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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Tommy Sheppard Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons 10:30 am, 16th January 2020

I note that we are to begin Opposition day debates again, and ask the Leader of the House to recognise that the Scottish National party suffered something of a disadvantage in the last Parliament, in as much as there were about one and a half days of time that we ought to have been allocated, but were not. I hope, therefore, that the third party of the House will be granted an Opposition day in the short term.

I understand that NHS Funding Bill was in the Government’s manifesto, and they made a big feature of the issue in their election campaign, but it really is a political stunt of the greatest order. Notwithstanding that, I understand that we are talking about large sums of money, and it is inconceivable that this would not have consequences for Scotland through the Barnett formula. Therefore may I ask whether this Bill is to be considered in Legislative Grand Committee, either instead of or as well as in Bill Committee? If it is, what opportunity would Scottish representatives have to put forward their views and vote on these matters? If the answer is that they will have none, is this not an unnecessary evil and is it not time, at the start of this Parliament, to reconsider these ill-advised measures that were brought in by David Cameron?

I did not receive a satisfactory response to this question last time, so I ask again: when will the Government bring forward proposals so that this House can consider the fact that it does not have a mandate in Scotland? For the first time in this Union Parliament, the two principal countries have a different political mandate on the question of the constitution. That is not something that this Government should ignore, and it is certainly not something that this Parliament can ignore. If Parliament does ignore it, it will suffer consequences for its integrity. Are the Government going to ignore this, or will they do something about it?

Finally, it would help me to frame future questions if I could ask the Leader of the House personally: is he committed to the claim of right for Scotland, which says that the people of Scotland have the sovereign right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs?