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Mr. Salmond: I rise to make two points. First, as the Secretary of State knows, I campaigned for the White Paper during the referendum campaign because of the right of the people of Scotland as a sovereign body to opt for independence whenever they chose. The Secretary of State has admitted that openly and freely, and has held that view for many years. I welcome the fact that that right has not been seriously disputed in this debate. However, there was a clear understanding during the campaign--I remember the occasions on which it was outlined--

Mr. Dalyell indicated assent.

Mr. Salmond: The hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) is nodding. It was clearly stated that matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament would be left to the people of Scotland, including matters such as the poll tax.

Mr. Dewar indicated dissent.

Mr. Salmond: The Secretary of State shakes his head, but that is what the House was told two weeks ago by the Minister for Education and Industry, Scottish Office. He said that private legislation could not overturn Acts of the Scottish Parliament and that devolved matters could not be cancelled by the Westminster Parliament.

The Secretary of State can quote from the White Paper and we can all quote the Prime Minister recognising the sovereignty of the Scottish people. Indeed, we can quote them until we are blue in the face, but two weeks ago people had the clear understanding that some matters would be devolved and other matters reserved, because that was articulated by the Minister of State.

Mr. Dewar: The hon. Gentleman is making a mountain out of a molehill, which is skilful. Ultimately, the White Paper is absolutely clear. That is what we fought the referendum campaign on together, and neither of us misunderstood that position.

Mr. Salmond: The Secretary of State skirted round the answer to the question asked by me and by the hon. Member for Linlithgow. The answer to the question whether the Westminster Parliament could impose a poll tax on the Scottish people, regardless of the fact that it would be a devolved matter, is yes. That answer would not be widely acceptable in Scotland.

Mr. Dalyell: The difficulty is that the whole referendum was sold on the basis that the Parliament would protect the Scottish people from the ravages of Margaret Thatcher's poll tax. That was the public's understanding.

Mr. Salmond: For the second time this evening--probably for the second time in my life--I find myself in agreement with the hon. Member for Linlithgow.

I wish to make one more point before I allow the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) to sum up on behalf of the Conservative party--a courtesy which Conservative

28 Jan 1998 : Column 407

Members have not always extended to me under similar circumstances--[Interruption.] If Conservative Members want to continue the debate, I am prepared to continue speaking until 7 pm.

I have been doing some research and have found that, on 22 November 1977, the then Scotland Bill contained a clause on the supreme authority of the Westminster Parliament. The clause was deleted in Committee and the Government of the day did not try to reintroduce it. Among those who voted to delete the clause were Lady Thatcher, Lord Tebbit and other Conservative Members, who argued that the clause was meaningless and declaratory. They said that the form of words had no meaning because it was political reality which dictated events. When he sums up, I hope that the hon. Member for Woodspring will explain why the Conservative party wants to go further tonight than even Lady Thatcher was prepared to go in 1977.

Dr. Fox: It is a pity that we are running so short of time, because many points have been made which I should have liked to take up, especially the last point raised by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond). I shall deal with that later in the Committee stage.

I am also sorry that we did not have more time to hear from the Secretary of State, because he laid out the Government's Unionist credentials and I very much welcomed that. He gave a clear interpretation of what will remain sovereign and how the White Paper translates into the Bill.

We have had an interesting debate on sovereignty, not least because we have had so many different definitions of what sovereignty means. We wanted to make our intentions clear at the outset. Amendment No. 2 is not a probing amendment and we shall push it to a Division. My hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) talked about making the Bill work by making it clear at the outset, and about making the new Union survive and work well. We shall work with the Government so long as we feel that they are working in the correct direction.

I am not a lawyer--a fact for which I thank God every morning--but a member of a profession that helps lawyers earn their money: a doctor. I do not claim to be an academic, nor do I wish to entertain an academic debate, but the point has been made and I should clarify it now: political sovereignty ultimately rests with the people, but it is vested in and exercised by Parliament on their behalf with their consent. If the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish people want to leave the Union, they clearly have the right to do so. However, in the referendum, people voted for devolution within the Union, as they vote to remain within the Union in successive general elections by voting for Unionist parties, as the hon. and learned Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) said, whatever the blueprint of those parties for internal governmental construction.

A great deal of the debate has been about the technical definitions of sovereignty and its practical effect. In answer to the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), in theory sovereignty is not diminished if it is delegated. Devolution delegates powers where federalism divides powers. I agree with the vast majority of what he said.

