Scotland politics

Smith Commission receives more than 14,000 submissions

Lord Smith Image copyright PA
Image caption The commission is chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin

The commission set up to discuss further devolution to the Scottish Parliament has received more than 14,000 submissions.

The deadline for members of the public, interest groups and institutions to send their proposals to the Smith Commission closed at 17:00 on Friday.

Provisional numbers showed it had received 14,000 emails and letters from the general public.

And it had received more than 250 submissions from institutions.

The commission, headed by Lord Smith of Kelvin, is currently considering greater autonomy for the Scottish Parliament in the wake of September's "No" vote on Scottish independence.

Lord Smith said: "When I accepted the invitation to lead the commission I was determined to make sure that the public and Scotland's civic institutions would have the chance to have their say.

"I believe we have undertaken a broad ranging programme which has been as extensive as it was possible to achieve in the time available.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The commission has until the end of November to agree its recommendations on new powers for Holyrood

"I have been delighted by the response and want to thank the many individuals and organisations who worked hard to make substantial and thoughtful submissions."

He said the political parties would have the chance to reflect on the submissions before any decisions are made.

Lord Smith added: "They will be given full access to all submissions and we will shortly hold a dedicated session of all-party talks to discuss them."

Trade unions, charities and industry bodies have made submissions and Lord Smith has held a number of meetings around the country to discuss the proposals.

The commission was set up after David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg made a vow in the run-up to the referendum that there would be further substantial devolution if Scotland rejected independence and stayed in the UK.

Draft legislation

But Lord Smith - who recently chaired the organising committee for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games - has stressed it is not solely the three main Westminster parties who will be involved in the negotiations.

The SNP are represented on the Commission by Finance Secretary John Swinney and MSP Linda Fabiani; Labour by Holyrood finance spokesman Iain Gray and Westminster shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont; the Conservatives by former Scottish leader Annabel Goldie and academic Professor Adam Tomkins.

The Liberal Democrats are represented by former Scottish secretary Michael Moore and ex-Scottish leader Tavish Scott; and the Scottish Greens by co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman.

Under the timetable already agreed for reform, an agreement on recommendations for what new powers should be transferred north has to be reached by the end of November, with draft legislation produced by the end of January 2015.

This would then be implemented by whatever party wins next year's general election.

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