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Schedule 1 — The Crofting Commission

Part of Crofting Reform (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:15 am on 1st July 2010.

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Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party 11:15 am, 1st July 2010

Amendment 101 effectively allows ministers to undelegate—I am not sure whether that is a word—the power to select a person to chair the commission to the members of the commission.

The Government accepted at stage 2 Peter Peacock's amendment that enables ministers to delegate that function, on the understanding that it was agreed that provision would need to be made at stage 3 to cover the scenario in which the board of the commission was unable to agree on a convener and ministers would therefore need to exercise that power.

Amendment 102 seems to be rather confused. The Scottish ministers cannot set out their reasons for not delegating their power of appointment in the annual report to which the amendment refers, because the report is not produced by the Scottish ministers. It is to be produced by the commission under section 2B of the 1993 act. The Scottish ministers are required to lay a copy of the commission's annual report before Parliament along with any comments that they consider to be appropriate, but it is not their report.

Leaving aside those obvious problems with amendment 102, I tell Liam McArthur right now what reasons Scottish ministers might have for not delegating the power to appoint the convener. If the election was to produce members of the commission whom Scottish ministers felt did not have the necessary skills or experience to chair a multimillion-pound NDPB, or if it produced a person with whom ministers did not think that they could form a good working relationship, which might threaten the chain of accountability that ministers have to Parliament over the performance of Executive NDPBs, they may choose not to delegate the power to appoint the convener.

As I have just given Liam McArthur the reasons why that might happen, and given that ministers cannot write the commission's report for it, I ask him not to move amendment 102.

I move amendment 101.