Scotland Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:59 pm on 27th January 2011.

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Photo of Iain Stewart Iain Stewart Conservative, Milton Keynes South 2:59 pm, 27th January 2011

It is not a contradictory at all and I am not saying that I rule out that possibility. My book does not rule it out. All I am saying is that at this point in time it would be an enormous leap in the dark that would throw up so many unintended consequences that it would be a foolhardy move. I welcome the sensible incremental step that the Bill is taking.

I have probably been indulged by the House rather longer than I intended. I want to move briefly to one other point before I resume my seat. It concerns another part of the Bill about which I have a specific concern, and that is the proposal to devolve down to the Scottish Parliament the power to set the drink-driving limit. I am a member of the Select Committee on Transport and we have just concluded an investigation into the drink-driving limit. Part of the evidence we received was a strong representation from the police that we should not have a different drink-driving limit in different parts of the United Kingdom. I am not against the power's being devolved, but want to put it on the record that I would not wish the consequence of that devolution of power to be a marked difference in the Scottish and English drink-driving limits. That might cause some practical problems in border constituencies such as that represented by my hon. Friend John Stevenson, who is no longer in his place.

In conclusion, I welcome the Bill. It is a huge step forward, even for people like me who were devolution sceptics to begin with. It will do an enormous amount to strengthen the Scottish Parliament and the Union. I look forward to supporting it in the Lobby tonight.