A PLAN to give unelected peers a beefed-up role over legislation involving devolved parliaments has drawn fury from the SNP and Scottish Greens.

The House of Lords’ Constitution Committee has published its blueprint for a “stronger Union in the 21st century”.

It includes calls for Barnett Formula reform and for the second chamber to “strengthen its scrutiny of bills that engage the Sewel convention” which suggests Westminster will not normally pass laws on matters within the competence of Holyrood, the Senedd or Stormont. This would help to create “a revitalised, better-functioning and less rancorous Union,” it is claimed.

But the proposals have drawn fury from the SNP and the Greens, with the latter’s Ross Greer telling The National: “Scotland’s future must be determined by the people who live here – not Westminster’s unelected, unaccountable lords.

READ MORE: Who are the Scottish peers who claimed the most cash during the pandemic?

“We don’t need a bunch of cronies, aristocrats and defeated MPs who have been handpicked by the Westminster establishment parties to pontificate on our future. I will take great delight when Scotland gains our independence knowing that never again will we be governed by these ermine-clad offences to democratic legitimacy.”

And SNP constitution spokesperson Tommy Sheppard MP said: “It is difficult to take seriously a report on democratic structures by a body which is the most egregious example of a lack of democracy in the UK.

"The unelected, unaccountable and unrepresentative House of Lords is never more so than when it comes to attitudes to the governance of Scotland. Not one single member of that private members’ club supports independent self-government for Scotland – a position that is now favoured by a majority of the Scottish population.”

The Respect and Co-operation report says the status quo “can provide the best of both worlds” for the UK’s constituent nations.

However, members, who include ex-Scotland Office minister and “Dunlop Review” author Lord Andrew Dunlop, said the UK Government “ought not to seek to legislate in devolved areas without consent” and a beefed-up role for the Lords should see the Government provide a memo about the devolution implications of relevant bills and putting legislative consent issues under more committee scrutiny.

READ MORE: Kevin McKenna: Centre-left parties aren’t progressive if they back House of Lords

This would also, it is said, see members look for input from devolved parliaments where appropriate” and result in “greater prominence for the granting, or withholding, of legislative consent by the devolved legislatures in House of Lords Business”.

The report says the Government’s move to spend Levelling-Up Fund cash in devolved nations without engagement has “undermined trust”. And it says the lack of “meaningful dialogue” between the UK Parliament and devolved governments on legislative consent matters is “a gap in the legislative process”.

There is a tendency for the Government to “devolve and forget”, the committee says, and the Conservative administration “needs to set out a clearer vision” for the future of the Union.

It says a “stronger culture of respect, co-operation and partnership” between governments should “facilitate joint working” on shared challenges like Covid and climate change.

And, backing the new Prime Minister and Heads of Devolved Governments Council, it calls for the development of devolution within England. Meanwhile, it says the House of Lords “can play an important role” in stronger inter-parliamentary relations.

Baroness Taylor of Bolton said the UK Government “needs to articulate a compelling vision and narrative” for the UK.

She added: “We believe a significant culture change is required in Whitehall, including the end of its top-down mindset.

“This will be critical if the new intergovernmental arrangements and any extension of devolution across England is to be a success.

“Fostering greater respect and co-operation between Whitehall and the different parts of the United Kingdom will be even more important in strengthening the Union.”