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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 Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 4:15 pm, 21st March 2012

I have to say to my noble and learned friend that that was a disappointing response. I thought that if I gave him the chance to discuss this important constitutional position again, having thought about the arguments, he would perhaps say that he would narrow the rather wide focus of the Bill. I wonder how the House would react if my right honourable friend's Budget was implemented with a Finance Bill which said that it would be possible to introduce new taxes by Order in Council, approved by both Houses of Parliament. I think there would be an absolute stampede, yet that is what we are proposing should happen to people in Scotland. Having praised my noble and learned friend, I think that he is just a little bit flippant about this. The reason I brought this issue back was not to waste the time of the House but to underline that something very important is being done here which, as I have said, breaches a principle established in this country after ship money.

I hope that my noble friend Lord Steel is right, because I can think of nothing that would sweep Alex Salmond from power more quickly than announcing that he was going to put a tax on dogs-