We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Scotland Bill — Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 21st March 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Wallace of Tankerness Lord Wallace of Tankerness Lords Spokesperson (Attorney General's Office), Lords Spokesperson (Wales Office), The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Scotland Office) 10:00 pm, 21st March 2012

My Lords, the reason for disagreeing Clause 10 is that this proposed new clause will replace it. The amendment will widen the scope of the provision contained in Close 10 so that the savings provision does not apply solely in situations where legislative competence has been transferred to the Scottish Parliament only temporarily under a Section 30 order. It will ensure that the savings provision will operate where any alterations are made to reserved matters or to Schedule 4 to the Scotland Act 1998, whether by the making, revocation or expiry of a Section 30 order or otherwise-for example, by amendment in primary legislation.

There is widespread recognition that clarity is required regarding the status of Acts of the Scottish Parliament in the event that legislative competence is reduced. The amendment has been tabled following comments from the previous Scotland Bill Committee and the Law Society of Scotland. It will ensure that Acts of the Scottish Parliament that have been validly made within the legislative competence that existed at the time do not cease to have effect purely because of changes to the boundaries of reserved and devolved matters. Such provisions would cease to have effect only if this was provided for in an enactment.

The amendment clarifies that provisions contained in an Act of the Scottish Parliament that are no longer within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament will not automatically fall following that alteration of competence. Therefore, no gaps in the law will be created as a result. This means that a positive decision will need to be made to repeal provisions in an Act of the Scottish Parliament. This could be done in the legislation providing for the re-reservation or in separate legislation passed by the UK Parliament. As a result of this amendment, a provision in an Act of the Scottish Parliament that was once within legislative competence, prior to an alteration in that competence, will not for that reason alone cease to have effect. It will cease to have effect only if an enactment provides otherwise.

The wording of the amendment is intended to clarify two things. First, the previous operation of that ASP and anything done under it, up to point of the alteration in legislative competence, is not affected. Secondly, any alteration in legislative competence does not affect the continued future operation of the ASP, including any powers exercisable under it. For example, it would ensure that any powers of Scottish Ministers under an Act of the Scottish Parliament to make subordinate legislation would continue to be exercisable by them notwithstanding the alteration of legislative competence.

Proposed new subsection (3) of the new provision makes a technical amendment to Section 92 of the Scotland Act 1998, "Queen's Printer for Scotland", in consequence of the addition of the provision in proposed new Section 30(6) of the Act. I hope that the Committee will agree that this is a sensible amendment, which will strengthen the provision that was originally contained in Clause 10. I beg to move.