David Cameron meeting with Nicola Sturgeon

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(London Post)   The Prime Minister and First Minister agreed to strengthen co-operation on security and intelligence matters and discussed Scotland’s fiscal framework. Earlier today, the Prime Minister met with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, at 10 Downing Street.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister and First Minister agreed on ways to strengthen co-operation between the Scottish government and the UK government on security and intelligence matters. This will result in even closer liaison, helping to ensure that people in Scotland and the rest of the UK are protected from the threat of Daesh-inspired terrorism.

Under the changes agreed today, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre in London will increase the number of reports it shares with the Scottish government, and the First Minister will receive security briefings on a more frequent basis.

The Prime Minister reiterated the importance of the Investigatory Powers Bill in order to ensure that the police and intelligence agencies have the capabilities to better protect us from the terrorist threat, and called upon the First Minister for her party’s support.

Speaking after the meeting, Scotland Office Minister, Lord Dunlop, said:

The Prime Minister and the First Minister enjoyed a constructive meeting and much progress was made on security and intelligence co-operation, particularly around the sharing of information to help counter the terrorist threat across the country. The UK government is absolutely committed to working together with the governments of our devolved nations on security and counter-terrorism matters, and today’s discussions reflected that.

Put simply, every citizen in every part of the United Kingdom must have the same level of safety and security.

What we need to see now is wide support for our legislative efforts to allow the police and security services to keep the UK safe in the 21st century. The Investigatory Powers Bill is a vital piece of legislation if we are to prevent Daesh-inspired terrorists from having safe spaces in which to communicate in our country.

I hope that when the Commons debates this in the new year, we will see support from MPs from across all parts of the UK.

The Prime Minister and First Minister also discussed Scotland’s new fiscal framework – the financial rules that will underpin Holyrood’s new tax and welfare powers. Under the Scotland Bill, the Scottish government is set to gain major new powers from Westminster and discussions are ongoing as to how this can be delivered in a way which is fair both to the taxpayers of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Lord Dunlop added:

Everything the UK government is doing on both the fiscal framework and the wider Scotland Bill is based on the Smith principles. These govern our approach and that will not change. We need a deal which is fair to Scotland, fair to the UK and will stand the test of time.

If the powers contained in the Scotland Bill are used well by the Scottish government, Scotland will do well. This is as it should be, and represents a good deal both for Scotland and for the rest of the UK.

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