“Creation of UK-wide frameworks

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:00 pm on 4th December 2017.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 7:00 pm, 4th December 2017

I do not know what part of that line the hon. Gentleman does not understand:

Ministers of the Crown shall only create UK-wide frameworks”.

It does not talk about anybody else. I will leave that there. It is unfortunate. I do not know why Labour Front Benchers could not have come to us and had a conversation about it. We could have put forward our concerns. We could have come together consensually, as we have been doing quite a lot, and worked something out, but unfortunately that was not the approach they wanted to adopt. That was up to them.

Back to my friends in the Scottish Conservative party—I feel like I have neglected them now. This evening is a test for them. The future and the principles of the devolution settlement are up for grabs this evening. They can trust these guys here—the Ministers—trustworthy though they may be, to do the right thing. Perhaps they have received assurances that the Government are going to do all these things and that everything is going to be all right.

What is not acceptable—I know most of my Scottish Conservative colleagues and friends are new to this place—is for this to go to the unelected House of Lords to be amended. That is what increasingly this Government are doing. They do not like to accept amendments in this place, which is a democratic outrage. This House, which we are all elected to by our constituents, should be the exclusive place in which these things are resolved and fixed down. If those Tories think that we should resolve these really important issues in a place that is full of unelected donors and cronies and failed Members of Parliament—I am thinking about the guy who opposed me in the Scottish Parliament and who managed to get himself in there and a role in the legislature—then that is their view, not mine. When we have debates about such critical issues, we owe it to our constituents to ensure that it is we who decide and determine them and not those in another place, which is unelected.

I hope that the Scottish Tories are right—I am looking round now and can see that they have full confidence that this will be resolved and fixed down—but the one way that they can definitely guarantee that they will get their way is to vote. That is what we do in this House: we vote on issues that we agree on and support. For the sake of the devolution settlement and to ensure that we get some sort of solution to everything that we need to get fixed, they should back us tonight, stand up for Scotland and make sure that these amendments are passed.