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andrewturner400The Island’s MP, Andrew Turner, has welcomed the news this morning (Friday) that Scotland has voted to remain within the UK but says that a new constitutional settlement is needed.

He says it is unfair for Scotland to continue to receive preferential funding under the Barnett formula when most other areas of the UK, including the Isle of Wight, are struggling to balance the books. He also believes that Parliament must now come to a settled view on how to answer the ‘West Lothian Question’, where Scottish MPs vote on matters such as the NHS, when health in Scotland is run by the Scottish Parliament.

The leaders of all three main parties, David Cameron MP, Ed Miliband MP and Nick Clegg MP, have said that the Barnett formula will continue, and the Scottish Parliament would become permanent and given extensive new powers.

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Mr Turner has this morning said:

“I’m glad of course that the UK will remain intact, but there are very difficult times ahead.  The party leaders have set out their views clearly, but bluntly, such decisions are not theirs to make.  These matters are for Parliament as a whole to settle, and I for one will be vigorously opposing the continuation of the Barnett formula and many of my colleagues agree.  It is simply unfair to continue with this arrangement which allows Scotland to receive Government funding £1,623, or 19%, higher per head than in England

“There are many unanswered questions about the future.  The Scottish Parliament was set up in 1997 under Tony Blair; he didn’t even ask the West Lothian Question – let alone look for an answer, because it would have disadvantaged the Labour Party.  But it is clear, even before new powers are devolved, that Scottish MPs should not vote on issues that don’t affect their constituents and we need a new constitutional settlement that reflects that.  This referendum has finally brought matters to a head, and we must now find a way forward, however hard that will be.”

Mr Turner added that as a member of both the Political and Constitutional Reform and Public Administration Select Committees he expects to be working with other MPs on a cross-party basis to help find a constitutional settlement that is fair for all parts of the UK.

Don’t forget to follow the Island’s news as it happens…

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