Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 2019 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:49 pm on 10th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Davidson of Glen Clova Lord Davidson of Glen Clova Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland), Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow Advocate-General for Scotland 4:49 pm, 10th April 2019

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his exposition of the order. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, has said, no one could disagree with it.

We are coming up to the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Scottish Parliament and of Scottish Ministers. At some point, it might be interesting to hear the view of Her Majesty’s Government of the performance of the devolved Executive over the past two decades, with some focus on its delivery in devolved areas such as education and health. That might be both interesting and instructive.

As for the order, the noble Lord, Lord Bruce, has raised a good and sensible point. Concurrency of Scottish Ministers and the Secretary of State in relation to the functions raises the possibility, although it may be remote, of differences of view and possibly a dispute. Do Her Majesty’s Government envisage that any disputes might arise and how, if they arose, they might be resolved?

I have asked a question about resolution of disputes. As the Minister may recollect, I asked a similar question when the forestry order came up, but I do not recall getting an answer—perhaps matters will alter. It may simply be—this is to a degree foreshadowed by the observations of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce—that this is an area where Her Majesty’s Government do not detect the possibility of differences arising between Scottish Ministers and the Secretary of State.