Comment: now to build a better Scotland

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On September 18 2014, over 1.6 million people across Scotland voted Yes. This is a remarkable achievement, but it wasn’t enough to enable Scotland to become an independent country.

Like many independence supporters, I was disappointed by the result. But I feel privileged to have been part of a campaign which has energised Scottish voters like never before.

A nationwide turnout of 84.6% represents an unprecedented level of voter engagement in a mostly civilised and democratic debate of which we should all be proud.

I found it inspiring to see so many people young and old in East Renfrewshire and beyond voting for the first time.

It’s important we build on this passion for politics to ensure that we move forward as a country with the ambition of building a better Scotland.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg all signed a vow committing to delivering substantial new powers to Scotland in the event of a No vote.

It’s vital this promise is met so that the Scottish Parliament has the powers needed to create more jobs, build a fairer society and give Scotland a stronger voice on the international stage.

I intend to do everything I can to ensure Westminster delivers on these promises.

If the UK parties fail to meet the aspirations of the Scottish people on further devolution then they will pay a heavy price at the upcoming Westminster and Holyrood elections.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the many campaigners I worked with in East Renfrewshire and beyond who gave up their time to make the case for an independent Scotland.

In the three weeks since the referendum membership of the SNP has soared to over 77,000 people – an unprecedented increase in membership of more than 50,000.

This makes the SNP not only the largest political party in Scotland but also the third largest in the UK.

The SNP’s Eastwood branch this week held it’s first meeting since the referendum and had to switch to a larger venue to accommodate its hundreds of new members.

I was delighted to be joined at the meeting in Clarkston Hall by Keith Brown MSP who I’m backing in his bid to become depute leader of the SNP.

Keith Brown has done an excellent job as Minister for Transport & Veterans and I believe he is the right choice to work alongside Nicola Sturgeon as the party’s new leadership team.

Together, Keith and Nicola have the energy, skills and determination needed to move the SNP forward and build a better Scotland.