Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Steel of Aikwood Lord Steel of Aikwood Liberal Democrat 4:30 pm, 15th March 2012

My Lords, I suspect that there is nobody listed in the category in the Bill who does not live in Scotland, but the Minister is right in one respect: it was not always so. My predecessor as MP for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles lived in London-I do not say that critically; that was a fact. He did not come from Scotland, but he had a Scottish constituency. He came to visit the constituency dutifully from time to time, but he certainly would not have been regarded as having a close connection with Scotland nor would he have spent the majority of days in Scotland. So, although I cannot think of anyone who would be excluded by taking this out, as my noble friend Lord Forsyth suggests, it could happen.

It reminds me of a story that Jo Grimond used to tell about coming across one of the knights of the shires at King's Cross station at the start of the Summer Recess. He was putting his trunk into the guard's van on the train and he was in a very bad mood. Jo Grimond said to him, "Why are you so upset?". He said, "It is not the thought that I am going to my constituency; it is the thought that I shall have to go next year as well". Fortunately those days have gone and I do not think that that would apply now. None the less, it is a reasonable safeguard to have this clause in the Bill.