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Mr. McLeish: The hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Gorrie) has made an excellent judgment on the Government amendments, and I am sure that it will hold for the last few minutes of the debate.

I shall deal specifically with new clause 17 in the name of the hon. Member for Perth (Ms Cunningham). We have reserved bodies, devolved bodies and cross-border public bodies. The new clause would create a new category of cross-border reserved bodies. The Government's policy on the power of the Scottish Parliament to summon witnesses and documents from bodies operating in Scotland with responsibilities only in reserved areas was clearly set out in the White Paper. We recognise the importance of those bodies in the economic and social life of Scotland. For that reason, the Parliament will be able to invite such bodies to give evidence. I know that that is not acceptable to the Scottish nationalists.

Rightly, bodies that are active in devolved areas could be held to account by the Scottish Parliament for their activities in those areas. However, it would wrong for the Parliament to be able to hold bodies to account for their activities in reserved areas because the direct line of responsibility and accountability lies at Westminster.

Mr. Heald: If the Scots people are dissatisfied with broadcasting in Scotland, why should they not be able to force the person in charge of it to come before the Parliament?

Mr. McLeish: We have discussed that matter in some detail previously. We are trying to make a judgment about reserved and devolved areas, and I think that we have arrived at a balanced settlement. In light of my comments--which have been unbelievably brief--I hope that the hon. Lady will withdraw her new clause.

In addition, we propose that there should be devolution of functions under clause 59 in some cases. For example, Scottish Ministers will be consulted about the appointment of one member of some bodies, including the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission

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for Racial Equality, the Independent Television Commission--to which the new clause refers--and the Radio Authority. Those bodies will make their annual reports available to Scottish Ministers so that they can present them to the Scottish Parliament. Arrangements will also be made so that Scottish Ministers are consulted about advice to Her Majesty regarding the appointment of the BBC national governor for Scotland. I am afraid that it is difficult to go into much detail in the time available.

6.30 pm

Ms Roseanna Cunningham: Perhaps the Minister will answer one question: what does he think will be the reaction of the Scottish Parliament or Scotland at large when the first refusal to an invitation is received--which is what will happen?

Mr. McLeish: I live in a realpolitik and I understand the import of the hon. Lady's comments. This settlement is about devolution. It reserves matters to Westminster where the legislative competence will lie and it devolves matters to Scotland where the legislative competence will lie. Through myriad complex organisations, we are attempting to introduce a settlement that will endure and that looks logical not only to Scots and Members of the Scottish Parliament, but to those in England, in Wales and at Westminster. It is a question of balance. That is why I hope that, despite the difficulties, we have arrived at a fair settlement.

The Scottish Parliament will be able to discuss reserved matters and make its views known in many areas. I expect that if the Scottish Parliament issues an invitation in a constructive manner, many people will want to respond beyond the issue of the devolved areas where the Parliament will have a statutory right to demand attendance.

Because of the brevity of the discussion, I shall write to all hon. Members who have raised points and I shall answer the three questions posed by the official Opposition. I apologise that I have not had time to go into the detail of the Government's amendments, but they are mainly technical amendments which will improve the Bill and do nothing more than that.

Ms Cunningham: I am sorry to hear the Minister's reply, which I think that he will live to regret. I shall not press the matter to a vote this evening, but I think that it will come back to haunt him. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.

New clause 18

Constitutional Court


'.--(1) There shall be a Constitutional Court in the United Kingdom.
(2) Questions on the vires or legislative competence of any Bill or provision of a Bill under this Act shall be referred to the Constitutional Court for a decision.
(3) The Constitutional Court shall consist of fourteen members, six elected by the House of Commons, six elected by the Scottish Parliament, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Advocate.
(4) No member of the Constitutional Court shall sit and act as a member of the court in proceedings under this Act unless he--
(a) holds or has held high judicial office;

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(b) has been a member of the Scottish or English bar for a period of ten years;
(c) has been a registered solicitor in Scotland or England for a period of fifteen years;
(d) is or has been a professor of law or legal studies in the United Kingdom for a period of ten years.
(5) Her Majesty may by Order in Council--
(a) confer on the Constitutional Court in relation to proceedings under this Act such powers as Her Majesty considers necessary or expedient; and
(b) make rules for regulating the procedure in relation to proceedings under this Act before the Constitutional Court.
(6) In this section "proceedings under this Act" means proceedings on a question referred to the Constitutional Court under section 32 or proceedings under Schedule 6.'.--[Mr. Salmond.]
Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Salmond: I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 75, in clause 31, page 15, line 29, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 97, in page 15, line 31, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 98, in page 15, leave out lines 37 and 38 and insert--


'"Constitutional Court" means the body established under section (Constitutional Court).'.

No. 99, in clause 32, page 15, line 41, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 100, in clause 34, page 16, line 45, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 78, in schedule 6, page 79, line 40, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 79, in page 79, line 43, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 81, in page 80, line 3, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 82, in page 80, line 10, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 83, in page 80, line 11, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 101, in page 81, line 5, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 87, in page 81, line 9, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 88, in page 81, line 10, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 90, in page 81, line 40, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 102, in page 82, line 4, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 91, in page 82, line 5, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 93, in page 82, line 10, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 103, in page 82, line 16, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

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No. 95, in page 82, line 19, leave out 'Judicial Committee' and insert 'Constitutional Court'.

No. 76, in clause 94, page 42, line 17, leave out from beginning to end of line 36.

No. 117, in page 42, line 33, at end insert--


'(d) provide such resources to the Judicial Committee as Her Majesty considers necessary or expedient.'.

No. 122, in schedule 7, page 88, line 1, after 'counsel', insert 'or a solicitor'.

No. 123, in page 88, line 7, after 'counsel', insert 'or a solicitor'.

Mr. Salmond: That is quite a mouthful, Mr. Deputy Speaker. New clause 18 allows us to debate briefly a matter to which we did not do justice in Committee. I welcome the opportunity to explore that in a little more detail now.

We are considering what will happen in the event of a dispute between the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments and resolving what may or may not be vires or extra vires in terms of what the Scottish Parliament wants to do. New clause 18 proposes replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which has authority in the Bill as the body that adjudicates on disputes and vires matters for the Parliament, and creating a constitutional court comprising 14 members: six elected by the Scottish Parliament and six elected by Westminster with a Lord Advocate and a Lord Chancellor. The members of the court will be senior judges or advocates of 10 years' standing, solicitors of 15 years' standing or professors of law or legal studies in the United Kingdom of 10 years' standing.

According to subsection (4), prospective members do not have to have all four qualifications--just one of the four will suffice. I thank the hon. and learned Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) for pointing that out to me. I am not sure whether a Bill in respect of that legal advice can be expected or whether the hon. and learned Gentleman is protecting his position in case he wishes to serve on that constitutional court. Whatever the reason, I am grateful to him for drawing it to my attention. We must debate this important matter.

We have chosen a model based on the German constitutional court, which has been exported recently to Spain and Mexico. We propose that, like the German model, the court's membership should be widely drawn from legal and academic experts. The key points in this discussion are the deficiencies which I see in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Hon. Members may or may not be aware that the Judicial Committee consists of more than 100 people--only two of whom are women. The average age of members of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is 67. Of the judges on the committee, there are more from New Zealand--14--than from Scotland, which has nine. In addition, because of the way in which the committee is formed, there are several obvious political appointees. Eleven committee members are former Tory Ministers from the Governments of Lady Thatcher and the right hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major). Only four members of the Judicial Committee are current Labour Ministers, and the vast majority of members are from England.


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