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Mr. Salmond: Mr. Sean Connery would be delighted to appear before a Scottish Parliament, either as a witness or perhaps in another capacity.

Mr. McAllion: I take it that by "in another capacity" the hon. Gentleman means as a Member of the Scottish Parliament. Clause 4, which sets out the details of who can stand as a candidate, does not say that one actually has to live in Scotland. I suppose that it would be possible for Mr. Sean Connery to stand for a Scottish Parliament as an SNP candidate, get elected and then, because there is no requirement that MSPs should stay in Scotland, he could still be beyond the power of the Scottish Parliament to require him to attend and give evidence before one of its Committees. It is nonsense.

In an earlier debate, we discovered that Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Cornwall, the Duke of Rothesay, the Prince and Steward of Scotland, both of whom can be described as persons outside Scotland and who have the Crown interest which requires the Scottish Parliament to seek their approval before its Bills can become law, cannot be required to come before a Scottish Committee and give evidence on why the Crown interest requires them to give their assent to Scottish Bills before they can become law. The whole thing is complete nonsense.

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I am especially worried about the part of the clause that says that


does not have to come before the Scottish Parliament's Committees. That is a serious issue.

Let us consider the financing of a Scottish Parliament. The bulk of the Scottish Parliament's expenditure will come from the Westminster Parliament through the Scottish block grant, which is determined under the Barnett-Goschen formula. We were continually told in debates in the House that that formula would be subject to review as soon as the Scottish Parliament was set up and the Westminster Parliament began to realise how much power had been given away to the Scottish Parliament.

In fact, we were told that the formula would be subject to radical review and that that review would be carried out in Westminster by UK Ministers and civil servants. They would decide how the Barnett-Goschen formula should be altered, which would have huge implications for the Scottish Parliament, and the settlement would be imposed on the Scottish Parliament.

On page 27 of "Scotland's Parliament, Scotland's Right", the Scottish Constitutional Convention recognised that the Barnett-Goschen formula would have to be reviewed. However, it was established in the convention that that review would have to be conducted jointly by the Scottish Parliament and the Westminster Parliament.

If the Committee in a Scottish Parliament that is responsible for financial matters cannot summon any Treasury Minister, cannot ask for any Treasury documents and cannot ask any Treasury civil servant to appear before it to take part in an investigation into how the Barnett-Goschen formula might be reviewed, that is a very sorry state of affairs indeed, and one which we should not be legislating for.

Mr. Wallace rose--

Mr. Swinney rose--

8.30 pm

Mr. McAllion: I give way to the hon. and learned Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace).

Mr. Wallace: Perhaps the Minister will clarify this when he replies to the debate. The hon. Gentleman may have put it too widely when he said that the Scottish Parliament could not ask. I suspect that a Scottish Parliament could request. What it cannot do is to compel, with all the accompanying criminal sanctions. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that, if there were to be a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the future of the Barnett-Goschen formula, it would be very helpful indeed to have the attendance of Treasury Ministers and officials, but I believe that it would be permissible for them to come, although they could not be compelled under threat of criminal sanction.

Mr. McAllion: I hope that that would be the case, but I do not have a great deal of confidence. If one watches closely the way in which these debates are conducted, one sees that hon. Members continually assert the supremacy and the sovereignty of this Parliament over the Scottish Parliament. They, and they alone, will decide the funding and the finance of the Scottish Parliament through the

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Scottish block. I do not know whether the Scottish Parliament can request them to produce documents and to give evidence in person.

I do not want to alarm Ministers, but they will not always be there. At some time, there will be a Tory party back in power and back in office in this country, and then there could be real problems.

Mr. John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings) rose--

Mr. Grieve rose--

Mr. McAllion: I give way to the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes).

Mr. Hayes: I am grateful to the hon. Member for Dundee--West, is it?

Mr. McAllion: East.

Mr. Hayes: East, yes. I only said that to annoy the hon. Gentleman, actually. The hon. Gentleman has mentioned supremacy, but, as we tried to explain earlier in Committee--I intervened on the hon. Gentleman then--the whole nature of sovereignty is the implied supremacy that sovereignty grants. When it comes to delegation of political power--I would go as far as to say division; there is some semantic difference between my right hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) and me in this, but the principle is the same--one can divide political power but not sovereignty, because sovereignty implies supremacy. The hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand that, given the comments that he has made on previous days in Committee and tonight.

Hon. Members: Speech.

The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Michael J. Martin): Order. The hon. Gentleman must sit down.

Mr. McAllion: I suspect that my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Ross) will be more upset at my being described as the hon. Member for Dundee, West than I was, if the truth be known.

The hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings does not grasp the reality of sovereignty in the modern world. His is a public school idea of sovereignty--nanny and the housemaster and headmaster. There can be only one headmaster in the school, and so on. It need not be like that in the real world: different groups can share sovereignty.

When we are setting up a Scottish Parliament, we must establish its right to conduct its affairs, just as the Westminster Parliament can conduct its affairs. Surely the Scottish Parliament must have the right to summon

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witnesses, and require documents to be provided, when they affect the Scottish Parliament's interests. That is the key.

Mr. Hayes rose--

Mr. Grieve rose--

Mr. Swinney rose--

Mr. McAllion: I give way to the hon. Gentleman with the glasses.

Mr. Grieve rose--

Mr. Swinney: I thought it was me.

Mr. Grieve: In the House, we have a merger of the Executive and the legislature, so Ministers of the Crown belong to the party that commands the majority. Therefore, only in exceptional circumstances would a power to summon Ministers before the House be exercised. When one has a separate legislature, two different parties may be in power--one in each place. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, in those circumstances, Ministers of the Crown at Westminster may require some protection from being summoned arbitrarily to--

The First Deputy Chairman: Order. Interventions must be brief.

Mr. Canavan: Sit down.

The First Deputy Chairman: Please take a seat. Interventions must be brief. We cannot have a speech. The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion) is addressing the Committee.

Mr. McAllion: The hon. Gentleman does not grasp the significance of the issue. We are trying to set up a constitutional settlement that will allow a Scottish Parliament to continue to function within the United Kingdom in tandem with a Parliament at Westminster. I agree that party politics can wreck that relationship, and I accept that, if one of the parties decides to wreck that relationship, it will lead to the severing of the United Kingdom. However, I know that my party is not out to wreck that relationship; and I should have thought that the Conservatives, of all people, would not be out to wreck the Union.

Of course, members of the Scottish National party are out to wreck the Union; they have every right to wreck it, because they believe in independence. They should not be condemned for that--it is a different point of view, and when the Scottish people accept their argument, every Labour Member will accept the argument as well, because we are democrats. We accept that, if we lose the argument, we have to move with the people. I wish that the Conservative party would understand that and begin to move with the times as well and stop tabling wrecking amendments, as Conservative Members have done tonight.

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I have great sympathy with the arguments made by the hon. Member for Perth (Ms Cunningham) about broadcasting, because there are serious anxieties about it. Earlier, we had a debate about whether the Scottish Parliament should facilitate the use of Gaelic as a language in the Scottish Parliament. If Gaelic is to survive, it must be encouraged on television and radio; yet broadcasting is a matter reserved for the Westminster Parliament.

The Scottish Parliament may set up a Committee to promote the use of Gaelic. It would have no power to require people from the BBC or ITV or BBC radio to produce documents or to appear as witnesses to talk about how they treat Gaelic in their broadcasting. That is very serious.

There is also the question of listed events. The Scottish cup final is very dear to many of us, although it is a long time since Celtic won it. It matters to many people in Scotland. Some time, the BBC and ITV may decide that they do not want the cup final to continue to be a listed event--that it costs too much and must be dropped, to go to Sky Television. The Scottish Parliament would be unable to summon anyone from the BBC to hold them to account for that decision. That cannot be right.

We must start thinking seriously about the implications of the way in which we keep trying to hedge the Scottish Parliament in with qualifying clauses--especially clause 23.

Finally, I say to my hon. Friend the Minister, in all sincerity, that one of my great hopes for the Scottish Parliament is that its Committee structure will not mirror that in Westminster. Our Committee structure makes a mockery of Committees. Our Select Committees are very good--they are successful, in the main, and they work well--but the Standing Committees are a joke. Committee members from the Government party are told, "Do not speak. Sit there; answer your mail. You need not even listen--just vote on the amendments." Opposition Members waste time all day, talking nonsense, simply trying to reach some sort of agreement. Most Committee members know nothing about the Bill that they are speaking about.

I hope that a Scottish Parliament will set up hybrid Committees, which are Select Committees and Standing Committees, and deal with the legislation within their remit. The Committee members would become expert on their subject. Not just the Executive, but those Committees, should have the right to initiate legislation. The Chairman of the Committee, if he could achieve a majority on the Committee, could do so as well.

Such Committees will be essential to the success of the Scottish Parliament, and they will set precedents which I believe the Westminster Parliament will belatedly have to follow because the Scottish Parliament is so good. In those circumstances, we cannot hem in the Committees by denying them the powers that every ordinary Committee at Westminster has.

I plead with Ministers to think again about lines 11 to 21 of clause 23, and about the whole clause. It is too prescriptive and hems in the Scottish Parliament far too much.


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