Humber Bridge Bill — Third Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:38 pm on 27th November 2013.

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Photo of Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Labour 3:38 pm, 27th November 2013

My Lords, further to the matter raised by my noble friend Lord Hunt, this is a very serious matter. The Scottish Government are proceeding as if this so-called White Paper is of no concern to the people of the rest of the United Kingdom—indeed, of no concern to this Parliament—yet constitutional matters are still reserved to this Parliament. Thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, next Thursday we are going to have a debate of only an hour to discuss an astonishing unilateral declaration by the Scottish Government of the date of independence, assuming that this matter is going to go through without any difficulty. Much more is needed than this and I am glad that, as well as the Chairman of Committees, the Leader of the House, the Chief Whip and the Deputy Leader of the House, who is very knowledgeable on these matters, are in their places.

I suggest that, as well as what my noble friend has suggested, every Member of this House should be provided with a copy of this document. It is relevant to us and we should be considering it. Further, there should be a Statement in this House and in the other House of the implications of this document for the rest of the United Kingdom and, as well as the one-hour debate that the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, has secured, there ought to be a full day’s debate in government time so that we can discuss the implications. If not, we are going to sleep-walk into the break-up of the United Kingdom. If that is what other noble Members want, it is certainly not what I want and I hope that we will do something about it.