Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:36 am on 28th May 2015.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Leader of the House of Commons) 9:36 am, 28th May 2015

First, may I congratulate you very warmly on your re-election, Mr Speaker? I was one of your initial sponsors so it is particularly gratifying to see you in your place once again.

May I also congratulate the Leader of the House on being appointed to what I think is one of the great roles in this House? He and I entered Parliament together in 2001, and look at what has become of him! It is good to see him in his place. We on the Scottish National party Benches intend to keep in this Session to the good-natured but robust debates we have come to enjoy, and which have characterised business questions for much of the past few years.

Yesterday we found that the Government intend to make progress on their plans for English votes for English laws by changing the standing orders of this House. I listened very carefully to your ruling on this issue, Mr Speaker. I have to make an appeal to the Leader of the House: this is no way to discuss something of such constitutional significance. This affects the rights of individual Members of this House, and we have to have a Bill—we have to have legislation. I now hope that, for something as important as this, the right hon. Gentleman will think about it and bring a Bill before this House, so that we as hon. and right hon. Members have the opportunity to properly scrutinise and properly debate something as important as this.

When are we going to get a statement from the Scotland Office on the outcome of the leak inquiry into the botched smearing of Scotland’s First Minister? The former Secretary of State, Mr Carmichael, has already said that he would have resigned from that position over his role in this nonsense, but surely we must now hear from the Secretary of State himself on the role of the Scotland Office in this attempted smear.

Lastly, the Leader of the House is now clearly seeing that the real Opposition in this House sit on the SNP Benches. Labour, rudderless and leaderless, with its unedifying rush to the right—the Tory-lite right—by the leadership candidates, will not be holding this Government to account; it will be those of us on these Benches who will do so, and it is a job we look forward to.