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Scotland Bill — Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 21st March 2012.

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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) 7:00 pm, 21st March 2012

My Lords, I was asked on one or two occasions whether it would be legal to have a referendum on so-called devo-max without authority being conferred by this Parliament, either by a Section 30 order or by legislation on the Scottish Parliament. I was very clear that that, too, would change the relationship between Scotland and England and therefore it would be outwith the competence of the Scottish Parliament. I hope that that reassures the noble Lord.

As the noble Lord, Lord Reid, indicated, there are some who support approaches short of separation, such as devo-max or devo-plus. We must be clear that there has been no single, agreed definition of any of these terms. It is the Government's firm view that we should not intertwine questions about the future balance of devolution in the United Kingdom with the question of Scotland's place in the union.