Clause 7 - National Lottery Distribution Fund: apportionment

Part of National Lottery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 25th October 2005.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Whip 4:00 pm, 25th October 2005

I echo the hon. Gentleman’s sentiments. Perhaps as a Member representing a Scottish constituency, I have a particular interest in the matter. I, too, find it strange when reading through the Bill to see the Welsh Assembly listed as a consultee, yet in Scotland the equivalent body, the Scottish Parliament, is not. It lists just “the Scottish Ministers”.

That led me to wonder why it was the Scottish Ministers and not the Scottish Executive, and which Scottish Ministers it would be. Would it be the Culture Minister or different Ministers? I wondered how much thought had gone into the provision. There may well be a good reason for suggesting “the Scottish Ministers”. I questioned it, however, because I wondered to what extent we in the Westminster Parliament should dictate to the devolved Administration in Scotland how it should wish to be consulted.

If the amendment were agreed to, and “the Scottish Parliament” rather than “the Scottish Ministers” were inserted, it would be up to the Scottish Parliament to set up a specific Committee, or to leave it to the relevant Minister or the Executive to liaise with the Secretary of State. At least that decision could be taken within the devolved Administration.

Since devolving power to Holyrood in Scotland is one excellent thing that Labour has done since 1997, I wonder why “the Scottish Ministers” is in the Bill. I shall be interested to hear the answer to that.