Results 81–100 of 577 for speaker:Mr Raymond Robertson

Higher Education (Scotland) (6 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: I congratulate the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) on securing today's debate. As he said, it follows some useful debates we had last session on school education and further education. I note that the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh), who initiated one of those debates, is in his place. I find it alarming that no Opposition Front-Bench Members felt that it was a...

Higher Education (Scotland) (6 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: We are willing to consider them as and when they come to us. The fact that one has been accredited does not mean that that will be the end of it. I hope that more will come on stream in the next academic year. That is a matter for the institutions, but we would do nothing to prevent it. The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland mentioned the committee of inquiry into higher education. The...

Higher Education (Scotland) (6 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: As the hon. Gentleman knows, the institutions are autonomous bodies. They are entitled to pursue that course of action, but the Government do not believe that the financial pressures are such that any institution in Scotland need do so and we would deplore such a decision. I am delighted that COSHEP has publicly distanced itself from the concept of top-up fees. Since 1992, the Government...

Higher Education (Scotland) (6 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: Of course I acknowledge that. I have told various institutions that we consider the private finance initiative as the first option when possible, but in some cases it will not, for whatever reason, be an option. In such cases, more traditional funding is required. The Government have acknowledged that, and I am happy to acknowledge it to the hon. Gentleman. The Scottish Office is proud of...

Land Ownership (Scotland) (6 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: I, too, congratulate the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) on securing this debate, and I have listened with great interest to the wide-ranging points that have been raised in it. I fully agree with the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan that land tenure and land ownership are vital issues. A sound system of land tenure and reliable and accessible information on it is an essential...

Land Ownership (Scotland) (6 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: Perhaps if the hon. Gentleman will allow me to speak—he spoke for half an hour, and I have seven minutes to respond to a debate that lasted one and a half hours—some of his questions might be answered. To make progress with that aim, in 1990 we asked the independent Scottish Law Commission to begin a major and wide-ranging review of property law to provide advice on the way ahead. In...

Land Ownership (Scotland) (6 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: Therefore—if the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan is serious about the issues that he raised today, and serious in bringing them to the attention of the House and the Government—he will take this opportunity to disown the obscene and xenophobic filth produced by his party's youth wing. My right hon. Friend Secretary of State has challenged him on two occasions to dissociate himself from...

Land Ownership (Scotland) (6 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: It is now on the record, for the third time, that the hon. Gentleman will not dissociate himself from that leaflet, which, as I said, is nothing short of obscene, xenophobic and anti-English filth. A great deal of nonsense has been talked about land ownership and management in Scotland. A landowner who does not live on his estate is not necessarily a bad manager of the land. There are those...

Land Ownership (Scotland) (6 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: There is no draft Bill; nor is there a report.

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: Nobody will understand.

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: The idea that the Conservative party in Scotland has ever done anything that successfully managed to get on the side of public opinion is a myth that only the hon. Gentleman can live with. The Secretary of State said that the poll tax would have people dancing in the streets, but it had Mrs. Thatcher dancing out of Downing street, and it was the rage of Scottish people that made the...

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: It has taken the Minister a long time to get round to mastering procedure. Ours is a reasoned amendment and I intend to deal with the points in it. We will not oppose the Second Reading. A reasoned amendment is the traditional way to make points about the bad features of a Bill and I shall also be clear about the bits of the Bill that we accept.

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: The right hon. Gentleman is bouncing up. He spoke for nearly an hour and 10 minutes, admittedly with interventions, but it was still one of the longest Front-Bench speeches for a long time. There are clear differences between the Bill that was presented yesterday and the one that we are debating. Those differences are in the reasoned amendment and that is why we shall press that amendment to...

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: I know that it has been a bad day for the Secretary of State, but he and every hon. Member knows the purpose of a reasoned amendment. Other parties may take a different view from us and that is quite realistic. In last night's vote fewer than half of Conservative Members voted for Second Reading of the Home Secretary's Crime (Sentences) Bill. [Interruption.] The good boys were there. In...

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: The 1991 legislation was at least in a previous Parliament. There was a general election between the two pieces of legislation. The Government are repudiating legislation that was put through in this Parliament by the Secretary of State's predecessor. The Bill would abolish the current system of parole and early release and replace it with a new system—to use the Government's own words....

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: Of course and Parliament is discussing the matter, but, as the right hon. Member for Witney (Mr. Hurd) said in a devastating speech that was critical of the Home Secretary's Bill, the judges must be listened to. It would be nice to think that the Government Scottish Front-Bench team ever listened to those judges at all. Reform of our criminal justice system should be plugged into what is...

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: I have already given way to the hon. Gentleman. Generosity knows no bounds, but I am not giving way again. Of course, there should be honesty and consistency in sentencing, but to cut remission drastically will lead to a dramatic increase in the prison population, as we know, turning our already crowded prisons into powder kegs. That point was made last night by the former Foreign Secretary,...

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: The Secretary of State, from the majesty of his position, says that that is not so. Of course, sentences should mean what they say.

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: That was a helpful intervention, which I am sure that others will read in the morning with great interest. The dispute between the doomed Conservatives will be of interest outside, but the wise words offered by those distinguished Tory grandees yesterday are likely to carry some weight when the present gimmick-ridden and election-based legislation is properly examined by those outside. I had...

Orders of the Day — Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill (5 Nov 1996)

Mr Raymond Robertson: My hon. Friend is right. It is all very well for Ministers to come along now and say that they have an answer. In an interesting answer earlier in the debate, the Secretary of State quoted 23 cases, of which five would qualify under these provisions. We can take it from his non-answer at that time that the Lord Advocate did not appeal against the leniency of any of the sentences handed down...


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