By Martin Kelly
 
Plans by Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont for full control over income tax to be devolved to the Scottish parliament appear to lie in tatters today after reports claimed her UK leader Ed Miliband is set to distance himself from the proposals.
 
According to the Sunday Times, the plans are expected to be shelved after a backlash emerged from senior figures in the Labour party – including Mr Milband.

The newspaper reports that concerns have been raised that Ms Lamont’s controversial policy will 'bounce' her party into a position that could see it with less room for manoeuvre over spending and also lead to a cut in the number of Scottish Labour MPs at Westminster.

"It’s dead in the water," one senior Labour source told the Sunday Times.  The source added: "If it was just about devolving road tax people might have lived with it, but handing over control of income tax is pretty fundamental."

Johann Lamont’s calls for income tax to be devolved in full followed a report compiled by a commission she herself set up which looked at further devolution.  In her keynote address to the Scottish Labour conference in Inverness on Saturday, she defended the report, calling it "a good piece of work".

The Scottish Labour leader added: "What it is, is the starting point of where we agree how devolution is to be developed."

However, pressed this week on what the proposals would mean for ordinary Scots, Ms Lamont’s deputy, Labour MP Anas Sarwar, struggled to explain how the policy would offer benefits.

SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell, who sits on Holyrood’s referendum bill committee, described the situation as "a serious problem for Johann Lamont’s leadership".

He added: "After this backlash from Westminster Labour MPs, no one is going to believe that more powers for Scotland would follow a No vote."

Annabelle Ewing MSP, who sits on the Referendum Bill Committee, said that this came as a huge blow to Labour in Scotland - and undermined the ‘more powers’ line that the anti-independence parties are desperate to peddle to try to get a No vote.

She said: "This is a serious problem for Johann Lamont's leadership, which also undermines the credibility of the No campaign's key narrative about more devolved powers.  After this backlash from Westminster Labour MPs and the scepticism of Ed Miliband, no one is going to believe that more powers for Scotland would follow a No vote.  The case that only with a Yes vote can Scotland achieve the powers we need to build a fair society and strong economy is even clearer as a result of Labour's infighting."

The Scottish Labour leader must rely on Westminster based Labour MPs to support the plan in order to pass the necessary legislation to enable further devolution, but Labour's Westminster contingent have criticised both the proposals and the way that they have been announced.

Labour's UK leader Ed Miliband has refused to publicly endorse the proposals, leading to claims by Ms Lamont's opponents that her plan was "descending into farce."

In a separate row, there has also been claims that the Scottish Labour party refused to distribute an official party press package on the proposals to some newspapers.  Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Sunday Post reporter Campbell Gunn claimed that the packs were released to only four newspapers - the Daily Record, the Herald, the Scotsman and the Times, leading to disquiet amongst some media hacks.

Comments  

 
# Davy 2013-04-21 10:05
And yet another wheel falls off the "scottish" labour wagon.
 
 
# RTP 2013-04-21 10:12
"What we are saying" "What I am saying"
Has anyone else noticed these quotes that Lab are using,I have not counted them but it seems there answer to everything instead of giving a straight answer.
As time gets on it seems that the Union BT crowd seem to be falling over themselves to offer more to Scotland "Jam Tomorrow" are the readers of these four papers being brainwashed I wonder.
 
 
# maisiedotts 2013-04-21 10:25
I see Anas Sarwar is to attack Alex Salmond in his speech today bbc.co.uk/.../... :D

I look forward to the backlash from Labour supporters who are sick to death of Labour's obsession with AS/the SNP and total lack of Labour policies! See the cracking piece by Mary Lockhart in the SoS today scotsman.com/.../...
 
 
# clootie 2013-04-21 11:15
Maisiedotts

Thanks for the link.
What a letter - I admire someone who holding such strongly held convictions is prepared to apply logic in appraising Independence.
I think more and more Scots are coming to realise that we share much more than devides us. The values expressed could have been written by people I know in the SNP, the Labour Party, The Greens or Scottish Socialists (probably a few LibDems but I don't know any).
They one place you will not find it, (apart from the Tories), is among officials of the Labour Party.
The values remain but they are no longer represented by the party founded to promote them.
Tories - the individual comes first.
Labour - the party comes first
It would be nice if the people came first.
 
 
# call me dave 2013-04-21 12:09
Labour MP Anas Sarwar, struggled to explain how the policy would offer benefits.
That's putting a kindly interpretation on it. What a car crash!

