FINDS TIME FOR HOLIDAY BUT NOT ESSENTIAL COMMITTEE MEETING Tory Minister Greg Hands MP has been accused of showing “disrespect” to the Scottish Parliament after cancelling a planned appearance before the Parliament’s Finance Committee on 24 February at which he was due to give evidence on the UK Government’s position on the vital fiscal framework negotiations.
Mr Hands, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was scheduled to appear before the Committee on Wednesday but last Friday wrote to the Convener to cancel. Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP will give evidence to the Committee on Wednesday as planned. Commenting, Committee Convener Kenneth Gibson MSP said: “This shows disrespect to the Scottish Parliament and represents a complete rejection of the ‘respect agenda’ which Prime Minister David Cameron promised when he was elected. “The fact that Mr Hands found time in his schedule to jet off on holiday to France in the middle of negotiations but seemingly can’t be bothered to appear before the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee is completely unacceptable.
“Mr Hands said he would not attend unless an agreement was reached. Given that this was before a weekend of negotiations, one can only wonder if he ever intended to reach agreement. If not, that would be a clear breach of faith. “The Tories need to understand that Scottish Parliament scrutiny isn’t an optional extra; it’s an absolutely essential part of ensuring that any proposed deal on the fiscal framework is up to scratch. “Mr Hands should reverse his position and come before the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee as planned, update the committee on the negotiations and show the respect for our Parliament which the people of Scotland expect.”