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'(3) The Parliament may change the terms "Scottish Executive" and "First Minister" to such other terms as it considers appropriate.'.

Mr. Gorrie: As well as amendment No. 36, I shall speak to amendments Nos. 13, 14 and 15. They all have the same purpose, which is to enable the Scottish Parliament to have the flexibility, once established, to change certain names. It is reasonable to set out the names before the Parliament starts, so that it at least has a starting point.

However, if the Parliament is to be a worthwhile organisation, it must be able to decide whether it needs more than two Deputy Presiding Officers, whether it likes the title "Presiding Officer" or wishes to use some other title, whether it wishes to change the title "Clerk of the Parliament" and feels that it should have some other title. It should also be able to decide whether it likes the titles "Scottish Executive" and "First Minister".

It is an essential minor point, to show the validity of the Parliament, that it should have the facility to change those titles. Some of us were disappointed yesterday by the statement in which the Secretary of State made it clear that the Parliament would not be as waterproof in the devolved areas as the general public in Scotland had been led to believe.

Perhaps it is a token, but it is an important token, that the Parliament should at least have the ability to decide the titles of the various people and the numbers of people holding the various posts. There is considerable unhappiness in Scotland about the dictatorial way in which the site of the Parliament has been decided, and now we find that the Parliament will not have the powers that many people were led during the referendum campaign to believe that it would have. At the very least, it should have the capacity to make some of those minor changes, and I hope that the United Kingdom Parliament will see that it is essential to allow the Scottish Parliament to have that power.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): I want to register the hope that we will not spend too much time on these amendments, because there are very important matters to deal with on clauses 28 and 29, and we may get into great difficulty on the guillotine. I concur with the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Gorrie): surely to heavens we can leave these matters to the Scottish Parliament when it is set up; it is surely its business to decide on titles and on the way in which it wants to work.

Mr. Michael Ancram (Devizes): I agree with the hon. Gentleman, and we do not want to spend much time on these amendments, but certain of them must be spoken to.

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We tabled amendment No. 196 essentially because the new Parliament will have a new political ethos, and the Presiding Officer will have considerable powers; one need only look at clause 31 to see the extent of those powers.

It would be proper for the Presiding Officer to have the broadest possible endorsement, not only of the Parliament as a whole but by region and by category of Member, especially because, with the list system, if we are not careful, party considerations could come into play.

I think that we will all agree that the new Parliament will not have the traditions of the House, which effectively trains its Members to accept that, if they take the Chair, as you have, Mr. Lord, they are above and beyond the normal party politics. That tradition may eventually grow in the new Parliament, but it is important that the Presiding Officer should have the widest possible respect and support from the beginning. The proposal is not unprecedented. The framework document for Northern Ireland contained the same provision.

I tabled other amendments that may have puzzled hon. Members. They would replace the words "Corporate Body" or "corporation" with the word "Estate". "Corporate Body" has a Victorian ring to it, and I wanted something that was more Scottish and appropriate to the new body. The word that I came up with may come from the 18th century, but it is Scottish and constitutional. It should be spelt "Estaite", but I was informed by the Table Office that that was not a spelling that was recognised by the House, so to get the amendments tabled, I had to spell it in the more modern and English form. I wanted to use a little imagination to find something more exciting than the idea of a corporate body.

Mr. James Wallace (Orkney and Shetland): I am fascinated to hear about that ruling. Did those who advised the right hon. Gentleman cite a ruling from Madam Speaker or a previous Speaker on what determines spelling that may be used in the House? Surely, in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Scots spelling is as legitimate as English.

Mr. Ancram: We will deal with the Scottish language on amendment No. 118. When the Table Office staff tell me that I cannot table an amendment in a certain form, and I am up against the deadline, I normally take their advice, as I did on this occasion.

5.15 pm

Mr. Dennis Canavan (Falkirk, West): Amendment No. 45 proposes that the head of the Scottish Administration should be called the Scottish Premier, not the First Minister. "Premier" is simpler--for a start, it has half the syllables--and would cause less confusion, because "First Minister" and "Prime Minister" are almost identical. There could be confusion if, for example, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom visited the First Minister in Scotland. Scots are familiar with the word "premier", as we talk about the premier division and premier quality.

Mr. Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath): With amendment No. 45, the hon. Gentleman is in danger of leading to more confusion. Those of us who are interested in sport and listen to the results on a Saturday afternoon expect,

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whenever we hear the words "Scottish premier", to hear "division" immediately after. It would not be wise to confuse the electorate, who are far more interested in sport than in politics, by changing "First Minister", which is at least new and different, to something that everyone associates with football.

Mr. Canavan: The man tipped to become the first First Minister--not a phrase that trips off the tongue as easily as "the first Premier"--is my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. I am sure that we would all agree that he is in the premier division and of premier quality, although there is nothing divisive about him.

Whoever gets the job, be it my right hon. Friend or somebody else--it might be a right hon. Lady--should have a title that is in keeping with the dignity and status of the office. "Premier" is French for first, so it might be indicative of the old alliance between Scotland and France if we referred to the leader as "Le Premier" or "La Premiere".

The term is also used in many Commonwealth countries, including Australia and Canada, so it is not unfamiliar to Parliament, which set up dominion status for former parts of the empire, some of which eventually became independent states. The term "Scottish Premier" sounds more distinctive and prestigious, but, if my hon. Friend the Minister cannot accept the amendment, I hope that he will at least consider allowing the Scottish Parliament to decide such matters, as opposed to our going on about them endlessly in Committee.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan): "Scottish Premier" is also the name of a well-known brand of beef products in the north-east of Scotland, so I suppose that, if the First Minister was not in his place in the Scottish Parliament, people would shout, "Where's the beef?"

The right hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) informed us with a straight face that the Scottish Parliament might be vulnerable to party intrigue and division, whereas this Parliament has such marvellous long-standing traditions that such matters never enter hon. Members' heads.

It is best not to take many of the Tory contributions to this debate too seriously--that is the right attitude to strike on the evidence of yesterday's debate--but underlying what the right hon. Gentleman said is an extraordinarily arrogant assumption that somehow the Scots Parliament must be protected from itself and from the Scottish people, and that rural Scotland must be protected from urban Scotland. The fact that the Conservative party cannot get elected in rural or urban Scotland seems totally to have escaped him.

Mr. Ancram: The hon. Gentleman spends a lot of his time enjoying himself by attacking the Tory party. I wish to make a serious suggestion. In a Scottish Parliament, the broadest possible support for the first Presiding Officer might be a good thing. I am surprised to hear him suggest that it is not.

Mr. Salmond: I was talking about what underlay the amendment. The House heard the right hon. Gentleman suggest that somehow the traditions of this House meant that things would be conducted in a perfectly orderly manner, but that the Scottish Parliament was an institution

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without those traditions. Therefore, we would have to write into its Standing Orders at this stage some protection--the same language and logic we heard yesterday, when the Tories said that they would protect rural Scotland. Rural Scotland has fundamentally rejected the Conservative party over the past 20 years. The right hon. Gentleman said that I enjoy myself attacking the Tory party--with some success, I might add. Banff and Buchan has not a single Conservative councillor, and we have to import Tories.


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