Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 12:31 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Labour 12:31 pm, 15th March 2012

If the noble Lord waited a little longer, he might find out exactly what I was going to say. It is always a good idea to sit and listen, rather than anticipate what someone is going to say and jump up. I used to represent the Leader of the House. I looked after his interests. I made sure that, as a resident of Mauchline, he was well looked after. I hope that he will give me some respect for having looked after his interests for 26 years, a not inconsiderable period of time, and allow me to speak.

I want to add to what the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, has said. I agree with him in relation to sitting on a Thursday, which is another mischief that seems to have been done. I also want to raise something which the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, did not raise; that is, the lack of time between Committee stage and Report stage. We have only one weekend between the two. How are we going to be able properly to formulate amendments between Committee stage and Report stage? I am also concerned about the fact that the second day of the Report stage is 28 March. This time, instead of choosing a Thursday, the Government have chosen the day before we go into Recess. It is rather like after the Lord Mayor's procession when the dust cart comes along to clean up-we are treated being treated as an afterthought.

The most serious issue concerns the sequence of events for dealing with this legislation as between here and the Scottish Parliament. We are rushing it through and dealing with it quickly in Committee-we shall deal with it even more speedily on Report-and yet the Scotland Bill Committee reported on 13 December 2011 and that report has not even appeared on the agenda of the Scottish Parliament. When will it appear? I have been led to believe that the Government may have had some indication that there will be a legislative consent Motion. The Minister should tell us whether that legislative consent Motion is going to be tabled. If the Government know about it, if they have been given any informal indication that it is going to be tabled, we need to know that. It is ridiculous that we should be left in the dark. My noble friend Lord Barnett was left in the dark on a whole range of issues earlier and I have complete sympathy with him. This seems to happen an awful lot.

I hope the Leader of the House will give the House a little more information and allow it an opportunity and a little more time to discuss matters instead of things being done by a little clique behind the scenes.