Orders of the Day — Scottish Development Agency Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:50 am on 21st October 1987.

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Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes , Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley 2:50 am, 21st October 1987

At 2.51 am, neither am I.

Earlier, when I saw the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth), leap to the Dispatch Box to move this procedural motion, I recalled the words of the former right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, Mr. Francis Pym, when he warned of the tyranny of the large majority. That is the attitude that we are seeing tonight, and have seen on other occasions: the jackbooted attitude that they will force an issue through, that it does not matter if it has not been properly debated, of if great sections of the community in Scotland have not had the chance to he represented, or if people who have been active in the sphere of concern that the SDA represents have not had a chance to speak. That is why a strong feeling of spontaneous revulsion, annoyance, frustration and concern has been expressed by Opposition Members tonight. There will be more of it, tonight and on future occasions, if that kind of tyrannical approach is used again by the Government.

I want to stick to the motion. We wonder why it has been put forward; we look for the motive behind it. With the slight discipline that I acquired at university all those years ago. I try to detect and divine the motivation and the determinant for the action, and to argue against it.

We have heard a number of arguments tonight as to why the House should not support the motion. I should like to mention about half a dozen, but there will be plenty of time left for my hon. Friend the Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Mr. Worthington). I must not forget Milngavie: I like to give a litte teaser to the Hansard reporters, and Milngavie is a good one.

The first reason is the right of minority parties. As the vast majority party in Scotland, with 50 out of 72 representatives, we have said that we respect that right. If we have a proper debate, the full time that ought to be allocated for Second Reading debate allows the minority parties to have their say. I did not like it when, earlier in the debate, the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) was so ungracious—I cannot say "ungallant", because it is a sexist word — in not conceding that she had made a mistake and had misrepresented my hon. Friend the Member for Garscadden. It is understandable that such a mistake should have been made, particularly after a busy and no doubt enjoyable day and evening.