David Mundell: May I start by paying tribute to Jimmy Hood, who died earlier this week? Jimmy was formerly my neighbouring MP and a constituent, and although I have to say that we did not agree on very much, we always got on very well. I remain grateful to Jimmy for his help and support when I was first elected to this House. Jimmy would have been proud to see himself as a traditional Labour man through and...
David Mundell: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that question. The Minister for Digital made it very clear that his approach to local authorities was based on the fact that the Scottish Government, who previously had responsibility for the roll-out, are three years behind on rolling out broadband in Scotland, and that is not good enough for people living in any of Scotland’s local authority areas. The...
David Mundell: I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. Connectivity is at the heart of the proposal that the five cross-border local authorities have brought forward in the borderlands package. My hon. Friend will be aware that the original intention for the roll-out of broadband in Scotland was to focus on the south of Scotland but, in their centralising way, the SNP Scottish Government put a stop to that.
David Mundell: I very much accept the point that the hon. Gentleman makes. It is not good enough for RBS to say that people can rely on internet and mobile banking when so many people in Scotland do not have access to the internet or effective mobile services. When I meet the Royal Bank tomorrow, I will convey the concerns—I think from across the House—about its programme of closures.
David Mundell: This is not even about funding; it is about spending the money and taking action to roll out broadband. Three years ago—I repeat, three years ago—there was an allocation of funding, and no action has been taken to procure the roll-out.
David Mundell: If anyone has embarrassed himself, it is the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, who sent out 35 tweets to tell people what a good job he was doing. The First Minister of Scotland sent my hon. Friend the Member for Angus (Kirstene Hair) a seven-tweet thread to tell her what a good job she was doing. People up and down Scotland who do not receive adequate broadband...
David Mundell: The Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations) provides a valuable forum for the UK Government and devolved Administrations to discuss EU exit. We took an important step forward at the last meeting in October by agreeing a set of principles to govern the consideration of frameworks. Another meeting will be held next Tuesday, and I hope to see significant progress then.
David Mundell: I agree with my hon. Friend. I look forward to the opportunity to continue the good progress that we are making in our framework discussions, which will lead to significantly more powers for Holyrood while maintaining the integrity of the UK’s internal market.
David Mundell: In his short time in this Parliament, my hon. Friend has already come to be seen as a champion for the fishing industry. I can give him an absolute guarantee: unlike the Scottish National party, which would take us straight back into the common fisheries policy, this Government will take Scotland and the rest of the UK out of that discredited policy.
David Mundell: I have been, and remain, absolutely clear that nothing will be done in any Brexit deal that will threaten the integrity of the United Kingdom, and particularly Scotland’s part in it.
David Mundell: I am quite clear that my red line is the integrity of the United Kingdom, and keeping Scotland in the United Kingdom, which people in Scotland voted for in 2014. We are leaving the EU as a United Kingdom, and nothing that the SNP does will stop that.
David Mundell: The industrial strategy is a comprehensive plan for boosting productivity to raise the earning power of people and businesses. We have been working constructively with the Scottish Government, who hold many of the policy levers that will help to make the industrial strategy a success in Scotland. We have proposed a review of inter-agency collaboration to maximise the coherence and impact of...
David Mundell: I was delighted to hear that Edinburgh airport has had its busiest year ever, so I agree absolutely with my hon. Friend and recognise that regional airports across the UK make a vital contribution to the economic health of the whole country. That is why we are developing a new aviation strategy that will consider how best to encourage and improve domestic connectivity, to the benefit of both...
David Mundell: My colleagues in that Department are well aware of the issues that the right hon. Gentleman raises, which are important in ensuring the development of tidal energy in particular. We will continue to look at what funding can be made available for that.
David Mundell: I absolutely will do that. My right hon. Friend will know that, at the recent conference of the parties event in Germany, there were considerable efforts on the part of the whole United Kingdom—the Scottish Government working with the UK Government —to deliver just that.
David Mundell: First, the material that has been provided to the Exiting the European Union Committee has also been provided to the devolved Administrations. The position was—and is—that officials from the UK and Scottish Governments are working together on the basis of analysis that they have both done.
David Mundell: The UK Government are working with colleagues in the devolved Administrations to carefully consider our approach to powers returning from the EU. At the last meeting of the JMC (EN) we agreed a set of principles and I am confident that we can take further steps at the next meeting to be held on 12 December.
David Mundell: I heard the eloquent speech that my hon. Friend the Member for East Renfrewshire (Paul Masterton) made during Monday’s debate. Of course, the Government will respond to the issues that he raised.
David Mundell: If the hon. Gentleman has concerns about the procedures of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, he can raise them through the Procedure Committee. He acknowledges exactly what happened: we had a debate; the Government listened and responded; and the Scotland Bill was amended for the better.
David Mundell: I do not support the devolution of immigration to Scotland. Three years ago, the Smith commission deliberated on what powers and responsibilities would be held in the Scottish Parliament and what would be held here in Westminster. It was agreed by all parties that Westminster would retain immigration.