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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:59 am on 6th February 2020.

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Photo of Tommy Sheppard Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons 10:59 am, 6th February 2020

I have two questions for the Leader of the House this week. The first is: when can we expect the Government to bring forward proposals to scrap the English votes for English laws procedure, which is now an embarrassment to this Parliament and everyone in it? I ask because this week saw the outrageous spectacle of Scottish Members of Parliament being denied the opportunity to participate at Committee stage in legislation that would have a direct and material effect on the people they represent. The NHS Funding Bill will have an effect on the Scottish block grant, and it will therefore have an effect on the money available for my constituents. As much as the Government may try to laugh it off, this is actually a very serious matter that should be of concern to anyone who calls themselves a democrat.

My second question relates again to the Scottish claim of right. When I last asked the Leader of the House when he would bring forward legislation so that the Government might recognise and deal with the fact that they do not have a mandate in Scotland, he gave me a rather flippant response. In order to understand the Government’s motivation, let me ask him again: does he agree with the concept of the claim of right for Scotland, and does he agree that it is something that continues to exist, after 18 September 2014? I ask that question because not once, not twice, but three times since we last discussed it opinion polls have been published in Scotland that give an indication to the thinking of people in that country, and every single one shows that there is now a majority of people who wish Scotland to become an independent country. I congratulate the Government, because that rise in public opinion for independence is entirely their responsibility and entirely their contribution. I assure the Leader of the House that, when we in the SNP get started on our campaign, that figure will rise even further. If the Government really want to do something about the integrity of the Union, surely it is time for them to recognise the different situation that pertains in Scotland.