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Mr. Grieve: I recognise from what has been said that the proposals are sincerely desired by many hon. Members, but when will the knock-on effects on the people of England in respect of English-only legislation be addressed? At what point in the discussion will that

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happen? Will it happen before the referendum, so that people in Scotland can understand what the impact is likely to be? Will it happen afterwards, or not at all?

Mr. McLeish: The hon. Gentleman asks a fair question. We intend to have the maximum debate in Scotland, in Wales and, indeed, in the House, which is representative of the whole United Kingdom.

In the context of what was said earlier by the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard), it is important to note that--if we are talking about the Parliament deciding--this Parliament will decide. Scots and Welsh people will be directly affected by the legislation, and we think it right that the pre-legislation referendum should take place there; but every right hon. and hon. Member from every part of the United Kingdom will participate in discussions on the White Paper, and in debates in the Committee stage of the Bill that we are now discussing, as well as debates on the substantive Scotland Bill, on Second Reading, in Committee, on Report and on Third Reading. There will be ample opportunity to ensure that every Member of Parliament's voice is heard. That, I think, is a fair answer to what I consider a serious question.

It is clear from the path of history that I have described, from the late 19th century to the efforts of John Smith, that considerable progress has been made, but there is still a great deal of unfinished business. The Government are determined to finish it by taking the next step, and the Bill paves the way for that step. It offers a chance for choice, a chance for consent and a chance for change. It is about giving the people of Scotland the democratic right to choose to take another step in the history of the government of Scotland. The chance to debate our detailed proposals will come later. There is no reason for us to deny the Scottish people the opportunity to choose their own destiny.

Mr. Lansley: When he expands on the detail of his proposals, will the Minister explain how he proposes to give a voice to the many Scots and Welsh people who are not resident in Scotland or Wales, but who feel deeply about constitutional change affecting their place of birth, the place of their previous residence or the place of their possible future residence?

Mr. McLeish: I hope that every right hon. and hon. Member will feel passionately about the future of the United Kingdom, the future of Scotland and the future of Wales. This is not an exercise in exclusion; it is an exercise in inclusion. The hon. Gentleman will represent a significant number of constituents who will want to have a say. Our parliamentary democracy, however, is founded on representation, and it seems to me self-evident that, at each stage of this Bill and the substantive Bill, we shall have every opportunity to debate the concerns that the hon. Gentleman has outlined, in a representative way.

Mr. Salmond: The hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) said that people whose future place of residence would be affected should be entitled to vote. Theoretically, anyone in the world could in future reside in Scotland.

Mr. Home Robertson: The hon. Gentleman means Sean Connery.

Mr. Salmond: That is quite likely.

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Does the Minister have a view on this? According to the Conservative party, it seems that anyone in the world should be able to vote in the referendums in Scotland and Wales.

Mr. McLeish: Like the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond), I take pride in my country, and would extend a generous welcome to everyone in the world. The other side of the argument of the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire, however, is that we are somehow trying to close down the franchise. We are trying to provide the most important franchise, which is residency, and we are taking the local government base as our model. I think that that answers the question.

Mr. O'Neill: Does my hon. Friend think that we might well have been able to accommodate some of those considerations if the Bill had extended further, and had included provisions for parts of England and, perhaps, Northern Ireland where it was felt desirable to have some form of devolved government or assembly? Could those people not have been accommodated, perhaps by a statutory instrument? That would have changed the character and speed of legislation. It would also have meant that the high priority that our Government are now giving to devolution for Scotland and Wales would have been, in some respects, subsumed by decentralisation of the rest of the United Kingdom, no matter how desirable it is. That would have met the concerns of the other parts of the United Kingdom, but it would have altered the picture of our ambitions for a decentralised state in the United Kingdom.

Mr. McLeish: I suspect that my hon. Friend is inviting me on a much longer journey than I intend to take tonight.

I should like briefly to comment on the important issue of the referendum and how we, the Government, are attempting to reach out. My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East has spoken about consensus. We think that there should be maximum consensus in relation to constitutional change. That is why the inclusive approach that we have adopted is important. We believe that we need to extend the scope of that consensus.

I should like to return to my earlier point about the two debates that now occupy the minds of the Conservative party in the United Kingdom. We have a debate at Westminster, which is reflected in the remarks made in particular by the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague), which suggests that in a real sense the Scottish Conservative party simply does not exist. Far be it from me to try to reach out over the heads of the leadership of the Conservative party to the Conservatives, but it is salutary to remember that, apart from the debate here, there is a healthier debate going on in Scotland. The six Conservative leadership contenders would be advised to listen a bit more and lecture a bit less until they are sure of their ground.

If we are seeking consensus on a serious measure, it is important for Conservative Members to appreciate that, although they may have lost Conservative seats in

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Scotland, in terms of parliamentary representation there are still half a million Conservative voters there who want constructive leadership that reflects the reality and not what that leadership would have liked it to have been if the circumstances had been different on 1 May.

Another consideration relating to the extension of the consensus is how inclusive our campaign should be. The referendum is vital if it is about giving choice to Scots. We need a healthy contribution not only from the Conservatives but from the nationalists. I am slightly encouraged to note from speeches made tonight that the nationalists are having a debate within their own party. [Interruption.] Again, my hon. Friend the Member for Ochil (Mr. O'Neill) is inviting me to be less charitable than I am attempting to be. It is vital that that encouraging debate within the nationalist party should continue.

This Second Reading debate should be sending a powerful message to every Scot, every voter, every political party, every supporter of a political party, every member of a political party, every organisation and every village, town and city that this is an enormous issue for the future of Scotland. It must be taken seriously. History will judge harshly anyone from any organisation who does not embrace and grasp the importance of what we are doing.

After the Bill has gone through the House and we have had an opportunity to put it before the Scottish people, Scots are expecting a serious mood to descend on political parties and others. It is hugely encouraging to note that certain organisations in Scotland are already seeking to rise above party in many respects by trying to reach out in the manner that we have described tonight.

It is important to mention the minds of the few and the hearts of the many. The campaign is finished and perhaps the soundbites will cease, but I am sure that there is no better subject to which one could apply such theory than devolution. There is a powerful sentiment for change in Scotland. Yes, we must discuss the issue and become involved in what for some people has become the theology of devolution, but we have a responsibility to ensure that the success of any measure that we pass should be assessed only according to its impact on ordinary people, whether in Scotland or in Wales. If we are inclusive in our approach and consensual in our attempt to take the matter forward, and if we try to generate a serious debate, especially among Conservative party members in the country and Conservative Members in the House, we will be doing everyone a favour.

This is about empowerment, enrichment and the sense of history. That is the context of it. The history of this honourable place is surely the background for us to be raising the level of the debate. We should not get involved in some of the nit-picking exercises that were prevalent in some hon. Members' speeches; hon. Members on both sides of the House owe it to themselves, to their constituents and to the whole of the United Kingdom to ensure that this debate is conducted seriously.

It being Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed tomorrow.

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