Third Reading provides an opportunity to ask a question about the constitutional position in relation to Scotland. Jim Wallace, the Deputy First Minister of the Scottish Parliament, raised the prospect of his party at Holyrood triggering a constitutional showdown with the UK Government over the latter's plans for house arrest without trial for terror suspects. He said that the Liberal Democrats would refuse to support aspects of the Bill that fell within the competence of Scottish Ministers and on which Holyrood had to agree, courtesy of a device called a Sewel motion, to allow Westminster to legislate for the whole of the UK. That would mean that, if it came to a Holyrood vote, only Labour MSPs would be certain to support the Sewel motion supporting the Home Secretary. Frankly, I would add that some Labour MSPs would not be dragged by wild horses into such a Lobby.
That would mean that, with the main parties also against the plans, the Home Secretary would fail to secure the agreement of enough MSPs for the legislation to cover Scotland. The UK Government would have no choice but to ignore the views of MSPs and, for the first time since devolution, impose legislation in the teeth of Holyrood opposition. I ask the Home Secretary for his comments on this serious situation for us north of the border.