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Scotland Bill — Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:15 pm on 21st March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Browne of Ladyton Lord Browne of Ladyton Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland) 8:15 pm, 21st March 2012

I thank my noble friend for his intervention, although I have no idea what the answer is to the question that he asks. We get many amendments that allow us to explore issues that are of less relevance and importance to the people of Scotland, but I certainly welcome amendments that allow us to explore issues that are important. Through their amendments, my noble friend and the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, have been utterly diligent on this Bill. They deserve a great degree of credit for the amount of work that they have put into preparing amendments, by which they have created opportunities for some very good debates in Committee. They will be a quarry for the future for many good arguments that can be put forward about the positive nature of the United Kingdom.

To go back to my point, the noble and learned Lord says, "Not this Bill", and I agree. He says that the preferred option is a Section 30 Order in Council, and I agree. The consultation reveals some very good and compelling arguments in some of the responses about why that is the right way to go. I have adopted some of them. The noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, asked the Minister, "What if there is no Section 30? Where does that leave you?". The noble and learned Lord answered, "If agreement cannot be reached, we need to consider other options". I understand why that form of words is the most that he can give your Lordships.