Will David Cameron offer Scotland devo max?

How much influence will the SNP have over the Tories?

Jon Stone@joncstone
Saturday 09 May 2015 14:00

The two big winners from the election were the Conservatives and Nicola Sturgeon's Scottish National Party (SNP). Both parties agree on more devolution for Scotland, but what does this mean?

What is Devo Max?

Devo max is short for ‘devolution max’ . The term has come to mean a transfer of powers from Westminster to Holyrood which would result in the Scottish Government having control over everything except foreign affairs and defence.

Do the Conservatives support Devo Max?

The Conservatives do not support full ‘devo max’. After the independence referendum the Tories said they wanted to transfer more power to Scotland. The package is likely to include powers to vary tax as well as some welfare benefits, air passenger duty, and fracking.

It is likely that any package of measures would include the power to vary income tax as well as some benefits.

Does the Scottish Government want Devo Max?

The SNP, which runs the Scottish Government with a majority in the Scottish Parliament, says it wants full independence for Scotland to exist as a separate country.The party tends to accept further devolution of power, however.

After the Scottish referendum the SNP’s line was that the rejection of independence was a vote for change and more devolution.

Will SNP MPs be able to influence the Conservatives to offer more devolution?

Indirectly, the SNP’s strength means there is a big majority in parliament for the devolution of powers to Scotland, which could act as an encouragement to Conservative devolvers.

Direct influence is unlikely, however. Although the SNP won a lot of seats, the Conservatives have won a majority in parliament and can generally do as they want.

It is conceivable that the SNP could provide support to help the Conservative leadership pass legislation that Tory backbenchers objected to in exchange for greater powers for Scotland. This is also unlikely, however.

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