For the benefit of Mr. Max Davidson and others, can my hon. Friend confirm that the law in Scotland is different from the law in England, in that Scotland does not have the iniquitous privity of contract that we suffer here? Will he remind his colleagues in the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Department of the Environment how much better Scottish law is?
I shall not be diverted by the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion).
My hon. Friend rightly pointed out to the House that privity of contract does not apply in Scotland. In Scots law, when a lease is assigned to a new tenant, the previous tenant is released from liability unless the parties specifically contract otherwise, in contrast to the position in England. I know that my right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Chancellor intends to introduce legislation at the earliest opportunity, and I hope that my hon. Friend's long campaign on that issue, which I think commands support on both sides of the House, will therefore shortly reach a successful conclusion.
Will the Minister institute a review of the effects of recent legislation on commercial railway property in Scotland? What is the sense of legislation that will lead to the closure of lines, a loss of key services such as sleepers and the criminal neglect of public assets such as the Forth railway bridge?
While the Minister rightly extols the virtues of Scottish law, will he reflect on the fact that the Scottish legal system is the only domestic system of law in western Europe without its own Parliament? Do not the merits of the Scottish legal system now justify a Parliament in Edinburgh?
There is, of course, an arguable case for independence, although I do not agree with it. There is not an arguable case for the proposition being put forward by the Labour party, which does not seek to answer any of the serious questions. When challenged on serious issues such as the West Lothian question and others, the only answer given by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) is to say that they are all red herrings—what a way to conduct a serious policy.