Legislative Programme

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:37 am on 16th June 1999.

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Photo of Keith Raffan Keith Raffan Liberal Democrat 11:37 am, 16th June 1999

Whatever school of comedy I went to, it cannot compete with the school of farce to which Mr Campbell belongs.

I want to deal with the legislative programme. I raised the serious point of pre-legislative scrutiny with the First Minister during questions on his statement. As the Parliament settles down, I hope that we will have time for such scrutiny, unlike at Westminster. It is important that concepts behind legislation are first put in green paper discussion form to be closely examined by the relevant committee. I am sure that the Conservative party in Scotland will agree with that, as that process would enable us to avoid such unfortunate measures as the poll tax.

If proposals can be examined in advance, we will be able to produce much better legislation; we can set a trend that will get Westminster to change its bad ways. That is why I hope that there will not be a straitjacket of 12 months for the legislative process. I hope that we can have three or four months of pre-legislative scrutiny, when committees can take specialist evidence on the concepts at the basis of legislation before that legislation is debated.