Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:51 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 12:51 pm, 22nd October 2015

I am not giving way for a while.

These measures will also not deliver the Government’s declared aim. The Library has examined every Division since 2001—some 3,000 Divisions in all. Library staff looked at what would happen if no Scottish MPs had voted in any of those Divisions. They found just a tiny proportion where that would have changed the vote— 25 in all. Yes, I admit that perhaps I could understand the Government if all the measures that we are debating this afternoon were intended to deal with those 25 cases, but of the 25, nine were on UK-wide or England, Wales and Scotland legislation, such as anti-terrorism legislation, so not affected; 10 were on non-legislative motions, such as whether the screen should be installed, so also not affected; three were on private Members’ Bills and, to answer the question from Dr Whitford earlier, would not have been affected by the measures under consideration this afternoon; and one would have been tied and would therefore have fallen.

The most contentious subject, which the Leader of the House rather inadvertently deceptively mentioned in the previous debate, was on 27 January 2004, when the Higher Education Bill was given a Second Reading by five votes when 46 Scottish MPs had voted in favour and 15 against. Interestingly, the Tories voted against it then, but a few years later trebled tuition fees. However, that vote would not have been changed by today’s proposals, as I hope the Leader of the House acknowledges.

It would not have been changed, would it? He need only nod. It would not have been changed, would it?

[Interruption.]

Oh, he thinks it would. No. The vote was on Second Reading, and Second Reading is not covered, a point that he has made several times. He does not understand his own provisions which he introduced this afternoon.

[Interruption.]

No, it was not. There is no point in the Leader of the House intervening again if he does not understand his own proposals.