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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 Liam McArthur Liam McArthur Liberal Democrat 11:15 am, 1st July 2010

I confess that I am still of the view that commissioners—elected and appointed—should be responsible for appointing a chair from among their number. That best reflects crofters' expectations of the democratisation of the commission. It also seems the most effective means of ensuring that the commissioners, however they find themselves in post, unite around a common purpose.

Nevertheless, I was happy to accept Peter Peacock's compromise that ministers should delegate to commissioners the power to appoint a chair. I accept the possibility that—on rare occasions, I hope—agreement may not be reached on a suitable candidate and it should then be left to the minister to appoint a chair. In that regard, I accept the rationale behind amendment 101.

My amendment 102 seeks to address the concern that I expressed when I pragmatically backed down on my stage 2 amendment, namely that ministers might be tempted to observe the power to delegate more in the breach. I still believe that ministers should not be able to avoid delegating the power and should be able not to delegate only in extreme circumstances. I am slightly concerned by the circumstances that the minister outlined, because they could be applied rather more widely than I would wish. Nevertheless, given amendment 102's shortcomings and the point that the minister made about the annual report, I will not move the amendment.

Amendment 101 agreed to.

Amendment 102 not moved.