Scotland Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 22nd February 2016.

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Photo of Lord McAvoy Lord McAvoy Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland), Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Lords) 3:30 pm, 22nd February 2016

My Lords, I wish to make it clear from the start that the Labour Party will not support the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean. The facts of life are that the future of the United Kingdom is at stake, and while I certainly would not accuse the noble Lord of exaggeration, it is becoming clear that with his oratorical skills—I do not think anyone in the Chamber can match him, although some Members on my side are a match for him in maintaining a position—he seems to be succeeding in creating an atmosphere of crisis. With all due respect, he has taken a drama and made a crisis out of it. I do not say that he exaggerates, as that would be unfair and untrue, but a sense of calm, reason and responsibility has to pervade this Chamber. We are speaking about the future of Scotland and of this United Kingdom.

The Minister has made the point that there is a precedent because the last Scotland Act proceeded to implement matters with the detail being discussed later. Quite frankly, apart from the procedures of this House, the practical effect of the noble Lord’s amendment to the Motion being passed would be to kill off the negotiations and the chance of reaching a successful conclusion to these important discussions. I believe that this amendment has been devised to kill off the Scotland Bill, the fiscal framework procedure and the progress being made in Scotland.