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Scotland Bill — Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 21st March 2012.

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Photo of The Earl of Caithness The Earl of Caithness Conservative 9:15 pm, 21st March 2012

My Lords, my Amendment 94E takes what my noble friend Lord Steel said a little bit further, and asks that the Electoral Commission set the question. It is quite clear that nothing the UK Government propose is going to be accepted by the Scottish Government, and nothing that the Scottish Government propose will be accepted by the UK Government.

Why not cut the politicians out? Let us ask the Electoral Commission not only to set the questions but to arrange all the counting, transferring the number of votes into a proper result that is based, exactly the same way the referendums were in 1979 and 1997, on each local authority area, rather than just Scotland. We would know that there would be a clear question-or questions, if we go down the route proposed by the noble Lord, Lord McConnell-but also that each area voted and how they voted, and that it was a fair process.

Taken out of the hands of politicians, it will not only be more acceptable to the people of Scotland, but in view of our earlier discussions, I think it would be more acceptable to the rest of the UK, who would feel that an independent authority is doing this rather than politicians.