Orders of the Day — Referendums (Scotland and Wales) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:59 pm on 22nd May 1997.

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Photo of Dr Norman Godman Dr Norman Godman Labour, Greenock and Inverclyde 4:59 pm, 22nd May 1997

I hope that the hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine (Sir R. Smith) will accept my compliments for a fine speech.

I offer my compliments to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Gorrie), who also made a fine speech. It is sometimes said that doctoral candidates are awarded their doctorates for persistence. The hon. Gentleman certainly deserves to be here for his remarkable persistence and consistency in fighting Edinburgh, West.

I offer extremely belated congratulations to my right hon. and old Friend the Member for Glasgow, Anniesland (Mr. Dewar), and all of those other fine honourable fellows who adorn the Government Front Bench. I also offer my compliments to my hon. Friends who made their initial—we are supposed to call them maiden—speeches.

I promise to be brief, but I shall refer to two Scottish morning papers, which, with other papers in Scotland, are full of comments made by the governor of the Bank of Scotland in relation to constitutional changes. The Scotsman begins a front page article by stating: Scotland's senior banker yesterday warned that he saw severe risks attaching to constitutional change both in Scotland and in Europe. No doubt that will throw the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor), whose spirited speech amused me no end, especially his slip of the tongue, because for many years he has been in opposition to the Government on numerous subjects, so why the Freudian slip? He was a very fine constituency Member for Glasgow, Cathcart, but, unfortunately, the good people of Castlemilk and elsewhere sent him elsewhere—to the deep south.

In its editorial this morning, the Daily Record had this to say about the senior banker: Bank of Scotland governor Bruce Patullo— not Portillo— (an Englishman) yesterday took over from where Michael Forsyth left off-raising the spectre of Tartan VAT to pay for a Scottish Parliament.He also claimed any new tax would discourage vital investment in Scotland by UK and overseas companies.His comments, like Michael Forsyth's before him, fail to take account of the settled will of the Scottish people"— and, no doubt, many thousands of his bank's clients. I regret to say that I am one of them. Perhaps the time has come for me to transfer my account.