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Robert Walter: Well, okay—yes.
Robert Walter: No, the Bill does not mean that. As I said in answer to the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath), I regard the Greater London assembly and the powers of the Mayor of London as local government, not devolved government as in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Robert Walter: London's position in the world is due to its financial services industry and the power of the City of London as the world's pre-eminent financial services market. That is a matter for the Treasury, and is not devolved to the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly. It is a United Kingdom matter, which does not arise in this debate. There are three, possibly four, solutions. The fourth...
Robert Walter: I suspect that the hon. Gentleman believes that we should follow that route, but I shall allow him to say so.
Robert Walter: I do not wish to anticipate the outcome of my party's democracy taskforce. If it proposed an English Parliament, which would be a major constitutional change, I suspect that it would also propose a referendum on that. However, I fear that I anticipate too much, because I suspect that that is not the way it will go.
Robert Walter: It is clear that the north of England did not want a regional assembly. I think that the people of the north of England would probably vote against an English Parliament. I would argue against it for the reasons that I was about to state.
Robert Walter: That was an interesting intervention. There is a genuine sense of injustice among my constituents. They feel that we should do something to tackle the matter. That is why I am promoting the Bill and attempting to run through the options. An English Parliament presupposes a form of separate English Government, with an English First Minister, English Ministries and so on. I contend that we have...
Robert Walter: There would be only one set of salaries, buildings and civil servants. We already have the ability to govern England from an existing Parliament by simply creating a mechanism whereby Mr. Speaker designates the legislation and matters that relate to England—or England and Wales—rather than the whole of the United Kingdom. The second solution is to reduce the number of Members of...
Robert Walter: I shall not go into any more detail on that, because I have taken up rather a lot of the House's time this morning, although I suspect that most of it has been taken up by interventions rather than my contribution. Before concluding, I should like to discuss the provisions in the Bill to exclude a reduction in the number of Members of Parliament, because that is not the way forward. The title...
Robert Walter: Statutory instruments that pertain exclusively to Scotland would normally be dealt with by the Scottish Parliament. United Kingdom statutory instruments would be covered by the provisions relating to all hon. Members.
Robert Walter: I am conscious of the time and need to make some progress. I am coming to an end, and hon. Members will have the opportunity to make their own contributions if they catch your eye, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Robert Walter: Just on this point.
Robert Walter: As I understand the current situation, it is incumbent on the Clerks of the House to determine the territorial extent of the Bills that are brought before them. They would advise the Speaker accordingly. If the legislation that the right hon. Gentleman mentioned had had implications for Scotland because its territorial extent included Scotland, it would have been considered by Scottish hon....
Robert Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what fine the European Commission has imposed on the Government due to its failure to pay the 2005 single farm payments; and from which resources payment of the fine will be drawn.
Robert Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff in each primary care trust in England were (a) made redundant and (b) given early retirement in the three months ending (i) 30 September 2006 and (ii) 31 December 2006.
Robert Walter: The EU mission has been conducted under the Berlin-plus arrangements, whereby the operational commander is the deputy supreme commander Europe NATO, General Sir John Reith—a British general. Given that the Minister said that this was a model operation and given that the new head of the EU military staff as of yesterday is General David Leakey, another British general, will the Minister...
Robert Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK military personnel were deployed to (a) EU military missions and (b) administrative functions within EU institutions on 1 January 2007; and how many personnel were deployed at each location.
Robert Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many problems with service families accommodation at Blandford Camp were reported to Modern Housing Solutions in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006; and how many of these were satisfactorily rectified within three months of notification.
Robert Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment she has made of progress towards the autonomy of Papua within the Republic of Indonesia.
Robert Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy are on the export from the UK of equipment to Indonesia for use by police, civil and military authorities for internal security purposes.