Business of the House
Mrs Gillian Shephard (South West Norfolk, Conservative)
I thank the Leader of the House for giving the business for next week and the following Monday. I should be grateful if she would outline the proposed arrangements for the Budget debate. Obviously, she has confirmed that next Friday represents the replacement of a non-sitting day.
Will the right hon. Lady also, as a matter of urgency, arrange for a statement to clarify whether Labour Members of Parliament have the freedom to take a full and active part in debate on the referendum campaigns in Scotland and Wales? I feel sure that the House will agree that such clarification is essential, following the explicit refutation of the Prime Minister's statement in the House yesterday by the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Smith), whose reputation for integrity is respected throughout the House. Will the right hon. Lady also say whether there are to be different freedoms of expression for her Back-Bench colleagues according to whether they represent Welsh or Scottish constituencies?
Will the right hon. Lady clarify the position of the hon. Members for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sarwar) and for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Wareing) with regard to their ability to carry out duties in the House and to represent their constituents? Will she confirm that both Members are to be referred to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards?
Finally, will the Leader of the House provide time for a statement on the tax-raising powers of a putative Scottish Parliament or Assembly, following the confusion in Scotland yesterday about the Government's intentions? She will no doubt wish to say when we can expect the White Paper detailing precisely what the Government intend in that regard. I am sure that she will wish to give a categorical assurance today that the White Paper will be produced in time to allow a thorough debate on its contents before the House rises for the summer recess.