LABOUR, the Tories and the LibDems were effectively told to put up or shut up by the First Minister yesterday. Nicola Sturgeon said the parties that don’t support independence should come forward with their own proposals “to equip our Parliament with the powers we need to better protect and advance our interests”.

The SNP leader proposed a Smith Commission-like cross-party group that would come up with solutions to “the challenges that Scotland faces” and present them to the UK Government “in a unified and united way”.

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Sturgeon told MSPs that while they may not all agree on independence, they should all agree “that serious change is needed”.

She added: “So to those who believe that independence is not the right change for Scotland, I say this: bring forward your own proposals to equip our Parliament with the powers we need to better protect and advance our interests.”

These, she said, could include powers to strengthen the economy, tackle poverty, protect public finances and help grow the population. “Powers that will give us a stronger voice in the UK, enable us to determine our own future, and better protect our interests here at home and internationally,” Sturgeon said.

She added: “I know many share our concerns on migration and recognise that we do not currently have the tools to solve this problem. So perhaps there is already more common ground than we like to admit; a starting point that we can build and expand upon.”

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Brexit Secretary Michael Russell has been tasked with setting up talks with other parties to find “areas of agreement on constitutional and procedural change”.

Sturgeon said the talks could be chaired by “a respected and independent individual” and could and “also take the views of stakeholders”.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard told Sturgeon that in the event of Brexit, he would “act to ensure that powers are repatriated to the right level of government”.