What a pair they make, Lamont and Sarwar, is this their best team? Surely not.

No wonder folk anxious to see a better Scotland are baulking at the thought of the future and are slowly turning towards voting YES in 2014. Re: Mary lochart's letter in the Scotsman (thanks for the link).
The polls are still showing NO in the front but I believe it is a much narrower margin that many pundits are saying.

Ed has already torpedoed Lamont's income tax proposal / bribe / consultative idea.
If they wanted a second question a few months ago why did they not come out and say so?

They couldn't even organise tea and scones at their conference for the delegates and press I am told.
Heaven help us if they ever get near the levers of power again.
 
 
# daveniz 2013-04-21 10:32
the cats out of the bag!!!! this is proof if proofs needed we would get nothing if we vote no!! the jam tomorrow promise is falling flat on its face this needs to be exposed because what it fundamentally says is they won't give us any powers in fear they will lose MPs in the westminister trough putting themselves before the people of Scotland! not even giving up income tax how can they be trusted to give anymore also it clearly says labour in London call the shots and "Scottish" labour dont have a real say on anything! I like to thank johann Lamont for promising something and getting nothing wow wait sounds familiar to another speech from Lamont!
 
 
# Barbazenzero 2013-04-21 11:02
The commission's report itself doesn't seem to be available on Scotlandshire Labour's unfriendly website, but it's still tucked away on the BBC site - news.bbc.co.uk/.../...

Looks like it's destined to become a historical curiosity, along with the 3 MP members of the august commission that wrote it: Curran, McClymont & Sarwar.
 
 
# maisiedotts 2013-04-21 13:33
Darling warns the UK party to hold their fire on spending plans. bbc.co.uk/.../...

S'funny how he and Blair have been dishing out advice lately when neither of them have a position within the shadow cabinet. However one thing is clear from this - Labour, whether the Scottish branch or UK wide, has no plans for after Indy in Scotland it's face is fully turned towards continuation of the Westminster hegemony.
 
 
# RTP 2013-04-21 13:54
Anas Sarwar
Just listened to him on the Politics Show,I have never shouted at the TV before but I just have and Kerr just let him go attack the SNP and AS, please come back Isobel Fraser.
 
 
# mountaincadre 2013-04-21 14:10
Quoting RTP:
Anas Sarwar
Just listened to him on the Politics Show,I have never shouted at the TV before but I just have and Kerr just let him go attack the SNP and AS, please come back Isobel Fraser.

She is of independant mind so don't expect to see her anytime soon, as for Mr Sarwar, well just listening to him do his tony blair impersonation always puts a snile on my face, note to Anwar= no one likes T Blair.
 
 
# K Mackay 2013-04-21 14:18
That interview was actually painful to watch. Sarwar couldn't even give a proper reason as to why this proposal would benefit the people of Scotland, the interviewer (can't remember his name) didn't even get onto whether London Labour would allow their proposals or not.

For all that I hate the way Labour talks down to us and does nothing but lash out at the only decent government I've seen in my lifetime, that was like watching a puppy getting stepped on.
 
 
# Viking Girl 2013-04-21 15:22
RTP. the quotes I'm fed up hearing are the ones 'warning' of the 'dangers' of 'separation,' and the widespread one among the No camp about 'Scotland sleepwalking to independence.'
As for Jam Tomorrow, don't forget Alex Douglas Home's promises after the 1979 referendum, which Thatcher never fulfilled. It's also perfectly clear that the levers of Labour power are embedded in the Westminster village. Johann Lamont is trying to 'Scottify' Labour in an attempt to claw back the votes they've lost here. It seems her lords and masters in Westminster don't agree with her about how to do it.
 
 
# RTP 2013-04-21 15:56
Quoting Viking Girl:
RTP. the quotes I'm fed up hearing are the ones 'warning' of the 'dangers' of 'separation,' and the widespread one among the No camp about 'Scotland sleepwalking to independence.'
As for Jam Tomorrow, don't forget Alex Douglas Home's promises after the 1979 referendum, which Thatcher never fulfilled. It's also perfectly clear that the levers of Labour power are embedded in the Westminster village. Johann Lamont is trying to 'Scottify' Labour in an attempt to claw back the votes they've lost here. It seems her lords and masters in Westminster don't agree with her about how to do it.

Totally agree with all you say I am old enough to remember all the promises we were given which came to nothing.
 