28 Jan 1998 : Column 408

The Committee's failure to agree what sovereignty means shows the inherent instability of what we may create if we do not iron out those problems at the outset of the Committee stage.

The amendment seeks to reinforce our belief that this Parliament should remain absolutely sovereign as long as the Union remains. We want to put it at the start of the Bill, and to clarify the legislative limitations of the Scottish Parliament in amendment No. 198, to show not only that Westminster is legislatively sovereign but that the Scottish Parliament cannot amend or repeal Westminster legislation. My hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Mr. Collins) made that clear.

I was astonished by the intervention of the hon. and learned Member for North Down (Mr. McCartney), who is no longer in his seat. He said that the amendment was taken largely from the Government of Ireland Act 1920, section 75 of which implied that there were no matters for which the Northern Ireland Parliament and Government were solely responsible. Admittedly, the powers were not used until 1960, but it was accepted that those powers were valid as long as Northern Ireland was part of the Union. We are being challenged to accept that proposition for Scotland. That wonderful intervention by the hon. and learned Member for North Down, who said that the Prime Minister promised him that such a proposition would be in the Scotland Bill, was extremely interesting.

I do not have time to deal with all the points that were raised. The hon. Member for Linlithgow warned that giving a Scottish Parliament commitments without legislative responsibility or power would be dangerous. Commitments given by those who do not want the Parliament to work would be the most dangerous.

The hon. and learned Member for Orkney and Shetland said that candidates should be given notice of what powers the Parliament will have, and he hoped that we would be grown up and use them sensibly. The intervention by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan showed exactly what attitude the Scottish nationalists will take into a Scottish Parliament: they want to destroy it, and that is extremely dangerous.

Clause 27 is about the ability to make laws for Scotland. The Secretary of State made it clear that it is not just about reserved powers. If Scotland remains part of the Union, the Westminster Parliament must be the sovereign decision-making body on all issues. That is reasonable: I do not agree with the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan that it is offensive.

We need clarification at the outset. We must accentuate that provision by putting it at the beginning of the Bill. We support the basic ethos of clause 27, but, until it is clarified, the Government's Unionist credentials will not be as apparent as they must be if they are to satisfy us, and if they are to put clear water between them and the nationalists, who have campaigned as the Trojan horse. It being Seven o'clock, The Chairman, pursuant to the Order [13 January] and the Resolution this day, put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, That the amendment be made:-- The Committee divided: Ayes 127, Noes 341.

28 Jan 1998 : Column 409

Division No. 142
[7 pm


AYES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baldry, Tony
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Body, Sir Richard
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon
Cash, William
Chope, Christopher
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
(Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Day, Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Evans, Nigel
Fallon, Michael
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodlad, Rt Hon Sir Alastair
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gray, James
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Horam, John
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
McCartney, Robert (N Down)
MacKay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Malins, Humfrey
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Trend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Wells, Bowen
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Willetts, David
Woodward, Shaun
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. James Cran and
Mr. Nigel Waterson.


NOES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Ashton, Joe
Austin, John
Baker, Norman
Ballard, Mrs Jackie
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Byers, Stephen
Cable, Dr Vincent
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Canavan, Dennis
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chisholm, Malcolm
Church, Ms Judith
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Ms Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
(Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Ms Roseanna
(Perth)
Dafis, Cynog
Dalyell, Tam
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Denham, John
Dewar, Rt Hon Donald
Dobbin, Jim
Doran, Frank
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Fatchett, Derek
Fearn, Ronnie
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Fyfe, Maria
Galbraith, Sam
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Norman A
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Gorrie, Donald
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Heppell, John
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hope, Phil
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keetch, Paul
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kingham, Ms Tess
Kirkwood, Archy
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Leslie, Christopher
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Liddell, Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Love, Andrew
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
McLeish, Henry
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mandelson, Peter
Marek, Dr John
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Norris, Dan
Oaten, Mark
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Palmer, Dr Nick
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pope, Greg
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Rendel, David
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Salmond, Alex
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stott, Roger
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Swinney, John
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Vaz, Keith
Wallace, James
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
Welsh, Andrew
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Willis, Phil
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. Robert Ainsworth and
Mr. Jim Dowd.

Question accordingly negatived.

28 Jan 1998 : Column 412

7.15 pm

Mr. Oliver Heald (North-East Hertfordshire): I beg to move amendment No. 47, in page 1, leave out lines 11 to 14.


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