Salmond’s devolution shopping list is getting longer
Alex Salmond has expanded his demands for devolution, insisting the reforms must give Scotland "a stronger and clearer voice on the international stage".
The Scottish first minister, who announced in the wake of last Thursday's referendum defeat that he would step down from the job in November, told MSPs gathered at Holyrood they needed to "hold Westminster's feet to the fire" to guarantee the 'pledge' of enhanced devolution.
Question-marks over the timetable outlined by Gordon Brown have already been raised. One aide to Salmond told Politics.co.uk the promise was "written in haste on the back of an envelope".
But Salmond focused his first speech at the Scottish parliament since the 55-45 'No' victory on the end result he wants to be achieved.
"This parliament now has a responsibility to hold Westminster’s feet to the fire to ensure that the pledges are met," Salmond said.
"That's not just a job for the Scottish government – it's one for all parties. In fact, there is a special obligation on the unionist parties. They promised further devolution; it is essential that they deliver."
He warned that Scottish voters were the "true guardians of progress" who would "not brook or tolerate any equivocation or delay", adding: "The referendum debate engaged people in every community of the country. Its final outcome cannot be a last-minute deal between a small group of Westminster politicians."
The SNP leader voiced concerns that David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg could back out of their promise to continue using the Barnett formula, which leaves Scottish people £1,600 better off per capita than the English.
"The Barnett formula is essential – as the unionists' vow acknowledged – until or unless Scotland has control of all of our resources," Salmond said.
"We need absolute clarity that the UK parties will stay true to their promises about Barnett."
He called for the Scottish parliament to be entrenched in legislation and outlined "three key tests" the Scottish government would apply to Westminster's devolution package.
"They should enable us to make Scotland a more prosperous country – in particular, genuine job-creating powers are important," Salmond said.
"They should allow us to build a fairer society. We need to address the deep-lying causes of inequality within Scottish society.
"And they should enable Scotland to have a stronger and clearer voice on the international stage."
Nationalists are concerned that the Labour party, fearful of losing its 40-strong group of Scottish MPs, could yet disagree with the government over the terms of devolution.
Ed Miliband used his conference speech in Manchester this afternoon to underline his determination to avoid a rapid resolution of the issue.
"I'm incredibly proud of our proposals to reverse a century of centralisation… we need bigger reform of our constitution," he said.
"It's got to be led by the people, it can't be led by the politicians. That's why we need a proper constitutional convention."