New Scottish leader holds first meeting with Cameron
LONDON, United Kingdom – Scotland's new first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, met British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, December 15, for the first time since taking office, with the two discussing the further devolution of powers.
Sturgeon's Scottish National Party (SNP), then led by her predecessor Alex Salmond, lost a referendum on independence for Scotland in September but secured a pledge that more powers would be handed to Edinburgh and has seen its support surge since.
Negotiations are now going on about how much extra authority the Scottish government should now be given, with draft legislative proposals due to be published in January.
Cameron and Sturgeon discussed giving the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds at Scotland's next elections, a Downing Street statement said, lower than the 18-year age limit in the rest of the UK. Cameron gave his backing to Sturgeon's proposals for this.
"The PM made clear that he wants to work with the first minister, forging even stronger ties between our governments," a Downing Street statement said.
The British government is hoping to "reset" relations with the administration in Scotland after an often fractious relationship with the hard-charging Salmond.
"It takes two to reset a relationship," the Scottish secretary in Cameron's government, Alistair Carmichael, said Monday. "I believe Nicola Sturgeon will be more constructive and cooperative to work with."
Salmond is expected to become a lawmaker at Westminster at next year's general election, raising the prospect that he could lead negotiations for the SNP to join a future coalition government.
Earlier, Cameron held talks with Sturgeon and other leaders from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at Downing Street on extremism, constitutional change and the economy. – Rappler.com