PLANS to give Holyrood substantial new powers over tax, welfare and abortion have cleared a historic Commons hurdle.

MPs last night backed the Scotland Bill, which now goes to the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber boycotted by the SNP. There was also controversy when MPs were given a maximum of just six hours to debate dozens of amendments to the Bill, including about 100 laid by the Conservative Government.

The Scottish Secretary David Mundell told MPs the legislation “put “beyond doubt” that the “Vow” made by the three pro- Union party leaders in the run-up to last year’s referendum had now been delivered. But the SNP rejected that claim and called for extra powers, including over holding a second independence vote. Conservative MPs voted down that suggestion while Labour abstained on the issue. Labour sources said the party’s position on any future independence referendum was to back the “current partnership” of Edinburgh and London working together.

The Scotland Bill follows the cross-party Smith Commission, which was set up to look at further devolution in the wake of ‘No’ vote.

Under the plans, Scottish ministers would have control over almost all of income tax and as well as the ability to create a new Scottish welfare system.The Scottish Parliament could also only be abolished after a referendum, in an attempt to guarantee its permanence.

The power to decide legislation on abortion was an 11th-hour addition to the bill as part of a deal between the SNP and Tory Governments. At one point during the Smith negotiations Labour had threatened to walk out if the issue was included.

In the end the parties agreed that it should not be included in the official agreement although “further serious consideration” should be given to its devolution.

Last night Labour sources hit out at the inclusion of an abortion amendment saying it made “a mockery” of the devolution talks.

Mr Mundell said: “The Government’s amendments will strengthen the Scotland Bill’s provisions and clarify its delivery of the Smith Commission Agreement. With that done, it will be time for Scotland’s political parties to work together to make the new powers a success for everyone in Scotland.

“The amendments put beyond doubt the bill fully delivers the Smith Commission agreement.”

He rejected the SNP’s demand for full fiscal autonomy as “not in the interests of the people of Scotland”.

A series of amendments tabled by the UK Government aimed at clarifying and strengthening some sections of the bill were approved.

These included control over abortion law and enhanced power over welfare, including the ability to top-up any cuts to tax credits made by the UK government.

But amendments tabled by opposition parties were rejected.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said the SNP had an “overwhelming mandate” to call for further powers and would push for control over tax credits, currently earmarked for highly controversial cuts by George Osborne.

The Government's abortion amendment was carried by 350 votes to 183 - a majority of 167. An SNP amendment to devolve full tax credit powers was defeated 477 to 56 - majority 421.

A Labour amendment to allow Scotland to keep all of its VAT was defeated by 242 votes to 287 - a majority of 45.