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ref date:31 Aug 2001 (WBA)
Scots disenfranchisement coming to ALL Scots

THE SNP last night raised the stakes in the row over the government's proposed cut in the number of MSPs by branding Labour "the wreckers of the Scots Parliament". Pete Wishart, the nationalists' whip at Westminster, challenged Helen Liddell, the Scottish secretary, to publicly withdraw the threatened reduction, which the SNP argues would "sabotage" Holyrood.

Last night he claimed the main driving force behind a cut was "Westminster Labour MPs' pettiness and jealousy at being eclipsed by the Scottish Parliament". The MP for North Tayside went on: "By threatening to cut MSP numbers, which would sabotage Holyrood's committee system, New Labour MPs are the wreckers of the Scots parliament and must be stopped."

In his letter, Mr Wishart told Mrs Liddell: "The SNP are calling on you to make a public statement now that the current Westminster boundary review will not lead to a cut in the number of MSPs, and to accept the principle that the Scottish Parliament itself is best placed to decide how best to represent Scotland."