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Referendums (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 7th November 2019.

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Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

I noticed that the cabinet secretary said that he would come to an agreement with the Electoral Commission—not that the Commission is right. It is a measure of the Scottish Government’s integrity that it should even try to get away with that.

I would much rather have been in the chamber today to respond to a debate about the Scottish Government’s domestic agenda, which is about dealing with the devolved issues for which it actually has responsibility. The constitution of our country is the responsibility of our other Parliament, at Westminster. Our Parliament at Holyrood is responsible for important issues that affect Scottish people’s lives. The Scottish Government has told us that it has neither the time nor the resources to work on the promised crofting bill that was dumped so unceremoniously. What has delayed the agriculture bill? Why do we not have a bill to ensure that mental health issues will be treated as well as physical ones? Why do we not have a bill to end homelessness? Where is the good food nation bill? I could list so many more areas that should be addressed but on which the Scottish Government has delayed or dropped bills while it proceeds with this fraud of a bill. It has done so because it values the Referendums (Scotland) Bill and indyref 2 above everything else.

Liberal Democrats do not want the chaos of breaking up Britain to be added to the chaos of Brexit that we already face. We do not support the bill and will vote against it at decision time.