Devolution

Oral Answers to Questions — Advocate-General for Scotland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 11th January 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alan Reid Alan Reid Opposition Whip (Commons)

What devolution issues she has considered since 30 November 2004.

Photo of Ann McKechin Ann McKechin Labour, Glasgow Maryhill

What devolution issues she has considered since 30 November 2004.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

What devolution issues she has considered since 30 November 2004.

Photo of Dr Lynda Clark Dr Lynda Clark Advocate General for Scotland, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Advocate General for Scotland

Since 30 November, 67 devolution issues have been intimated to me: 36 devolution issues related to criminal matters, including pre-trial delay, self incrimination under section 172 of the Road Traffic Acts and satellite monitoring of fishing vessels; the remaining 31 devolution issues related to civil matters, almost all of which concerned prison conditions.

Photo of Ms Annabelle Ewing Ms Annabelle Ewing Spokesperson (Social Security (SNP Shadow Scottish Minister); Education & Skills; Home Office; Law Officers; Work & Pensions)

Is the Advocate-General aware of any discrepancy in the Scotland Act 1998 that means that it is essential for the Prime Minister to declare his stay with a pop star, but that it is not essential for the First Minister to declare his stay with a political pundit?

Photo of Alan Reid Alan Reid Opposition Whip (Commons)

The Advocate-General has said that 67 cases were notified to her. Will she tell hon. Members the number of cases in which she acted and the length of time that she spent doing so?

Photo of Dr Lynda Clark Dr Lynda Clark Advocate General for Scotland, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Advocate General for Scotland

Many of those cases—for example, the pre-trial delay cases—were copycat cases in which I had examined the legal issues in detail in relation to other cases. In one or two of those cases, I intervened and appeared in Privy Council to deal with the legal issues. Such matters depend on the type of issue and whether the issue has been raised before. I did not intervene on any of the particular issues intimated to me in the past month, but some of those issues have been raised in other cases, one or two of which I have intervened in.

Photo of Ann McKechin Ann McKechin Labour, Glasgow Maryhill

My hon. and learned Friend will be aware that the Gambling Bill is currently passing through the House and that it has important implications for Scotland. What discussions has she had with the Scottish Executive about the regulatory regime in Scotland? In particular, the Government indicated on Second Reading that use class orders in England and Wales will be changed to separate bingo clubs and casino premises. Has she received any indications from the Scottish Executive on whether they intend to pass similar legislation to amend planning in Scotland?

Photo of Dr Lynda Clark Dr Lynda Clark Advocate General for Scotland, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Advocate General for Scotland

The important matters that my hon. Friend raises relate to policy, not legal issues. Policy discussions would not normally be carried out by me but by the relevant policy Ministers, including my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

It may be of some assistance if I give an overview of legal regulatory matters as I see them at the moment. My hon. Friend will be aware that although gambling is a reserved matter, Scottish Ministers exercise some powers as a consequence of Executive devolution. The Bill proposes that the Gambling Commission will regulate commercial gambling and issue operating and personal licences. There will be a right of appeal against that to the Gambling Appeals Tribunal. In addition, it is important to understand that licensing boards, which are devolved, will regulate the gambling premises and that the devolved planning structure will apply.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

May I invite the Advocate-General to give some advice to her right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland on his power in the Crown Estate Act 1961 to issue directions to the Crown estate commissioners? I suggest that had he done so, the shellfish farmers in my constituency and elsewhere in Scotland would not have found themselves in the position that they did shortly before Christmas, when they were faced with massive increases in the rents that they have to pay to the Crown estate commissioners, who are the only possible landlord to whom they can turn.