By a Newsnet reporter
Johann Lamont’s leadership of Scottish Labour has been thrust into the spotlight following a rift at the heart of her party over proposals for more powers for Scotland if there is a No vote in the independence referendum.
Within the last couple of days, a series of senior figures within the party have made clear their hostility to proposals put forward by Ms Lamont for financial powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Yesterday Ms Lamont’s former finance spokesman Ken Macintosh attacked plans put forward by his leader for the Scottish Parliament to be given full control over income tax.

He said: “The welfare state, our NHS, provision for pensions and much more depend on a sense of shared national interest.  Going too far in devolving tax or benefits risks fragmenting the system and breaking down that shared sense of our common future.

“For reasons of economic as well as political and social cohesion, we should continue to exercise joint decision-making on income tax.”

Mr Macintosh has now been joined by Labour MP Ian Davidson who has also voiced opposition to his leader’s ambitions.

Speaking to the Daily Record, Davidson said: “I have major reservations about what the impact of transferring tax-raising powers would be.  A substantial number of Scottish MPs have reservations for various reasons.”

The Glasgow Labour MP also warned that any transfer of income tax powers could see the end of the Barnett funding formula, which would cost Scotland billions of pounds.

They follow similar comments from Labour MP Thomas Docherty MP who in January said there wasn’t “any support at Westminster” for Scotland to receive more devolved powers and that the referendum was a choice “between separation and the settled system of devolution.”

The interventions by two senior Labour party figures who lost the leadership and deputy leadership roles for Scottish Labour in 2011 to Ms Lamont and Anas Sarwar respectively, comes as it emerges another Labour politician who sits on Johann Lamont’s Devolution Commission has also appeared to rule out more powers.

Two days ago, Labour councillor Willie Young signalled his own opposition to more powers when he tweeted that a reason to stay in the Union was “what you have today”.

Commenting, Glasgow Kelvin MSP Sandra White said: 
“As well as underlining Labour opposition to more powers for the Scottish Parliament, the hostility of Ian Davidson, Thomas Docherty, Ken Macintosh and Willie Young to financial powers for Scotland represents a clear challenge to Johann Lamont’s leadership. 
“The splits between Labour at Westminster and Holyrood in particular have undermined Johann Lamont’s authority from the beginning, but they clearly go far wider than that.
“The fact that a member of Johann Lamont’s own devolution commission has gone public on social media advocating the status quo shows that it would be foolish to expect anything significant from Labour – especially when Ms Lamont herself referred to reserved issues like the minimum wage and the Bedroom Tax as ‘wee things’.”

Last week the Scottish Labour leader came under fire after appearing to suggest that the Iraq War, nuclear weapons and the Bedroom Tax were only ‘wee things’.  Her comments caused uproar with Scottish Labour party officials later claiming the comment by Ms Lamont had been a slip of the tongue.

Mr White added: “For people across Scotland suffering from the policies of a Tory government we didn’t vote for, the status quo is not an option.  These latest comments from a series of senior Labour figures demonstrate what we already know – that only a Yes vote guarantees more powers for Scotland.”


2014-02-04 20:12

There won’t be more powers after a no vote. Davidson and co. have already said they intend to strip powers away from the parliament. Vote Yes.
2014-02-04 20:17

London based political parties claims that devolution is a process has now been exposed as a complete lie.
Devolution was a one off exercise to fend off Scottish independence and kick the can down the road.
Unfortuately,th  e unionists have run out of road,so nowhere to kick the can to.
All they can do is try to con the Scottish electorate into believing vague promises about insignificant future additional powers for Holyrood (maybe).
The British Labour Scottish MPs have already told Lamont what she can do with devolving income tax or anything else of importance so nothing really new here.
No political will for meaningful further powers being given to Scotland leaves Scots who want control over things like welfare only one option.
2014-02-04 22:26

Vote NO and the English parliament will ensure that Scotland will never again be in the position to push for independence, they will strip us of any powers that might give us some control of our lives. Anyone paying attention to current events, the BBC and newspaper manipulation the lies and scaremongering of Westminster toadies says all you need to know. Vote YES for all our children and grandchildren.
2014-02-04 23:26

Aye – Fully expect Westminster, (post-2015 UK General Election and prior to any EU in/out referendum), to rush through a Private Member’s Bill via a Free Vote to ensure that any future constitutional change of sufficient magnitude, i.e. Scottish independence, must be agreed by all constituent parts of the UK, as per the Spanish constitutional model.

