Joan McAlpine MSP has backed the respected former UK Civil Servant Professor Clive Ponting, who will speak at a public meeting in the town this Friday.
Professor Ponting claims that the Civil Contingencies Act of 2004 could be used to effectively to stop or even reverse devolution. He says these emergency powers are very worrying as they give Westminster the right to abolish any legislation, including the Devolution Act.
Professor Ponting became famous in the 1980s when he hugely embarrassed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the Falklands Islands Conflict. He leaked government papers to an MP that proved the Argentine ship, General Belgrano, was heading away from the Falklands War task force when it was torpedoed and sunk by the submarine HMS Conqueror with the loss of 323 lives. The UK government had always stated that the Belgrano was threatening the Task Force when it was targeted. The Professor was put on trial for breaking the Official Secrets Act and was famously acquitted. He now lives in the Borders.
The professor has extensive knowledge of the inner workings of government so as well as explaining the threats from the emergency powers, he will be speaking about his views on the functions, machinations and intrigue of the UK Civil Service.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“The emergency powers that that UK Government ministers have given themselves are unprecedented. If you look at the Civil Contingencies Act, it allows the Government to amend or in effect abolish any piece of legislation except the Human Rights Act. If Brexit becomes a disaster, especially in a no deal scenario, Westminster could declare a State of Emergency and suspend the activities of the Scottish Parliament altogether.
“The Westminster Government have already voted to grab EU powers from the Scottish Parliament so there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t go further if it served their own interests. Even if they thought it politically damaging to abolish the Parliament entirely, they could do things in such a way that most of its powers disappeared.”
Professor Ponting’s talk will take place on Friday the 1st of March at 7pm at the Aberdour Hotel in Dumfries. Seats can be reserved in advance through EventBrite or just turn up on the night. Entry is by a minimum donation of £3.
Link for tickets: