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Mr. Ancram rose--

Mr. Salmond: I give way to the man who piloted through the poll tax.

Mr. Ancram: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. He likes polishing that cherry from time to time, but it is getting fairly rotten and will not last much longer. Earlier, I told him that he was not listening to what was said. He is also not reading what is on the amendment paper. He keeps saying that we are proposing the procedures of this place for the Scottish Parliament. If he can tell me where in our procedures there is mention of a three-month period between Committee stage and Report stage, during which interested parties--such as trades unions and businesses--

19 May 1998 : Column 751

can make representations on legislation, I should be interested to hear it. Such a period is a new idea, which I believe is worthy of consideration for the Scottish Parliament. I am surprised that, whenever any proposal is made by the Conservative party, the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) seems to become blind and deaf, but, unfortunately, not dumb.

Mr. Salmond: Definitely not dumb; and I am not foolish enough to believe that the poll tax will disappear from the public memory in Scotland as quickly as the right hon. Gentleman hopes. He has missed the point entirely. The point is not whether his ideas in amendment No. 7 are good or bad. The point is that it is not properly the province of this place to dictate any ideas on procedure to the new Scottish Parliament. A steering group, on which the Conservative party is represented, is debating such things.

Mr. Ancram: The provisions are in the Bill.

Mr. Salmond: The provisions are in the Bill in outline form--precisely because the Minister of State is keenly awaiting ideas from the steering group that he has established. The last thing that he needs is to be pre-empted by these foolish and rather ill-thought-through amendments tabled by the Conservative party in this place.

The Minister is anxious to get to his feet, so I shall provide just one example to illustrate my point--not that of the poll tax, but of electricity privatisation. In 1988, I served on the Select Committee--which had a Tory majority--that appealed to Lord Parkinson, the then Secretary of State for Energy, and to Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the then Secretary of State for Scotland, to delay legislation on electricity privatisation to allow an investigative committee to consider the issue. Both Secretaries of State declined that invitation, and, as a result, what the Committee described as "spatchcock legislation" was passed.

The Minister of State has described a framework, and we should support him. We should allow his consultative group to do its work, and not attempt to wreck it with such foolish amendments.

4.30 pm

Mr. McLeish: I shall respond first to my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), who asked about the council of the isles as a revising chamber. I am not aware of any proposal that the council of the isles should act as a revising chamber instead of the House of Lords.

Although I acknowledge the unicameral nature of the Scottish Parliament and therefore see some of the sense behind the issues proposed by the Opposition Front-Bench team, the Government believe that amendment No. 7 intrudes too far into the legislative processes of the Scottish Parliament. That point has been echoed in the debate.

The amendment would impose requirements that could prove burdensome and unnecessary. It would require all Bills, no matter what their content, to be subject to at least three months of public consultation in the middle of their

19 May 1998 : Column 752

passage through the Scottish Parliament, unless two thirds of the Parliament voted to provide otherwise. By introducing further stages of detailed scrutiny, it could cause an unacceptable delay in the passage of Bills.

Ultimately, it is for the Parliament to decide on its procedures, including arrangements for the scrutiny of legislation. None the less, the Bill requires the Standing Orders of the Parliament to make provision for three stages of parliamentary scrutiny. These are, first, a general debate on a Bill, with an opportunity for Members to vote on its general principles; secondly, consideration of, and opportunity to vote on, the details of the Bill; and, thirdly, a final stage at which the Bill may be passed or rejected. Those are the minimum stages which must be prescribed in the Bill. Further details should be left for the Scottish Parliament to decide.

The White Paper explains that the Government expect Committees to play an important part in carrying out parliamentary business, and the Scottish Parliament will have power to establish such Committees as it considers appropriate. Ultimately, it will be for the Parliament to decide precisely what role Committees should perform, but we envisage that they could be involved in considering proposals for legislation before the formal legislative process has begun, including, in appropriate circumstances, taking evidence before a Bill is prepared. Their task will be to scrutinise and amend all proposals before the Parliament. Such a role will mean that the Scottish Executive's legislative and other proposals will be appropriately scrutinised before they are enacted.

The all-party consultative steering group on the Scottish Parliament, which has been alluded to, agreed at its first meeting that arrangements for pre-legislative scrutiny should be introduced. The exact form that that might take will be considered carefully in the coming months. With cross-party agreement on the principle of pre-legislative scrutiny, amendment No. 7 becomes redundant. Pre-legislative scrutiny involving interested parties will result in the emergence of a greater consensus on legislation before it is introduced. Therefore, the need for a period of public consultation in the middle of the progress of a Bill through Parliament, as proposed, will not be necessary.

It is useful to stress the work that is being done bythe consultative steering group, which involves representatives of all parties, who are all making an excellent contribution. They are aware of the unicameral nature of the Scottish Parliament. They are keen to achieve consensus on legislation. Indeed, they are keen to improve radically on the Westminster model, which is important.

Mr. Owen Paterson (North Shropshire): Can the Minister name any genuine Parliament in the world that does not have a true revising chamber?

Mr. McLeish: I can furnish the hon. Gentleman with details on that question. We are not talking about the nature of a unicameral Parliament per se. We are talking about the right of the Scottish Parliament to decide on its legislative scrutiny and process.

Mr. Bernard Jenkin (North Essex): It is inadequate.

Mr. McLeish: We hear from a sedentary position that that is inadequate. The model that the Scottish Parliament

19 May 1998 : Column 753

will adopt will be a huge improvement on the Westminster model. It will involve people and experts, it will aim for consensus and it will ensure that we have the best possible legislation. I ask the House to reject the amendment.

Mr. Ancram: The Minister has answered my point in his own way. He said that there will be pre-legislative scrutiny in the Scottish Parliament. If ever legislation has had pre-legislative scrutiny, it is this Bill. There was a detailed White Paper last summer, a referendum campaign during which the proposals were discussed at length, and a three-month period before the Bill was produced, yet amendment after amendment has been tabled by the Government on Report. If this were a Bill in the Scottish Parliament, it would be too late and there would have to be further legislation. The amendment is much needed, and I ask my hon. Friends to support it.

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 116, Noes 303.

Division No. 279
[4.34 pm


AYES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, James
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Body, Sir Richard
Boswell, Tim
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon
Butterfill, John
Clappison, James
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cran, James
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Day, Stephen
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan Smith, Iain
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodlad, Rt Hon Sir Alastair
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Hunter, Andrew
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lidington, David
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
MacKay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
St Aubyn, Nick
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Tyrie, Andrew
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Wells, Bowen
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Woodward, Shaun
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:


Sir David Madel and
Mr. Oliver Heald.


NOES


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary
Ashton, Joe
Austin, John
Baker, Norman
Barnes, Harry
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Paul
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Brand, Dr Peter
Breed, Colin
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Byers, Stephen
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Caton, Martin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corston, Ms Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dafis, Cynog
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Rt Hon Ron (Caerphilly)
Denham, John
Dewar, Rt Hon Donald
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Fearn, Ronnie
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Fyfe, Maria
Galbraith, Sam
Galloway, George
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St Ives)
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Gorrie, Donald
Grant, Bernie
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Ms Margaret
Home Robertson, John
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mon)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keetch, Paul
Kemp, Fraser
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
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Leslie, Christopher
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Linton, Martin
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAllion, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
Macdonald, Calum
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McLeish, Henry
Maclennan, Rt Hon Robert
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mandelson, Peter
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Martlew, Eric
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moore, Michael
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Primarolo, Dawn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Radice, Giles
Rammell, Bill
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Rendel, David
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salmond, Alex
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shipley, Ms Debra
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Swinney, John
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Wallace, James
Ward, Ms Claire
Welsh, Andrew
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
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
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. David Clelland and
Mr. Kevin Hughes.

Question accordingly negatived.

19 May 1998 : Column 756

Clause 46

Junior Scottish Ministers

Mr. McLeish: I beg to move amendment No. 46, in page 20, line 8, at end insert--


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