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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

Perhaps I was being over-generous: I did not think the hon. Gentleman was of that vintage. Anyway, I thank him for his good wishes.

As for the Sutherland proposals for personal care, because of the devolved settlement which the hon. Gentleman's party opposed, the Scottish Executive are in a position to make their own arrangements for care of the elderly. I believe in devolution; I have been committed to it for many years. The opponents of devolution sit on the Conservative Benches, and link themselves to the separatists.

Lord Lipsey is free to go to Scotland and say whatever he wants. Unlike some Opposition parties, we do not seek to cut Scotland off from the rest of the United Kingdom. As the Scottish Executive take further their proposals on the Sutherland report, they will have to consider the means whereby those proposals are implemented. That is common sense: it is what I said yesterday, and what the First Minister said yesterday.

I have known the First Minister for 30 years, and I have a good deal of respect and affection for him. He is leading Scotland along with this Westminster Government, because we believe that together we can create a better Scotland and a better United Kingdom.