SCOTTISH Secretary Alister Jack has called for the introduction of a new Lords “grand committee” to probe Scottish legislation as he criticised “bad governance”.

Jack has suggested policy in Scotland needs more scrutiny when he appeared before the constitution committee at Westminster on Wednesday.

He accused the SNP of thinking he would “roll over” on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, which was blocked by the UK Government despite being passed at Holyrood in December 2022 by two-thirds of MSPs.

In December last year, the Court of Session ruled the UK Government had a right to use a Section 35 order to block the reforms from becoming law.

Jack added the 25th anniversary of devolution was a chance to “review” what did and didn’t work about it.

He said: “Devolution is not a bad thing, where it’s failed is bad governance.

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“In the last 17 years, we’ve got a poorer health service, failing education standards, diabolic ferry services to the islands and higher drug deaths. These are down to bad governance, not devolution.

“I have often thought a better review of legislation in Scotland could be one of the things we could improve upon.

“Some sort of grand committee in this house, helping to scrutinise and improve legislation would be a good thing. I am not alone in saying that the committee structure, in scrutinising legislation in Scotland, has clearly been one of the failings”.

The National:

Jack – who is standing down at the General Election - also suggested SNP ministers had underestimated him.

He said: "They never believed I would do a Section 35 on the gender recognition [legislation]. They didn't believe I would take them to court on [United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child] and the Section 33.

“It is this idea that they would sail on and I would roll over, and not stand my ground, that was their misjudgement.”

The Scottish Secretary added that there would be progress on nuclear power in Scotland despite SNP opposition.

He said: “On the small nuclear reactors, I have asked the energy minister to plan for one in Scotland, because I believe in 2026 we will see a Unionist regime again in Scotland, and they will move forward on this matter.”