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 6:15 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) 6:15 pm, 21st March 2012

They may be very unfair on themselves but officials say, "Blame officials for poor punctuation". I think I will reserve my position on that. I apologise for forgetting to pick up the point raised by my noble friend. As he and the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, correctly identify, the Statement says that the Government will consider further devolution after a referendum on independence. I believe that that is consistent with the position set out by the Prime Minister and with the evolution of devolution to date. It has involved a careful assessment of the evidence.

One could go back to the constitutional convention or the Calman commission. It has involved consideration of its implications across the United Kingdom-it is important to remember that any devolution has implications for other parts of our United Kingdom-and it has generally proceeded with cross-party agreement. Those are all essential ingredients, perhaps not of porridge oats but for moving forward. The Government are committed to continuing to consider amendments to the devolution settlement on that basis. My party and others are doing their own thinking on what that might be, but, as we have seen to date, any substantial progress has been made on the basis of cross-party agreement. That is important.

I make one further point for clarification. My noble friend the Duke of Montrose is right: the word "modify" means to decrease or extend the subject matter of Schedule 5, and I am advised that the order which I took through the Scottish Parliament with regard to the Arts and Humanities Research Council was indeed a Section 30 order that added something to Schedule 5.