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Around The House: What might a future coalition look like?

Paul Brand talks to MPs Angus MacNeil, Russell Brown, Sir Alan Beith and James Wharton Credit: ITV Border

On tonight's Around The House, Paul Brand and guests discuss the rise of the SNP, and the impact on Labour and the Lib Dems in Scotland: could there be a future three-way coalition at Westminster?

Also in the programme, what can the Chancellor offer the North in the Autumn Statement, when we are being warned of a another dip in the economy?

Join Paul Brand for Around The House, tonight (Thurs 20 November) on ITV at 11.40pm.

Carlisle-raised MP 'thrilled and honoured' with award

Helen Grant MP came joint third on the Black Powerlist 2015. Credit: PA

An MP who was brought up Carlisle has been named as one of the most influential black people in the UK.

Helen Grant who's the Minister for Sport and Tourism was given the honour by an organisation that promotes black achievement. She came joint third on the Black Powerlist 2015.

The Conservative MP was brought up in Carlisle and represented Cumbria in a number of sports. She went on Twitter to say she felt "thrilled and honoured".

'A very special occasion' says Nicola Sturgeon

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is officially sworn in as Scotland's First Minister in the Court of Session, Edinburgh, making her the fifth person to hold the top job. Credit: PA

Ms Sturgeon declared it had been "a very special occasion" as she left the court shortly after the ceremony.

Her formal appointment as First Minister and Keeper of the Scottish Seal took around six minutes in Court One of the Parliament House building.

It took place before a "full bench" of 15 judges and was presided over by the Lord President of the Court of Session and head of the Scottish judiciary, Lord Gill.

Proceedings were watched by various figures from the worlds of politics and law, including Ms Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell and Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC.

Following the official proceedings, Lord Gill told her: "On behalf of the court, I have the honour to congratulate you on your appointment as First Minister of the Scottish Government.

"You are now holder of one of the great offices of state.

"That is a great honour that will bring many arduous responsibilities but I hope that, notwithstanding the burden, the office of First Minister will give you great pleasure and fulfilment and I wish you well."


Scotland will get new powers, says Prime Minister

Prime Minister David Cameron appears before the Liaison Select Committee in the House of Commons, London where he answered questions over his proposals for wider devolution within the UK in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum vote. Credit: PA

Further devolution for Scotland will go ahead as promised regardless of the progress of controversial plans for English votes for English laws, David Cameron has insisted.

The Prime Minister told MPs that he is "very confident" that a pledge to hand over extra powers made by the three main Westminster leaders in the final days of the Sottish referendum campaign will be delivered as it was set out.

But he told the Commons Liaison committee voters will "get both" sets of constitutional reforms if he is returned to No 10 next year.

Asked if the pledge for additional powers to Scotland was free standing, he replied: "Effectively, yes. The pledge that was made by the party leaders I think is important and we'll meet the terms of that pledge in full, I'm very confident of that, which is that there should be further, particularly fiscal, devolution to Scotland, the power to raise taxes and spend money and there's a programme for delivering that."

The Smith Commission, which was set up by the UK Government to consider further devolution following the referendum, is due to report back next week and the recommendations will form the basis of legislation next year.

Sturgeon sworn in as First Minister

Ms Sturgeon succeeds Alex Salmond, who announced he would step down after a majority of voters rejected independence in September's referendum. Credit: PA

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has been officially sworn in as Scotland's First Minister, making her the fifth person to hold the top job.

Ms Sturgeon received the Royal Warrant - formal approval of her appointment - at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The formal proceeding, which took place before 15 senior judges, came less than 24 hours after MSPs at Holyrood elected the former deputy first minister as the new head of the Scottish Government.

She is due to take First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament for the first time in her new role this afternoon.

The appointment sees the Glasgow Southside MSP make history by becoming Scotland's first female leader.

PM faces questions over devolution

Credit: PA

David Cameron today faces questioning by senior MPs over his potentially politically explosive proposals for wider devolution within the UK in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum vote.

The Commons Liaison Committee - made up of the chairmen of the various select committees - will seek to question the Prime Minister in detail over his plans for dealing with the constitutional fall-out from the referendum.

In the course of the campaign, the leaders of all three main UK parties signed up to a commitment to hand extensive new powers to Holyrood if Scotland voted to remain part of the Union.

But in the immediate aftermath of the vote rejecting independence, Mr Cameron said that there would have now to be a "new and fair" constitutional settlement for the entire United Kingdom.

In particular, he said there would have to be reform at Westminster to address the thorny issue of "English votes for English laws", suggesting that Scottish MPs would no longer be able to vote on exclusively English issues.

His proposals drew a furious response from Labour - whose chances of forming a majority government at Westminster have traditionally depended upon winning a strong bloc of Scottish MPs.

Labour accused the Tories of seeking to exploit the constitutional issues raised by the referendum for narrow party political purposes while former prime minister Gordon Brown warned that it could lead to the break-up of the UK that they had been seeking to avoid.

With no realistic prospect of agreement in what remains of the current parliament, the three main parties are now expected to set out their rival proposals for reform at next year's general election.

Nicola Sturgeon congratulated by Prime Minister

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech to members of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, after she was voted in as First Minister of Scotland. Credit: PA

Nicola Sturgeon will be officially sworn in as Scotland's First Minister today.

MSPs approved his former deputy as the new head of the Scottish Government in a vote at Holyrood yesterday.

Scotland's first female leader will be officially sworn in at the Court of Session in Edinburgh this morning.

At the Scottish Parliament later she will take questions for the first time in the new role.

Ms Sturgeon has vowed to lead a "bold, imaginative and adventurous" government which will build a "social democratic and socially just" nation.

And she said she hopes her election as First Minister "opens the gate to greater opportunity for all women".

Ms Sturgeon yesterday received a telephone call from the Prime Minister to congratulate her on the appointment.

"Both agreed they wanted to build upon the relationship with her predecessor and to work together constructively in the spirit of the Edinburgh Agreement," a No 10 spokesman said.

"They also discussed the Smith Commission and the Prime Minister underlined his commitment to continue to deliver on the vow made by the three pro-UK parties for further powers to the Scottish Parliament and to stick to the clear timetable set out."

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