Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid has called for an end to what he calls the ‘centralisation policies’ of the SNP in Scotland.
Mr Reid called on the Scottish Government to ensure that devolution of powers does not end at Holyrood - a call which is set to be repeated when he and others attend a summit in Dunoon on October 29 aimed at tackling the causes of population decline in Argyll and Bute.
Speaking at Scottish Questions in the House of Commons, Mr Reid asked: “When the Secretary of State goes to the population summit in Dunoon, will he remind the Scottish Government that devolution should be not just from Westminster to Holyrood, but from Holyrood to local communities in Scotland?
“Will he tell the SNP Government that they should reverse policies such as centralising the police and fire services and closing local courts, which are taking people and jobs away from rural Scotland and into the central belt?”
In reply, Mr Reid’s party colleague Alistair Carmichael, the Secretary of State for Scotland, said: “I am very much looking forward to joining my hon. Friend, leaders of his local council and ministers from the Scottish Government in Dunoon.
“What he says is very much the message that ministers from the Scottish Government will hear. It is a message that they get throughout the Highlands and Islands. Seven years of SNP government in Edinburgh have given Scotland the most centralised system of government in western Europe. That has got to change.”
Speaking after the exchange Mr Reid added: “Argyll and Bute Council’s population in Dunoon on 29 October will provide an opportunity to explain to SNP ministers that the population decline in Argyll and Bute can only be stopped if they reverse their policies of centralising services in the central belt and instead give more jobs to rural parts of Scotland like Argyll and Bute.”