Election 2015 Scotland

Election 2015: Smith Commission a 'shambles', says Jack McConnell

Jack McConnell
Image caption Lord McConnell called for the Smith Commission to be scrapped

Former Scottish Labour leader Jack McConnell has described the Smith Commission as a "shambles".

Lord McConnell, who was first minister from 2001 to 2007, said the plan for further devolution should now be scrapped and replaced by a constitutional convention.

He also gave qualified support to Jim Murphy, saying he should remain leader of the Scottish Labour party "for now".

But he added that a radical policy overhaul was needed.

In Thursday's election the SNP swept to a landslide victory in Scotland, taking 56 of Scotland's 59 seats, leaving Labour with just one.

Speaking to the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland programme, Lord McConnell urged Prime Minister David Cameron to lead a "proper debate" on the UK's constitutional future.

He said: "The Smith Commission proposals are a shambles. The idea that the response to what happened last Thursday is to plough ahead with what will become a shambles cannot be the solution.

"The prime minister needs to take a pause rather than ploughing ahead and appointing a Scottish secretary, going ahead with Smith Commission proposals that will fall apart in due course and stop talking about 'one nation' as if everybody is the same."

'Disillusionment'

The Labour peer said the UK now needed a constitutional convention that would tackle the "disillusionment with the way the country is governed", adding that feelings ran "deeper than just what happened in Scotland".

Elsewhere, the peer said Mr Murphy should stay in charge of the Scottish Labour party "for the moment" to allow for a "proper discussion of the way ahead".

But he severely criticised the party and its campaign strategy, saying they did not "express a modern vision of Scotland", adding that Scottish Labour now needed "a whole new set of policies".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lord McConnell said Jim Murphy should stay on as leader of Scottish Labour 'for the moment'

Asked by presenter Gordon Brewer whether he wanted Mr Murphy to stay on as leader, Lord McConnell said: "I'd like to see him laying out what he wants to do, and I would like to see a proper debate within the party about that.

"I'd also like him to engage not just with party members, but with voters and ex-voters."

He added that Scottish Labour needed to "rediscover our vision for the future" and noted that the SNP had appealed to "left, right and centre, winning Conservative heartlands and Labour heartlands".

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