Scottish Parliament Commission meets

Tom Griffin (London, The Green Ribbon) The Scottish Parliament Commission held its first meeting at Holyrood on Monday. One name which didn't feature on the panel of fifteen worthies who will review the workings of devolution was that of George Reid, the former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander was in favour of Reid's inclusion, as were the Liberal Democrats. The move was reportedly blocked by the UK Labour Party because of Reid's SNP background, in what may be the latest sign of Downing Street's anxieties about the Commission.

It is also understood the preparatory work undertaken to establish the commission has included disagreements on where the body should meet.

The UK Government wanted the commission to hold its meetings at the Scotland Office, while the political parties in Holyrood argued for the Scottish Parliament to be the venue.

This mirrored an earlier row about the name of the body. Prime Minister Gordon Brown had made it clear that the word "commission" gave an "incorrect impression" about the group's status.

In spite of the failure to appoint Reid, the very fact that the Commission is meeting at Holyrood suggests that Downing Street has not got everything its own way.

On Friday, the new body's chairman held out an olive branch to the SNP and its rival National Conversation:

These are not rival processes. I will be using the national conversation, especially its papers on devolution.

I hope the Scottish Government will co-operate with us.

Sir Kenneth Calman also distanced himself from suggestions that it could return powers to Westminster, suggestions that originated with Gordon Brown.

The full membership of the Commission is as follows:

Sir Kenneth Calman, Chancellor of the University of Glasgow (Chair)

Colin Boyd, former Lord Advocate, member of the House of Lords (Labour)

Rani Dhir, Director Drumchapel Housing Co-operative

James Douglas Hamilton, former Scottish Office Minister, member of the House of Lords (Conservative)

Professor Sir David Edward, retired Judge of the European Court

Lord Elder, member of the House of Lords (Labour)

Audrey Findlay, former Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, now Convener of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

Jamie Lindsay, former Scottish Office Minister, member of the House of Lords (Conservative), Chairman SAC (Scottish Agricultural College)

John Loughton, President of the Scottish Youth Parliament (serving in a personal capacity)

Murdoch MacLennan, Chief Executive, Telegraph Media Group

Shonaig Macpherson, Chair of the National Trust for Scotland and of the SCDI (Scottish Council Development and Industry)

Iain McMillan, Director, CBI Scotland

Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Glasgow

Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary , UNISON

Jim Wallace, former Deputy First Minister and former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats