Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 27 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.



Sturgeon calls for “double lock”: Nicola Sturgeon has stated that she will push for a “double majority” to be included in the EU referendum, requiring all four nations in the UK to back withdrawal before an exit is possible. (The Scotsman page 1, Scottish Daily Express page 3, The Sun page 2, The Courier page 18)


New powers at Queen’s Speech: Proposals to hand new powers to Holyrood will be unveiled in the new Conservative government’s Queen’s Speech today. SNP MPs have vowed to fight what are seen as increased Conservative cuts and reduced rights in the Queen’s Speech. There will also be a drive to demand that the Scotland Bill goes beyond draft proposals revealed in January. (The National page 2, Financial Times page 2, Scottish Daily Mail page 6, The Scotsman page 4, The Herald page 2, The Times page 7, Scottish Daily Mail page 6 )


Alistair Carmichael: The MP for Orkney and Shetland, Alistair Carmichael, has come under renewed pressure over his role in the leaking of a confidential memo. Police Scotland has said it is making enquiries into the leak. Meanwhile, SNP supporters in the constituency are engaged in a fund raising bid to provide legal support for ousting Mr. Carmichael. Downing Street has failed to clarify whether David Cameron was aware of the Scottish Office plans to leak the memo. Sir Malcolm Bruce has defended Mr. Carmichael stating that “all politicians lie”. (The Scotsman page 5, The Herald page 7, The Times page 2, The National page 8, Scottish Daily Mail page 4, Press and Journal page 14, The Courier page 17)


Jenny Hjul in The Courier claims that the SNP reaction to Alistair Carmichael is hypocritical.


Assisted suicide bill: Faith leaders and lawyers have attacked proposed legislation to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland ahead of a Holyrood debate. Supporters of the bill will gather outside the Scottish Parliament today to urge ministers to back the legislation. (The Scotsman page 7, The Herald page 7, The National page 4)


Tom Martin in the Scottish Daily Express claims that it is to Patrick Harvie’s credit that the Assisted Suicide Bill has been debated in a respectful manner and that whatever the outcome of today’s debate, an ageing population will ensure that the issue is far from over.


Labour leadership: Andrew Whitaker in The Scotsman suggests that despite Ken Macintosh having little chance of defeating Kezia Dugdale in the Scottish Labour leadership elections, his candidacy is important to the party: an unopposed potential leader would invite suggestions of a lack of talent from the SNP.


Sturgeon’s influence:  Nicola Sturgeon admitted yesterday that she faces a “significant challenge” in achieving concessions from a majority Conservative government. (The Telegraph page 1)


Sturgeon and business: Nicola Sturgeon’s claims that a new Left-wing code tying companies to “distinctly Scottish” practices would increase growth has come under fire with business leaders claiming that she does not understand business. (The Telegraph page 4)


SNP living wage:  SNP ministers have faced criticism after it was revealed that only seven MSPs, all back benchers, have become officially accredited living wage employers. This has been revealed as Nicola Sturgeon promotes a drive for employers to sign up for the voluntary scheme. (The Herald page 7, The Daily Record page 8)


SNP in Westminster: Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh in The National says that SNP MPs must use “real life experience and electoral mandate” to end Tory self interest in government.



Record fine: Stewart Ford, an Edinburgh-based former chief executive of collapsed investment firm Keydata Investment Services is facing a record fine of £75 million over the mis-selling of so-called “death bonds”. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 1)


Latin: A move to teach Latin to children in deprived parts of Glasgow has been given the go-ahead. The programme will aim to increase general literacy levels. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 10)


Top universities: The University of St Andrews has been ranked Scotland’s top university. The Guardian league table also ranked the institution 3rd in the UK, behind Cambridge and Oxford. Heriot-Watt University was placed 18th with Edinburgh University at 20th. (The Herald page 10, The Scotsman page 9, The Courier page 21)


Tax for schools: The Scottish Government is being urged to commit to increasing the top rate of tax to 50p in order to fund a boost to educational achievements in the poorest parts of Scotland. (The Times page 2)


Educational standards:  Alex Massie in The Times claims that politicians must have the courage to challenge toe establishment over failing schools as those from the poorest areas are being left behind.



Teen abortions:  Teenage abortions have hit their lowest level in more than 40 years. Official figure show a drop of 332 from a total of 2,298 in 2013. This is the lowest level since 1973. (The Scotsman page 12, The Herald page 8, The Times page 2, Press and Journal page 19, The Courier page 19)


Waiting Times: MSPs have been told to match words with actions after thousands of patients have been facing longer waiting times than those stated in a Scottish Government pledge. The number of people missing out on the 12-week pledge has rocketed by almost 90 per cent. (The Herald page 1)


“Chaotic” hospital:  Health secretary, Shona Robison has said that patients should continue to move into Scotland’s newest hospital, despite concerns about queues of trolleys in the A&E department of the South Glasgow University Hospital. (The Herald page 3)



Facial recognition: Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has called for a “level of perspective” from critics of a controversial database kept by Police Scotland. Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes warned that the system could be used for mass surveillance if it was not properly regulated. (The Scotsman page 15, The Times page 9, The National page 11, Press and Journal page 14)


Prisoner vote: Kenny MacAskill in The National says that while it is right for SNP MPs to oppose Conservative plans to repeal the Human Rights Act, concern for human rights must extend to prisoners who should be given the right to vote.


Police doubt: Police Scotland has expressed doubt over SNP’s flagship proposals, made in 2007, to keep 1,000 extra officers than they inherited that year. Increased workload for the smaller number of Superintendents is causing concern. (The Herald page 6, Scottish Daily Mail page 17)


Local Government

Edinburgh winter festivals: Edinburgh’s booming winter festivals are worth £242 million to the city according to research commissioned by promoters Underbelly and Unique Events. Figures show that the value of these festivals has overtaken the city’s famous summer events. (The Scotsman page 9)



HS2: Scotland’s infrastructure secretary Keith Brown has accused UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin of being “unambitious and disrespectful” after Mr. McLoughlin had apparently refused to meet with him in nearly three years. The SNP minister has accused the government of leaking a document stating that extending HS2 into Scotland would not be viable. (The Scotsman page 11)


Ian Bell in The Herald claims that indications HS2 will not be extended into Scotland is an example of the way in which Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are subsidising “union” projects.


Rail disruption: A two month project on the Edinburgh-Glasgow rail line will cause the biggest disruption to Scottish rail travel in decades. Main line commuters will have to switch to buses or slower trains for the duration of the work. (The Scotsman page 15)



Wind farms: A conservation group has urged MPs to protect the scenic beauty of the Highlands by preventing further wind farm developments. (The Scotsman page 8)


Fox hunting: According to animal rights campaigners, nearly half of Scotland’s registered hunting packs may be breaking the law. A loophole allows hunts to flush foxes out so they can be shot by a marksman. However, video footage appears to show full packs of hounds on hunts with no evidence of guns in place. (The Scotsman page 11, The Herald page 8, The Times page 12, The National page 15)