30/06/2015 11:51 BST | Updated 30/06/2016 06:59 BST

Delivering Radical Constitutional Change Is in Labour's DNA - We Must Grab This Opportunity With Both Hands

The story of Scotland's union with England is one of constant change and upheaval. From its birth in 1707, through to the establishment of the Scottish Office in the late 19th Century, and then the establishment of the Scottish Parliament at the close of the 20th, Scotland's place in the UK has evolved to fit the needs of the time, and the wishes of the people who live and work here.

Last September, the people of Scotland voted decisively to remain part of the UK. It was a vote for keeping the economic strength that comes from being part of something bigger, and for the social solidarity that we gain from working together with friends, neighbours and colleagues across the whole of the UK. More than two million Scots voted positively and with certainty to remain in the UK. But the message they also gave was clear- there was a desire for change and not for a return to the status quo.

Delivering radical constitutional change is in Labour's DNA. In 1888 Keir Hardie stood in his first election on a platform promising Home Rule; in 1997, Donald Dewar promised and secured a Scottish Parliament, and in 2015 Scottish Labour's manifesto pledged a Home Rule Bill for Scotland in the first 100 days of this Parliament.

This week in the House of Commons, we are discussing the detail of the Government's Scotland Bill. Had Labour been in Government, we would have gone much further than this Bill currently does.

Labour has been leading the debate on extending the Scotland Bill. While the SNP talk of being "stronger for Scotland", their contributions on this legislation have been fewer than Labour's and their contributions in the debate restricted to Alex Salmond and their front bench. Backbench SNP MPs, it seems, are to be seen in the Chamber but not heard.

Our approach to the Scotland Bill is to ask what is in the best interests of people across Scotland. We don't want power for the sake of it; we want powers for a purpose.

First, we will push for an extension to the £2.5billion of welfare powers currently being offered by the Government.

As Gordon Brown outlined in February, the Scottish Parliament must have total freedom to exercise those powers. That means the final say over devolved benefits has to rest with the Scottish Parliament, not the UK Government. That must be made clear and Labour will seek to amend the Bill to ensure that it is.

This means that the UK-wide welfare state will act as the minimum safety net with fundamental rights that can be topped-up by the Scottish Parliament. Of course, it's not enough just to say we want welfare rates to be higher in Scotland. We need to say how we would pay for it out of resources raised in Scotland, but with the principle of ensuring a system that fits best for Scottish people.

The Bill also needs to be extended to include housing benefit. The Scottish Parliament has been responsible for housing policy since its birth, but the £1.8billion in housing support payments has remained at Westminster. Devolving housing benefit would resolve this anomaly and give MSPs more powers to get to grips with Scotland's housing crisis - a housing crisis the Scottish Government has so far failed miserably to grasp.

Second, we want real transparency when it comes to Scotland's finances. We vehemently oppose the SNP's plans for full fiscal autonomy because it would leave Scotland with a shortfall in excess of £7billion. This would have to be made up by higher taxes or cuts to public services.

That's why we want a full independent commission on the Scottish Government's proposals and the establishment of a Scottish Office for Budget Responsibility to provide the same level of scrutiny of Scotland's finances that the Treasury currently receives from the OBR. Last night, however, the Tories and the SNP joined forces to block these amendments for scrutiny.

Either they have got something to hide, or they are opposing Labour's amendments for the sake of it. The SNP dismiss the impartial and expert opinions of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Office for Budget Responsibility, their own oil and gas figures and the SNP Governments own annual accounts so let's have a commission to examine their FFA policy.

Finally, we will continue to make the case that the Bill as it stands provides for the transfer of considerable new powers to the Scottish Parliament. While the nationalists are absolutely desperate to be disappointed with the Bill, Labour will make the case for the powerhouse Parliament that will emerge when this Bill passes.

At that point the debate will move on to what really matters: how we use these powers for the best interests of people who live and work in Scotland.

Labour's defeat in Scotland was a political event of seismic proportions. The message of the defeat was that we had lost the trust of thousands of voters. It was not that they necessarily disliked what we were saying; but we had lost the right to be heard. If we want to be heard again, we need to regain their trust. I will work day and night to ensure that we do.

In 1998, Donald Dewar hoped that the decade after the establishment of the Scottish Parliament would not be full of "constitutional wrangling". He didn't get his wish.

Let's hope that after this Bill has passed we can remember his challenge to Scotland's politicians: "the question... is what we do with our Parliament, not what we do to it."

The opportunity is before us with this Bill - let's grab it with both hands.

Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South and Shadow Scottish Secretary