Scotland Bill - Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 29th February 2016.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 10:00 pm, 29th February 2016

My Lords, I wanted to delete this clause entirely in Committee, and was persuaded that the approach being taken by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, was perhaps more forensic and justified. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Stephen, that half a loaf is better than no loaf. This is a very useful example, both in the original draft and the slightly grudging response from the Government, which we can discuss when we come to debate the Strathclyde review and the Government’s attitude towards the use of secondary legislation.

Our previous debate, when we spent 10 minutes arguing whether the House of Commons ought to be able to discuss the fiscal framework, to my mind underlined an Executive who are increasingly treating Parliament as the ornamental part of the constitution. That is very regrettable.

I thank my noble friend for at least moving as far as he has, but I would not want him to think that the Bill as it stands is in any way acceptable. I hope that on a future occasion we will have more opportunity to discuss the increasing use of secondary legislation. If it is not a Henry VIII clause, perhaps it is now a Queen Anne clause, in deference to the noble Lord, Lord McAvoy, who thinks that this is putting the Scottish Parliament in the same position as it was in 1707.