportedly fallen to an all-time low in the polls following the allegations. (Herald page 1, Sun page 17, FT page 4, Express page 8, Record page 8, Scotsman page 7, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Mail page 2, Guardian page 8, Vera Baird in the Guardian, Courier page 18, P&J page 16)


EU funds: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to ask Scottish MEPs to back calls for a fair share of EU funding during her visit to Brussels today. The regional allocations of the funds have not been released but the Scottish Government estimates Scotland could see a decrease of about one-third. (Herald page 6, Courier page 19, P&J page 14)


AAA rating and independence: Joan McAlpine writing in the Daily Record comments on the UK losing it’s AAA credit rating and the effects the downgrading will have on the ‘No’ campaign against Scottish independence. Peter Jones writing in the Scotsman criticises the suggestion that an independent Scotland would have a better credit rating than the UK.


Independence and the pound:  The UK government is reportedly expected to argue that plans to keep the pound after independence would leave London with effective control of public spending levels in Scotland as it would have to accept a deficit limit dictate by London. The warning will come when the coalition government publishes the latest in a series of paper setting out the impact of independence. (Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 13, Times page 9)


Alex Salmond: Tory MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind has suggested that Alex Salmond is reaching “his sell-by date” and has criticised how the First Minister responds to those who question him during an interview with Holyrood Magazine. Mr Rifkind has criticised Alex Salmond for resorting to personal attacks rather than answering questions. (Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 6, P&J page 15)



AAA rating: Chancellor George Osborne has defended the Government’s economic plans in the wake of the downgrading of the UK’s credit rating. Labour accused Mr Osborne of being in denial over the scale of the UK’s economic problems. (Herald page 2, FT page 3, Telegraph page 2, Times page 15, Ann Treneman in the Times, Mail page 12, Guardian page 2, Courier page 22, P&J page 17)



Forensics: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has revealed Scotland’s new police force may share its forensics services with both sides of the Irish border. (Herald page 3)



Healthcare overhaul: Emergency and urgent healthcare services are to receive a £50million overhaul in a bid to improve treatment times and patient care. The investment reportedly aims to change they way people are admitted to hospital, improve links with other areas of healthcare and help people leave hospital as soon as they are ready. (Herald page 4, Record page 8, Scotsman page 7, Times page 9, Mail page 17)


Compensation: Lawyers have warned that the Scottish Government’s plans for a no-fault compensation system in medical negligence cases could add tens of millions of pounds to NHS costs. (Herald page 8)