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Mr. Canavan: I listened carefully to the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin). Yet again, we have heard

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a clear implication from the Tory Front Bench that the Scottish Parliament cannot be trusted with the powers proposed for it both in the White Paper and in the Bill. The hon. Gentleman admitted that Westminster has unlimited and untrammelled powers to summon any person or to call for any papers. The powers are not limited at all in statute, and apparently derive in some mystical way from the Crown; but the Scottish Parliament's powers to summon people and call for papers are clearly defined in the Bill. Yet the Tories somehow cannot stomach that, and say that a majority of two thirds of the Parliament is needed before the powers are used.

Mr. Jenkin: The distinction is that, whereas this Parliament has absolute power, we are delegating powers to the Scottish Parliament. It is incumbent on us to make it clear in the Bill how we expect those powers to be used. We heard from the Secretary of State yesterday about supremacy, and he made it clear that this Parliament remains sovereign. Therefore, although we are delegating powers for which the Scottish Parliament will be responsible, we remain indirectly responsible for the way in which they are exercised. In that respect, it is not an insult to the Scottish Parliament to suggest that this Parliament remains sovereign and ultimately responsible for exercising the powers of the Scottish Parliament. It is a practical fact that, if the Scottish Parliament were to misuse its powers, the democratically elected representatives of the Scottish people might well come here to ask us to address the situation.

8 pm

Mr. Canavan: It is not a true delegation of powers to give a body certain powers while making so many conditions and ifs and buts that the body itself wonders whether it can use them. What lies at the heart of the matter is the Tories' love of and trust in this place and their distrust of the proposed Scottish Parliament. They imply that Members of the Scottish Parliament will not be responsible enough to use those powers in a reasonable manner. To describe the powers as "draconian" frankly shows either a misunderstanding or a misuse of the English language.

Mr. Jenkin: The hon. Gentleman is directing his argument towards me, but the Secretary of State drafted the clause; we are merely proposing one or two amendments to it. It is the Secretary of State who has all sorts of limits as to how the powers should be used. The hon. Gentleman should have his argument with the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State and the Opposition are arguing this point from the same perspective, but the hon. Gentleman is, frankly, arguing from a nationalist perspective--he is saying that the Scottish Parliament should exercise absolute discretion.

Mr. Canavan: The Secretary of State can speak for himself, as can the Minister, and I am sure that my right hon. Friend would state that the Bill proposes a reasonable limitation. The Opposition are proposing to shackle the Scottish Parliament absolutely--not just on this matter but on many others.

I wish to refer to amendment No. 43, standing in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion). Clause 23(3) proposes to give a

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form of exemption or immunity to certain people so that they cannot be summoned to appear before the Scottish Parliament or any of its Committees. I am not too happy about that, as it could lead to a situation in which the efforts of the Scottish Parliament and its Committees to uncover the truth or to pursue justice in certain cases could be thwarted.

The Scottish Parliament could decide to set up a Committee of Inquiry into someone who had allegedly perpetrated a great injustice against the people of Scotland. The Committee might decide to summon the person or people allegedly responsible. However, those people might simply cross the border to England, or go to Wales. From my reading of clause 23(3), I understand that the Scottish Parliament could do nothing about that, unless the person or people were covered by the condition referred to at the end of clause 23(3).

The Scottish Parliament should, in certain circumstances, have powers to call Ministers of the Crown. My hon. Friend the Minister is, unquestionably, a Minister of the Crown. Could he define what is meant in the Bill by a "Minister of the Crown"? The Bill proposes that Ministers in the Scottish Administration should also have Crown approval. Does that make them Ministers of the Crown also? If so, it is absurd that Ministers of the Crown--especially Ministers in the Scots Administration--should be exempt from being summoned before the Scottish Parliament or its Committees.

The Bill proposes that UK Ministers will continue to have certain powers relating to Scotland on certain reserved matters, but also--this is important--on matters for which there is some joint or shared responsibility. I am not absolutely certain that the wording of my amendment is correct, but I would like to try to clarify that grey area of shared responsibility between this Parliament and the Scottish Parliament, and between the UK Government and the Scottish Administration.

The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Administration will be responsible for industrial development and inward investment. However, the Department of Trade and Industry will retain some responsibility for these matters within a general framework covering the whole of the United Kingdom. There may be legitimate circumstances in which the Scottish Parliament could be able to summon a Minister and/or civil servants from the DTI to clarify matters on a subject under inquiry by the Scottish Parliament or one of its Committees.

Mr. John Swinney (North Tayside): After the Bill's enactment, a number of concordats will be created to regulate areas where the Scottish Parliament and the Westminster Parliament will have some interest. Does the hon. Gentleman think that that would be a legitimate area in which the Scottish Parliament would have an interest in examining--in a wider sphere than simply the activities of the Scottish Parliament--the way in which other parties were influencing areas of policy, which might involve asking UK Ministers to appear before the Committees of the Scottish Parliament?

Mr. Canavan: That is precisely the point I am trying to make. The grey areas are not all that well defined, but there are areas where there will be joint responsibility. In the circumstances, the Scottish Parliament should have the power and the opportunity to summon UK Ministers, as well as Ministers from the Scottish Administration.

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The Select Committees in this place will retain their right to summon virtually anyone. They can summon a Scottish Office Minister, the Scottish First Minister, civil servants from the Scottish Administration, people from north of the border and people from other parts of the UK. I fail to see why there should not be some degree of that ability in the Scottish Parliament.

I am not asking for complete reciprocation, because we are not talking about a completely independent state and a Parliament serving it. However, there are areas of joint responsibility, and I am not sure whether clause 23(3) covers all such circumstances. It states that the power is not exercisable in relation to a person


which refers to "devolved matters" and


    "matters in relation to which statutory functions are exercisable by the Scottish Ministers."

Does the phrase


    "unless he discharges functions relating to matters within subsection (2)"

cover the categories in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of subsection (3), or does it cover only the category in paragraph (c), a person in Crown employment? Could a person outside Scotland or a Minister of the Crown who is a UK Minister who discharges functions relating to matters within subsection (2) be summoned by the Scottish Parliament or one of its Committees?

I note that the present tense is used in line 21 of clause 23:


What about someone who used to discharge a function, such as a former UK Minister or a former civil servant? We have had cases in this Parliament that have involved more than summoning members or civil servants of the existing Administration.

When I was on the Foreign Affairs Committee's inquiry into the Belgrano, Francis Pym came. We did not have to summon him, but, if he had refused to come, we could have. Geoffrey Howe is another former Secretary of State who has been summoned. In the inquiry into the Pergau dam, George Younger came to give evidence as a former Secretary of State. I am not sure that line 21 of clause 23 would be enough to cover such circumstances, because it uses the present tense. It should say:


That is why I have tabled the amendment.

I should be grateful if my hon. Friend the Minister replied on those points because it is very important that the Scottish Parliament and its Committees have adequate powers to summon people and call for papers to uncover the truth and give helpful reports to the Scottish Parliament and to the people of Scotland. That should include, in certain circumstances, calling people from south of the border, including UK Ministers and civil servants.

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