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Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 2001.

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Photo of Mrs Helen Liddell Mrs Helen Liddell Secretary of State, Scottish Office, The Secretary of State for Scotland 12:00 am, 30th January 2001

What a pleasure it is to see the hon. Gentleman back in his place. We have not seen him here for a long time. Indeed, when he last left he said that he was going to Holyrood because this place was—what was it?—an outdated irrelevance. Apparently we were soon to be extinct, but now the hon. Gentleman is coming back. Edinburgh is not big enough for him and his hon. Friend the Member for North Tayside (Mr. Swinney).

In the context of personal care and the Sutherland report, it is a sign of the strength of the devolution settlement that the Government have provided a Scottish Parliament with the will of the Scottish people. As for what I said yesterday on the "Today" programme, the hon. Gentleman will today hear from the Scottish Executive about their arrangements for the Chisholm committee. My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, North and Leith (Mr. Chisholm) is present now.

Labour Members believe in devolution as something that strengthens the United Kingdom, unlike the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond), who wants to split Scotland from the United Kingdom and has been chased back down here by his hon. Friend the Member for North Tayside. He is the weakest link; goodbye.