The “monstrous deceit” of broken promises to devolve far more powers to the Scottish government will only accelerate the country’s exit from the United Kingdom, a Scottish National Party MP warned.
Tommy Sheppard won a standing ovation from the party’s conference in Aberdeen for a rallying cry against what he said was the abject failure to satisfy the expectations of voters.
The SNP is angry that the Scotland Bill, being debated by the UK Parliament, excludes powers on issues such as welfare which were part of a cross-party “pledge” made in the final stages of the independence referendum.
Its attempts to amend the legislation have been frustrated in Westminster.
SNP Commons leader Angus Robertson said polling showed Prime Minister David Cameron and Scotland Secretary David Mundell had their “heads buried in the sand” as polls showed only 8% of Scots thought the Bill met the pledge.
The PM was “so out of touch with reality that he had to ask me for a list” of what was required, he said, yet was trying to “dictate” terms from London.
“The time of prevarication and denial must come to an end,” he said, demanding at least full implementation of the Smith Commission package of devolution drawn up in the immediate aftermath of the rejection of independence.
Mr Sheppard, the MP for Edinburgh East, told delegates the original promise of extensive powers “has been diluted so much it’s lost the taste of home rule completely”.
“It’s a monstrous deceit upon the Scottish people,” he said to loud cheers.
“David Cameron and David Mundell do not just have a conflict with the Scottish National Party, they have a conflict with the people of Scotland.”
In a direct warning to Mr Cameron, he said: “If we get the situation that we’ve had over these long months where we win the arguments and they drag them out of the bars and clubs to come and vote from the shires and the home counties against the people of Scotland they will rue the day.
“Because every time they say no to a reasonable proposal then they are fuelling the support for a ‘yes’ decision the next time and every time they say no to something, they are increasing our ambition to have everything.”
The conference passed a motion saying the Bill “does not meet the spirit or letter of the Smith Commission recommendations” and calling for them to be implemented in full “as a minimum”.
It said the limited power of the Scottish Parliament to change the austerity measures imposed in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget underlined the need to devolve “more powers to create and protect jobs, lift people out of poverty and create a fairer society.”