Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 29 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.

Politics

Devolution: The Scottish Government and SNP MPs at Westminster have dropped plans to call for the devolution of abortion laws in any revision to the Scotland Bill currently going through parliament, instead focusing on gaining powers over welfare and the minimum wage. Meanwhile, the First Minister insisted that the Conservative Government’s current proposals ‘fall short in every way’. However, senior legal experts from the Law Society of Scotland have dismissed SNP complaints, saying the Prime Minister has lived up to an all-party deal. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 8, The Scottish Sun page 2, Daily Record page 14, Daily Express page 2, The National page 2, The Times page 5, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Scottish Daily Mail page 8, The Press and Journal page 12, The Courier page 21)

Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman (page 27) has commented that the Smith Commission’s ‘deeply flawed’ settlement will require clever thinking from the SNP.

Andrew Tickell in The National (page 2) has questioned whether the Scotland Bill will be able to ‘save the Union’.

Trident: The defence secretary, Michael Fallon MP, has dispelled fears over Trident after a recent whistleblower’s revelations suggested that the system was unsafe. Alex Salmond also warned government at Westminster that renewal of the nuclear deterrent scheme would ‘not be tolerated’ by Scotland, signalling its renewal as the ‘material change’ which could trigger a second independence referendum. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 1, Daily Record page 28, The National page 4, Financial Times page 4, The Scottish Daily Mail page 18, The Press and Journal page 14, The Courier page 23)

EU reform: Rhetoric from the Conservatives over reform of the European Union before an anticipated referendum on the UK’s membership in 2017 has been stepped up as David Cameron begins a tour speaking to European leaders. (Financial Times page 2)

SNP: Alan Cochrane, writing for The Daily Telegraph (page 8), has commented on the SNP at Holyrood and Westminster.

Martin Kettle in The Guardian (page 33) has commented that in order to be an effective opposition at Westminster, the SNP need to move beyond merely ‘provoking’ the Government.

MP voting rights: The Conservatives are to move forward with plans to restrict the voting rights of Scottish MPs at Westminster as part of the government’s plans for English Votes for English Laws. The Commons Leader, Chris Grayling, announced that the move would be pursued by changing Commons rules, rather than by a parliamentary vote. (The Herald page 6)

Alistair Carmichael: The Lib Dem MP and former Secretary of State for Scotland has been hit by new calls for him to step down from his position as an Elder within the Church of Scotland, following revelations that he sanctioned a document smearing Nicola Sturgeon during the General Election. (The Herald page 2, The Scotsman page 7, The Daily Telegraph page 9, The Scottish Daily Mail page 8, The Press and Journal page 13)

Presiding Officer: Tricia Marwick MSP is to step down from her role as Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 4, Daily Record page 14, The Times page 15, The Daily Telegraph page 9, The Press and Journal page 13, The Courier page 23

Scottish Labour: Gerry Braiden in The Herald (page 13) has commented on Scottish Labour’s electoral prospects for the 2016 Holyrood election.

Kenny Farquharson has suggested in The Times (page 28) that American-style primaries could be an opportunity for Scottish Labour to reconnect with voters, as part of any reform of its leadership elections.

UK Labour leadership: In a bid to attract support from business and improve his leadership election chances, Andy Burnham is set to announce that Labour did borrow too much during the credit crisis. (The Scottish Sun page 2, Financial Times page 2, The Times page 13, The Guardian page 9)

Football sectarianism: The Independent Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism has published a report calling for the Scottish Government to sanction football authorities and clubs who fail to curb sectarian behaviour of their fans at football matches. (The Herald page 1)

Education

Exam marking: Kezia Dugdale MSP, acting leader of Scottish Labour, has called on the First Minister to make a ‘divine intervention’ in the ‘unfair and unjust’ exam appeals system, after more than 13,000 students signed a petition urging the Scottish Qualifications Authority to take into account the difficulty of particular exams when marking. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 8, Daily Record page 15, Daily Express page 4, The Scottish Daily Mail page 20, The Press and Journal page 26, The Courier page 22)

St Andrews: Professor Louise Richardson is to step down as the head of the University of St Andrews in order to take up the role of Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, as the first female in the position. Whilst announcing the move, she criticised the amount of regulatory bureaucracy imposed by the Scottish Government on Scottish universities. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 3, The Times page 16, The Scottish Daily Mail page 26, The Guardian page 13, The Courier page 11)

Teachers: A survey by the Educational Institute of Scotland has revealed that teachers in Scotland are working an average of 11 hours more than their contractual 35-hour week, leading to fears over productivity and mental health of teaching professionals. (The Herald page 4)

College deal: A groundbreaking agreement between Strathclyde University and three Glasgow colleges has been made, which will allow students on vocational courses to participate in advanced courses at university-level in a move to widen student access. (The Herald page 10)

Overseas students: New figures show that international students studying in Scotland contribute an estimated £312 million to the Scottish economy each year. (The Scotsman page 4, The Courier page 19)

Childcare: The First Minister has come under fire from opposition leaders at Holyrood over the barriers faced by parents in securing their free-state childcare entitlement. (The Scotsman page 5)

Health

Shona Robinson: Andrew McKie in The Herald (page 16) has criticised Scottish Health Minister Shona Robinson’s failure to deliver on promises over the NHS in Scotland.

Justice

Sex abuse inquiries: the Scottish Government has announced a wide-ranging inquiry into historic sex abuse cases, which is to be led by a senior QC Susan O’Brien. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 17, The Press and Journal page 18)

Recognition software: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to intervene in probing Police Scotland after it was revealed the force was using controversial face recognition software. (The Herald page 5)

Local Government

Edinburgh Trams: Edinburgh Council will vote next month on proposals to extend the city’s tramline as far as Newhaven, after figures have shown that the project carried nearly 5 million people in its first year, beating expectations. (The Scotsman page 8)