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Scotland Bill — Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 21st March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Browne of Ladyton Lord Browne of Ladyton Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland) 4:15 pm, 21st March 2012

I do not know whether I am grateful to the noble Lord for that, because I had a very clever ending to this part of my contribution and he has prevented me moving towards it as quickly as I wanted to.

I have never been able to do this before in a debate: I intend to quote the Clerk of the Parliaments. There is a Library note on the issue of financial privilege; it goes into this issue in some detail, and only our Parliament could produce something like this that was so interesting and esoteric. Paragraph 18 of this report says:

"In conclusion, it may be worth making two points ... First, until the Commons asserts its privilege, the Lords is fully entitled to debate and agree to amendments with privilege implications".

It seems, and I am grateful for this, that this is the complete answer to the noble Lord's amendment. It would be ill advised of this House, given that it has that power, to seek for the first time to try to control it with legislation at its own hand. I cannot, as I am sure the noble Lord will be devastated to hear, support his amendment in these circumstances.