Dissolution of Assembly

Part of Clause 4 – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 23rd November 1977.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Russell Johnston Mr Russell Johnston , Inverness 4:15 pm, 23rd November 1977

It has always been difficult for me to understand when the Government have followed advice. I can only say that we are in favour of the change, but that does not prove that the Government have taken our advice.

8.15 p.m.

The wish to have a General Election, therefore, need not arise from a deadlock; it could come about through a desire to take advantage of a political climate at a particular time. To do as the Opposition have done and merely to transfer responsibility to this place does not remove the reasons and does not lessen the likelihood of deadlock in the Assembly. As was so cogently pointed out by the hon. Member for South Ayrshire, this would create real difficulties in the Westminster parliamentary structure, if the hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby genuinely believes that the House of Lords would fulfil the rôle of objective referee which he has rather optimistically portrayed for it.

Let us take a practical example of a Labour Prime Minister in the House of Commons who is in conflict with the House of Lords. It the Prime Minister is considering the possibility of dissolution of the Scottish Assembly, but it is objected to by the Opposition in the Assembly, who, let us say, are Conservatives and who then encourage the House of Lords to take a different view from the Government, one is immediately in a considerable crisis at Westminster.