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Scotland Bill — Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:45 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) 8:45 pm, 21st March 2012

The noble Lord makes an important point, which was reflected in some of the responses to the consultation, not least from SSE. My noble friend Lord Forsyth and the noble Lord, Lord Empey, made the point that we want the debate to move on to the substance of independence, a point also made by my noble friend Lord Caithness when he raised the question of the currency. Those are questions that the Scottish Government ought to be addressing. I entirely agree. It is important that we get the process resolved, and resolved swiftly, but it is equally important that we get on to the substantive debate about the benefits to Scotland from remaining part of the United Kingdom, part of the most successful union of nations, certainly in modern times, and possibly for even longer.

As noble Lords will be aware, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State has raised six questions with the Scottish Government to which we still await answers. Many others, including Members of your Lordships' House, have raised other questions. I am confident that when we get to the substance of the referendum debate, we can expose the weaknesses in the independence argument and do so on a positive footing by showing what is really positive about Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom. On that basis, I invite the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.