 
# Hillside 2013-04-21 16:37
I seem to remember a 'taking stock' exercise by one John Major which BEFORE the 1992 general election 'did not rule out' some form of devolved power for Scotland and was widely reported as to mean that more powers were likely. AFTER winning the election he (surprise surprise) ruled out any devolved powers.
 
 
# Coinneach 2013-04-21 16:20
Anybody catch Milliband in his speech on Friday refer to Lamont as the next FM of the UK, and him as the PM of same.
And Andrew Kerr "interviewing" Sarwar at the Conference on Saturday. What a joke, ask a question and not say a word as Sarwar gives a spiel on whatever crossed his mind.
Interview, my bahoohie.
 
 
# ramstam 2013-04-21 16:27
I didnae see all of the "Scottish" Labour conference so I maybe missed the words "remember delegates the real cause is London rule and Ed miliband as PM"
If working class Labour voters have to suffer if the UK electorate choose another Tory government then Lamont/Sarwar will still be on a cushy number leaving the disabled/poor/ unemployed and sick to pay the ultimate price for what looks an increasingly undemocratic relationship between Scotland and the UK. Voting YES? of course, but when Lamont calls for honesty from politicians dont expect her to start by confessing she thinks London rule is the first priority for "all of us" Nae Chance!
 
 
# James01 2013-04-21 17:58
I notice today there are three negative news headlines directed at the SNP on BBC Scotland's homepage. This is despite Labour's shambles over their tax proposals and dodgy donations to the NO campaign. Further evidence if it were needed that the BBC promotes stories that may be harmful to the YES campaign and buries stories that may be harmful to the NO campaign.
 
 
# ButeHouse 2013-04-21 19:11
Dearie me, neither the NO Campaign nor Labour are having a very good time of it these days.

But their biggest problem is not the Taylor donation or the announcement of the wild idea of Scotland having control of its taxation......great idea as it in fact is.

No, their biggest problem is the new BBC Radio Scotland interviewer David Miller. He is an absolute terror and clearly he hasn't read the official BBC script which says: Hammer the SNP but take it easy on the unionists - as their non case is more difficult to sell.

I almost felt sorry for Lamont yesterday but I'm looking forward immensely to Murphy and or Sarwar being offered as unionist sacrificial lambs.

SoS should run a poll along the lines of: Who's the most slippery MURPHY or SARWAR?

That's a tough one, much easier to just

VOTE YES NEXT YEAR
 
 
# call me dave 2013-04-21 21:32
I missed the GMS interview with Lamont on the 19th April.

Mr Millar,the interviewer, you were wonderful! More please.
For those who missed it enjoy! I did.

bbc.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# snowthistle 2013-04-21 22:31
I would love to see Mr Millar do more interviewing both Better Together reps and Yes Scotland reps
 
 
# Rafiki 2013-04-21 22:18
I thought Sarwar talked very quickly on the Sunday Politics show, always a good tactic when you are saying something unconvincing. Keep talking and silence the "questioner", and deny time for your opponent.
 
 
# gus1940 2013-04-22 08:19
2 questions for BBC Scotland to answer:-

1) Why has Izzy Fraser who is the only unbiased BBC Scotland journalist, apart from the new boy Miller, been virtually disappeared since Ian Davidson made a complete idiot of himself under her questioning?

2)What has happened to the series of 'Big Debate' programs which started last year?
As I recall 3 such programs were broadcast then - nothing. I don't suppose the termination of the series has anything to do with the fact that The BT lot were decisely thrashed and discredited on each occasion - most noticeably when Lord Wallace of Tankerness totally lost it and self destructed in the face of the arguments put forward by Nicola Sturgeon and Lesley Riddoch - what a joy it was to watch that.
 
 
# call me dave 2013-04-22 12:44
Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty warned workers will not be bounced into voting No just because the party leadership is opposed.

He fired a shot across the bows of Scots Labour leader Johann Lamont by urging her to provide “positive reasons” why people should vote to stay in Britain.

Speaking at the Labour party conference in Inverness, Rafferty said the decision should be based on how independence would affect issues like public services, the tax system and welfare benefits.

dailyrecord.co.uk/.../...
------------------------------
This is another straw in the wind similar to Mary Lockhart ( labour Co-op) who is in the Scottish Daily Mail saying she's voting YES.

Never knew that Lamont was one of her MSP's being sponsored by Co-op.

I stopped buying stuff from the co-op after I found out how much money they gave to the Labour Party.
 

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