Scotland Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:32 pm on 27th January 2011.

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Photo of Michael Moore Michael Moore The Secretary of State for Scotland 12:32 pm, 27th January 2011

Far be it from me to be drawn into these matters. I can only assume that the amendment is competent, as it is on our Order Paper this afternoon. However, the common parlance is now "the Scottish Government". It will help if Government Departments no longer feel that, legally, they must refer to the Scottish Executive, when nobody else does. Also, we will be able to refer to "the Scottish Government" in the House, rather than "the Scottish Executive".

The Bill does not set out every proposal from Calman. In some cases, legislation is not required. For example, the commission recommended much closer co-operation and communication between Administrations and between Parliaments. Many of the proposals require change to working practices, to which the Government are committed. I know that Mr Speaker, the Lords Speaker and the Presiding Officer will determine the appropriate basis on which to develop relationships between our Parliaments.

In fulfilling our commitment to implement the Calman recommendations, there are some cases in which we have deviated from the precise recommendations because the policy content at UK level has changed, for example in relation to air passenger duty, which the Government are reviewing. In other cases, however, we have gone further than the commission, building on and strengthening its recommendations. This is the first time since the creation of devolution that a Government have brought forward legislation with such wide-ranging effect on the current settlement. Indeed, the Bill will fundamentally change the powers and responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament. For that reason, the Government will proceed with the Bill only with the formal and explicit consent of the Scottish Parliament. It is right and proper that the Scottish Parliament should examine the measures that we set out in the Scotland Bill. I welcome the thorough way in which it is going about its business, and I look forward to returning to discuss the provisions with the Bill Committee in the Scottish Parliament next week.

Devolution breathed new life into Scottish politics and Scottish society. It brought government closer to the Scottish people, and it shaped a more confident Scotland in a more secure United Kingdom. The Bill extends that settlement for the future. The first chapter of devolution began with the Scotland Act 1998; the second chapter opened on St Andrew's day, when we published this Bill. The Bill reflects the work of many across this Chamber and in Holyrood: work that we have undertaken together with consensus, strengthening Scotland's future within the United Kingdom. I commend it to the House.