Select Committee on Scottish Affairs

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th June 1991.

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Photo of Margaret Ewing Margaret Ewing , Moray 12:00 am, 24th June 1991

To ask the Lord President of the Council what recent meetings he has held with opposition parties to discuss the establishment of a Select Committee on Scottish Affairs.

Photo of Margaret Ewing Margaret Ewing , Moray

Surprise, surprise. Is not it appalling that given that there is much speculation that the House may review its procedures and mechanisms for working, it is still in breach of one of its Standing Orders through its failure to appoint a Select Committee on Scottish Affairs at a time when many issues in the Scottish economy and Scottish society need investigation? Is the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman's Back Benchers from Scotland more important to him than the rights of the Scottish nation? Or has he just given up altogether?

Photo of Mr John MacGregor Mr John MacGregor Chair, Privileges Committee, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House Lords (Privy Council Office), Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Privy Council Office), Chair, Privileges Committee

No, and I have been in Scotland all this weekend. The hon. Lady should not be surprised at my answer, because on 22 May in response to a question from her I said that I did not expect to add anything about a Scottish Select Committee after the recess and there has been no change in circumstances to warrant further meetings. The hon. Lady also asked me on that occasion about progress on the Scottish Grand Committee; I am pleased to be able to tell the House that progress has been made on that matter. The Committee met twice last week and will meet tomorrow and at least two more dates have been fixed.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

How many representations has my right hon. Friend received from the Scottish people on this issue?

Photo of Mr William McKelvey Mr William McKelvey , Kilmarnock and Loudoun

Nevertheless, should not an answer be given to the question why we continue to be in breach of our Standing Orders? Is not this the mother of Parliaments? Why does the right hon. Gentleman continue not to do his duty and why is he sustaining a policy of neglect as regards Scotland?

Photo of Mr John MacGregor Mr John MacGregor Chair, Privileges Committee, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House Lords (Privy Council Office), Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Privy Council Office), Chair, Privileges Committee

There is no policy of neglect—I have just said that the Scottish Grand Committee has been meeting regularly—and nor is the House in breach of its Standing Orders. I remind the hon. Gentleman that, in the debate on 20 December 1988, the House recognised the inability of the Committee of Selection to nominate hon. Members to serve on the Scottish Affairs Committee.