Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 12:45 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 12:45 pm, 15th March 2012

My Lords, I very respectfully remind my noble and learned friend that the Bill is before Parliament. In his remarks about legislative consent, he indicated that the Government might have to bring forward some amendments as a result of the negotiations that are being carried out by Ministers. Ministers cannot just presume the consent of Parliament. It strikes me as extremely odd that we should be half way through the Committee stage on a Bill that was introduced more than a year ago, and these negotiations are still continuing. I do not know if my noble friend is a fisherman. I am. If you want to land a salmon, you play it for a long time. In this case, the Salmond seems to be playing the Minister. He is deciding the timetable and what amendments may be put before us. We are being told that we can only consider them at the last minute, against a deadline. This is a ridiculous position for us to be in.

I have two specific questions for the Minister. Is he saying that, in the absence of a legislative consent Motion, the Bill will not go ahead? Or is he saying that he is in negotiation and will bring forward reasonable amendments, but that the Bill will go ahead? That is the crucial thing that he needs to tell the House now.