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Results 201–220 of 823 for speaker:Robert Walter

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I do not want to anticipate the hon. Gentleman's speech, which I am sure he will make later in the debate if he catches Madam Deputy Speaker's eye. The essence of my Bill is that the Speaker can, if he is so minded, rule that Scottish Members could participate in the passage of such legislation. It is highly unlikely that a piece of exclusively Scottish legislation would be debated in this...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. He will no doubt wish to probe that point in Committee. I still believe that it is highly unlikely, and I cannot conceive of the circumstances in which any Government would bring before the House a piece of essentially domestic Scottish legislation. The noises coming from Holyrood would be such that even a Government with a substantial majority...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I shall give way to the hon. Lady, then I shall attempt to make some progress.

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I thank the hon. Lady for her intervention. It was not my intention that during my contribution we should get into a discussion of what the outcome of the elections on 3 May will be and the consequences of that. I had anticipated that a number of Members might suggest that after my Bill was passed, a situation might arise in which the will of the English Members of Parliament in this House...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: It was indeed 20 years ago. As I am no longer constrained by having to speak in an official capacity for my party, I can say that I thought that the community charge was a much fairer tax than the current—

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I will get back to that, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: If the House will indulge me for a moment, I will make progress. I want to move from the historical perspectives to the substance of the Bill. The Act of Union with Scotland was a pair of Acts of Parliament passed in 1706 and 1707, which were given effect on 1 May 1707 by, respectively, the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts were the implementation of the treaty...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I anticipate, Madam Deputy Speaker, that the hon. Gentleman will provide us with all sorts of interesting anecdotes if he succeeds in catching your eye later. The people of West Limerick have not been governed by this House for some considerable time, but I do not think that anybody would suggest that they are in any way under-represented.

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intriguing question, but remind him that this is a private Member's Bill. Perhaps I am a traditionalist, but I would not expect members of the shadow Cabinet, or members of the Cabinet if the Bill were promoted by a Labour Member, to be listed as sponsors.

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: If hon. Members could restrain themselves, I am trying to answer the point raised by the hon. Member for Dumfries and Galloway (Mr. Brown). The Conservative party has set up—it has been in existence for about a year now—a democracy taskforce under the very able chairmanship of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke), which has charged itself with...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for putting us back on track, however tempted I might be to respond to the last point.

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I thank the hon. Gentleman for providing confirmation of my original point, which is that the matter is being discussed by our democracy taskforce under the chairmanship of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe. Let me go back to the West Lothian question. Of course, Tam Dalyell was very much opposed to devolution. In his 1977 book, "Devolution: The End of Britain?", he...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: That is exactly the point of my Bill, which would redress that kind of injustice.

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: Let me crave the indulgence of Members on both sides of the House and make some progress, because I am conscious that time is moving on and that several other hon. Members want to speak. Let me go back to Tam Dalyell's four options. His first was that there should be no Scottish or Welsh representation at Westminster, which is clearly unacceptable. His second option was the simple maintenance...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention, because what happened in the case of Northern Ireland was Tam Dalyell's option three—a reduction in the representation. The hon. Gentleman may recall, although he may not have been in the House at the time, that when the original Stormont Parliament was in place, Northern Ireland representation was just 12 Members, so Northern Ireland was...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: The hon. Gentleman has obviously repeated, albeit more eloquently, my point that that is not the way forward. The settlement between the Westminster Parliament and the then Stormont Parliament was an unsatisfactory one. That is why I am proposing something different today. The fact of the matter is that, even after boundary changes in Scotland and anticipated boundary changes in Wales, both...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I am not sure that the island community of the Isle of Wight would necessarily share the hon. Lady's view, as it has more than 100,000 electors and the matter of geography is given as the excuse. Let me move on and get to the guts of what I am proposing. The reality today is that Scotland has both primary and secondary legislative powers over areas such as health, which my hon. Friend the...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: The right hon. Gentleman makes his point, but if he wished to introduce legislation to reverse the devolution settlement, he would probably find that there was no majority in the House to do so. Certainly in Scotland and Wales, there would most definitely not be a majority to reverse that legislation. There may be hon. Members in this House and in Scotland and Wales who would share his view...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: Of course I am prepared to admit that the view that I expressed at that time was probably not the correct one. I suspect that the right hon. Gentleman's former colleague Lord Kinnock might well share that view. I was right in saying at that time that the exercise would be a lot more expensive than the Government of the day were suggesting—and it has proved to be a much more expensive...

Orders of the Day: House of Commons (Participation) Bill (9 Mar 2007)

Robert Walter: I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising that matter. He may disagree, but when I look at the position of the Mayor of London and the Greater London assembly, I view it as a matter of local government rather than of devolution in the sense of how powers have been devolved to the Assemblies in Northern Ireland and Wales and to the Scottish Parliament.


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