Europe, External Affairs and Culture – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 21st June 2007.
To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has for a more formal and structured relationship between it and the UK Government. (S3O-272)
We plan to press for reactivation of the joint ministerial committee structure.
I had planned to say, "I thank the minister for her reply," but her answer was a bit limited.
Does she accept that the shambles that led to the First Minister making an emergency statement to the Parliament a fortnight ago was brought about, in part, by a lack of preparedness and the absence of an expectation at Westminster that there would or even could be a change of Government in Scotland? I urge her to ensure that she and her colleagues are not found wanting on the same charge, therefore I encourage them to establish positive working relationships with the Conservatives at Westminster, who will most likely form the next Government, when and if Gordon Brown finds the courage to secure a legitimate mandate. Perhaps she should have a draft letter standing by.
I thank my friend Hugh O'Donnell for telling me to keep a straight face—I will do that. I agree that the way in which the Westminster Government dealt with the Scottish Government recently was shambolic. I have every faith in the First Minister of Scotland to be smart enough not to allow that to happen to him.