Scotland Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:11 pm on 27th January 2011.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture and Sport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution) 1:11 pm, 27th January 2011

I do not know what the hon. Lady is referring to. I have never said anything about false information.

In a spirit of consensus and co-operation, let us start with the issues on which we all agree, for obviously there are such issues. We all agree with the Secretary of State and with our Labour colleagues that devolution is, in the words of Donald Dewar, a process and not a one-off event, and that is important. We may disagree on the conclusion of that process-we believe in independence, and my Labour colleagues believe in something else-but we all agree that devolution is a process, and that we will continue to see a transfer of powers from the House of Commons to the Scottish Parliament.

A point was made earlier about the reference to the Scottish Government in the amendment. When I first came to the House 10 years ago, Labour Members were appalled at the prospect of a Scottish Government. The Secretary of State probably remembers the debates in which they expressed their view. They helpfully said, "They can call themselves 'The White Heather Club' if they want, but they will never be a Government." We are a Government now, thank goodness, and the Labour dinosaurs, some of whom I see in their places, will never go back to having an Executive running Scotland. That is a good thing too.

An important new development is that we all agree now that some financial powers-fiscal powers-should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. We never had that important source of agreement before. We fundamentally disagree on the measures in the Bill, but we agree that financial responsibility should be a feature of the Scottish Parliament. I look forward to that, and that is another area of agreement. We will oppose measures in the Bill, but it is good that we now all agree that financial powers are required for the Scottish Parliament.

The most important thing that everyone in this House can agree on-this ran through everything to do with Calman-is that the Scottish Parliament has been an overwhelming success. The Secretary of State is of course right to say that there is no question-only people on the fringes of politics in this House would even suggest this-of ever going back to having no Scottish Parliament again. What typifies that more than anything is the fact that a Conservative-led Government are legislating for more powers and responsibilities to be given to the Scottish Parliament, because only 12 short years ago the Tories campaigned so energetically against the Scottish Parliament. That shows the progress that we have made, and there will be areas of agreement as we go through the Committee stage in this House.

Although we agree on many things in the Bill, there are many things with which we fundamentally disagree.