It’s now or never people!

2014-02-04 22:32

Lamont, like Gray before her, is more than adequately doing the job she was selected to do, namely demonstrate to the Scots that if they are the best the once mighty Labour party could find to lead it, how on earth could Scotland run itself? That approach needs people with no sense of pride, or in the case of the last few incumbents, no idea that they’re being used as clueless patsies. Still, they’ll leave with handsome pensions to compensate for their humiliation, and that’s really what counts with them.
2014-02-04 23:08

Do I detect the movement of deck chairs?

What iceberg?
2014-02-05 13:32


2014-02-04 23:25

So the rats now appear to be fighting for survival and deserting the sinking ship? I wonder who will get a lifeboat and who will be left behind?
2014-02-04 23:29

Devolution is a fudge & it always has been. Ask the man in the street to list the powers currently devolved & the powers reserved, & the great majority won’t know. That isn’t accidental. The whole point of devolution to be vague, because in large part it is the illusion of power. The Westminster parties don’t even deny the parliament was structured to make outright majority governments extremely unlikely. Think about that. They WANTED decisions to be frustrated. They WANTED political impasses and ideas perpetually faltering through fractured consensus. It was ALWAYS meant to be a talking shop without the cogs and gears to actually ‘do’ anything.
That all changed when the SNP got it’s majority. That was the unthinkable event that wasn’t supposed to happen. But happen it did, & the SNP secured power they were never meant to have. Here we are on the brink of independence with Westminster flailing on the back foot.

It won’t happen twice.
2014-02-05 23:08

There was also the Edinburgh trams fiasco which was meant to sabotage the SNP’s budget and bring them down.

2014-02-05 00:06

Breeks. Sorry, but I disagree with you. If we dont grasp this opportunity now, we won’t get another chance for a long time… but I have been saying for over 20 years that Scottish Independence is enevitable. It just needs to happen once and eventually and enevitably, it is going to happen. Its just a matter of when. It may well be this year. If not, then it is still an inevitability… it will just take a little longer. You cannot kill an idea… ideas are bullet proof.
2014-02-05 02:15

Picked the following vid up from WoS:

JoLa at a Q&A; meeting being questioned (sic) on ATOS by Sean Clerkin, the man Iain Gray hid from in Subway..…/
2014-02-05 05:15

Following David Milliband’s further distancing the Labour Party from the Trades Union movement, expect to see civil war break out in the Scottish branch. No longer will Lamont have the Union vote to fall back on, as Davidson and his ilk attempt to take over the leadership and deliver a vote of no confidence in the encumbent leader. Makes you wonder how the Unions will react as well. Perhaps now they will see this latest betrayal by the party they helped to found make some of them switch allegiancies to Independence supporting parties. This could prove to be a huge own goal for Labour in the referendum debate.
Jo Bloggs
2014-02-05 05:38

I reckon Johann Lamont’s “wee things” gaff was indeed a slip of the tongue, a Freudian slip of the tongue. It revealed what she really thinks, if that’s not a non sequitur.
2014-02-05 08:33

The one nation labour party, Better together, now it is becoming a joke, I do think people are seeing what the prospects are with a no vote, my own experience is more and more are going over to yes, some that I never ever thought would vote that way,The tide is turning.
H Scott
2014-02-05 09:21

“we should continue to exercise joint decision-making on income tax.”

I think that will be news to Westminster and Whitehall that they share decision-making on income tax with the Scottish Parliament.
call me dave
2014-02-05 09:25

Mr Bell looks at the whole thing in the round today in this article.
2014-02-05 09:50

I see that bitter wee man MacIntyre OBE is in the Herald responding (?) to Iain Bell’s article. I won’t pay the Herald to respond to this self-loathing but I hope someone does!
2014-02-05 23:15

Well that’s Scottish Labour fighting like ferrets in a sack.

It can’t be long till the other 2 arms of Project Fear join in the fray and all 3 will be knocking lumps out of each other as the NO Campaign disintegrates leaving just The BBC and the MSM to campaign against Independence.
call me dave
2014-02-06 11:52

Confirmation, if it were needed, that there is no ‘Scottish’ labour only a wee branch office in Scotland. Johann, bless her, is roundly reminded by her betters today.

Labour supporters in Scotland will see that options for change only lie with a stepping stone hop to YES and then get a proper Scottish labour party at the next elections after independence.

Taxi for Johann in any event.

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