Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 20 May 2015


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.


Whistleblower held: William McNailly, the Royal Navy submariner who raised concerns about the safety of the Trident nuclear submarines, was arrested on his return to the UK last night and held at a forces base. Mr McNeilly wrote an online report detailing “serious security and safety breaches” at the Trident base. (The Scotsman page 1, The National page 5, The Telegraph page 10, The Times page 2, Scottish Daily Express page 4, Daily Record page 13, The Courier page 20)


Joan McAlpine in the Daily Record claims that William McNailly’s revelation of failings around the Trident nuclear defence system, underlines the inherent danger and the lack of need of a nuclear defence.


Gerry Adams meets Prince Charles: Prince Charles yesterday shook hands with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams during a visit to Ireland. He will visit the site of the IRA assassination that killed his great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten. Gerry Adams becomes the most senior republican to officially meet the Prince following the meeting between Prince Charles and Martin McGuinness, the Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister in 2012. (The Scotsman page 4, The Herald page 5, The National page 3, The Telegraph page 1, The Times page 1, Scottish Daily Express page 5, The Sun page 15, Daily Record page 7, Scottish Daily Mail page 8, The Guardian page 4, Press and Journal page 18, The Courier page 13)


Scottish powers dispute: The new Scottish Secretary David Mundell has refuted claims that the UK government has sold Scotland short and pulled back from the package recommended in the Smith Commission. Mr Mundell claimed that the UK Government’s plans “strikes the perfect balance of a strong Scotland within the security of the wider UK”. (The Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 6, The National page 4, Scottish Daily Mail page 10, Press and Journal page 12, The Courier page 15)


Commons turf war: SNP MPs have continued to defy Westminster convention by sitting on the Opposition front bench in the House of Commons. This was seen as a response to Labour MPs refusing to give up their traditional seats. (The Herald page 1, The Times page 13, The Sun page 2)


EU referendum: The SNP has stated that it will push to amend the EU referendum reform bill after David Cameron has made it clear it will be his top priority in his upcoming Queen’s Speech. Deputy leader Stewart Hosie has stated that the party will push for a double lock: an exit would require all nations of the UK to vote to leave. (The Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 6 )


Labour in Scotland: Andrew Whitaker in The Scotsman suggests that if the Labour Party does not address events in Scotland, it may never regain the ground it has lost.


Jenny Hjul in The Courier says that Jim Murphy became a convenient scapegoat during, and immediately after, the General Election. She suggests that he was an easy target for both nationalists and disgruntled Labour members.


Mhairi Black: The youngest MP in the House of Commons reveals that her last job before toppling Douglas Alexander at the General Election was in a chip shop. (The Herald page 6, The Courier page 15)


SNP women: Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh  in The National claims that there are a “wealth of talented women” amongst SNP’s MPs. She believes that they will not be intimidated by Westminster rules and traditions.


Land Reform: Dr Aileen McLeod, Scottish Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, told sceptical land owners that there is “strong support” amongst the public for land reform. (The National page 10, The Telegraph page 1, The Courier page 36)


Church urges reforms: The Church of Scotland has called for reforms of the tax and mental health systems to tackle the rising numbers of people suffering from benefits sanctions, low wages and dependency on foodbanks. (The Herald page 12, The National page 1)


Kezia Dugdale: Jim Murphy’s deputy will announce in the next few days whether she intends to stand as a candidate for Scottish Labour Leader. (The Telegraph page 6, The Times page 12, Scottish Daily Express page 5, Daily Record page 10, Scottish Daily Mail page 6, The Courier page 14)


House prices: House prices in Scotland have risen at twice the rate of England and Wales over the past year. Average house prices have risen 11.2 per cent in 12 months. (The Scotsman page 16, The Herald page 11, The Telegraph page 10, The Times page 1, Scottish Daily Express page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 2)


Police Scotland: Police are reportedly becoming less angst-ridden over changes to their duties as part of Scotland’s national force. Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson said there was a growing confidence in the new policing arrangements. (The Scotsman page 13, The Herald page 3)

FAI reforms: Scotland’s most senior judge has dismissed fears that appointing specialist sheriffs for fatal accident inquiries would lead to a centralisation of the service. (The Scotsman page 14)

Teaching standards: Scotland’s Education Secretary has challenged teachers to do more to improve the performance of pupils in basic numeracy and literacy skills. Angela Constance said she was “astonished” that some secondary teachers did not view these skills as “vital”. However, these comments have been met with a backlash from unions. (The Herald page 1, The Telegraph page 10, Daily Record page 8)

Deaf and blind support: Specialist teachers who support deaf and blind children in Scotland have reportedly been urged to cover staff absences, leaving children with impairments missing the support they need. Richard Hellewell, chief executive of the charity Royal Blind, described this as a “worrying trend”. (The Herald page 5)



Fracking: At its first discussion of fracking yesterday, the Church of Scotland General Assembly backed the Scottish Government’s moratorium on fracking. Rev. Sally Foster-Fulton stated that the Kirk does not see the process as a long term solution to energy needs. (The Scotsman page 10)

Offshore wind farms: The hearing of harbour seals may be damaged by the laying of concrete foundations for offshore wind farms according to scientists. (The Herald page 8, The Times page 19, Press and Journal page 20)