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Simon Hughes: I support entirely the thrust of the arguments made by the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) and the hon. and learned Member for Dudley, North (Ross Cranston) against the amendments. There are huge benefits in a system that allows one of the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary—under the Bill, they will become supreme court justices—to come from Scotland. They have always played a significant part, and have made a contribution. Scotland has been well represented at that level. The last Lord Chancellor but one was a Scot. The highest reaches of the United Kingdom legal decision-making process has benefited from Scottish participation.

The logic of the argument made by the hon. Member for Perth (Annabelle Ewing) is that there would be no such participation, and Scots would not be nominated at that level. That is an implication of independence— a country pulls itself away entirely—but we have benefited greatly from that mixture.

Annabelle Ewing: The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the Bill includes an express provision that the judgments of the new court outwith their jurisdictional aspects are not to be binding but merely persuasive. How do his arguments sit in light of that fact?

Simon Hughes: With respect to the hon. Lady, that is not particular in relation to Scotland. There has never been perfect unity—we are a united kingdom to which four different countries contribute. The Scottish position is different from the Northern Irish and the Welsh position. Like my colleagues, I believe that it is better to take the Scottish contribution to our legal system up to the top. We have benefited significantly from that contribution, and some of the greatest jurists have been Scots. The United Kingdom should continue to benefit from that at the highest possible level.

Mr. Leslie: I agree with everyone who has spoken except, of course, the hon. Member for Perth (Annabelle Ewing). It is a pity that she decided to divide the Committee before hearing the rest of the debate.

Mr. Iain Luke (Dundee, East) (Lab): Is the Minister aware that the Scottish Parliament has had an opportunity to debate this fully? Scots law will be protected under clause 37.
1 Feb 2005 : Column 754

Mr. Leslie: My hon. Friend is right. On 19 January, the Scottish Parliament passed a Sewel motion endorsing the establishment of a UK supreme court, with 63 votes in favour and 56 against. That was the decision of the Scottish Parliament, I am glad to report.

The amendments would simply remove Scottish civil appeals from the jurisdiction of the UK supreme court. Clause 37, and schedule 8, which it introduces, make provision for the jurisdiction of the new supreme court. We propose that its jurisdiction will be the same as the jurisdiction of the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords in appeals from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, together with the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in relation to devolution issues. The supreme court will be a superior court of record, as are the House of Lords and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Clause 37 is critical, because it ensures that current jurisdictional arrangements are preserved, thereby ensuring consistency in approach between the new and the old regimes for people seeking a judgment from the highest court in the land. Those arrangements include the appeal process and the types of appeal from each jurisdiction, including leave requirements and routes of appeal.

Annabelle Ewing: The Minister would be hard pressed to find one Sewel motion that has not been passed by the Labour-Liberal Scottish Executive. However, can he explain to senior legal figures in Scotland and to me what on earth is the logic of sending a final appeal down to a court in London, when the judgment is not binding on any other part of the UK? The opposite also obtains. What is the logic of that in post-devolution Scotland?

Mr. Leslie: It is the same logic that applies to any part of the United Kingdom that sends its appeals to that court or to the new supreme court. The hon. Lady could make the same argument for any other part of the United Kingdom, and the change that she has proposed would not be beneficial. As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dudley, North (Ross Cranston) pointed out, it could be detrimental. The hon. Lady suggested that the passing of a Sewel motion is a minor irrelevance, but it is democracy. In fact, it is the choice of the people of Scotland themselves who, through their elected representatives, backed the creation of a UK supreme court. That was Scotland's choice, and I am glad that it was passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The decision to transfer the devolution jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to the supreme court will create a single apex to the UK's judicial systems. Previously, that was not possible, because of the need to avoid the constitutional absurdity of a court hearing a dispute between the UK Parliament and a devolved Administration where the court is a Committee of one of the parties—in other words, the UK Parliament. I forgot to mention it earlier, but that is another reason for creating a supreme court and removing an existing anomaly.

In discussing the proposed repatriation of civil appeals, it is significant, as I said, that a Sewel motion was passed. There is a 300-year-long tradition for appeals in civil matters legitimately to come to a UK-wide court of appeal. The hon. Lady's arguments about
1 Feb 2005 : Column 755
the Act of Union of 1707 are misguided, and nothing in the Bill is inconsistent with it. The overriding fact in this debate is that the Bill preserves the essential nature of appeals to the House of Lords. The route of appeal will lie, from the same courts, in the same cases and in the same way, to the supreme court, just as it does to the House of Lords. I therefore urge the Committee to agree to the clause unamended and to reject the amendments.

Annabelle Ewing: Briefly, I have not heard anything in our short debate that obviates the need either for the amendments or for a Division, which I shall still seek. Scots law is entirely separate and is devolved to the Scottish Parliament. We have a new political structure in the United Kingdom, which the Minister may not yet have caught up with. He used the Sewel motion as a purported justification for the clause, but it is a political mechanism, and provides no justification for the provisions of the Bill that, as I explained in detail, we are seeking to amend. Fifty-five Sewel motions have been passed since 1999. They represent devolution in reverse and are not to be commended.

The Minister referred to the treaty of Union, but he has failed on Second Reading and in Committee to address the specific concerns expressed by senior legal figures in Scotland about the compatibility of the Bill's proposals with that treaty. The proposed new system and structure will not be entirely distinct and separate from the administration of justice south of the border, and he did not seek to deal with those specific points at all. I therefore seek to divide the Committee on amendment No. 366.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 4, Noes 411.

Division No. 60
[3.08 pm


Ewing, Annabelle
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Weir, Michael

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Elfyn Llwyd and
Mr. Simon Thomas


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Amess, David
Ancram, rh Michael
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Austin, John
Bacon, Richard
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Banks, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Barron, rh Kevin
Battle, rh John
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, rh A. J.
Bell, Sir Stuart
Bennett, Andrew
Beresford, Sir Paul
Betts, Clive
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunt, Crispin
Boateng, rh Paul
Borrow, David
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Browne, Desmond
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Burns, Simon
Burstow, Paul
Butterfill, Sir John
Byers, rh Stephen
Byrne, Liam (B'ham Hodge H)
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cairns, David
Cameron, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Coffey, Ms Ann
Collins, Tim
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Conway, Derek
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, rh Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Cran, James (Beverley)
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Curry, rh David
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, rh Alistair
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Dawson, Hilton
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Dodds, Nigel
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doughty, Sue
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, rh Iain
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E)
Etherington, Bill
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flight, Howard
Flint, Caroline
Flook, Adrian
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gill, Parmjit Singh
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Hague, rh William
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Hawkins, Nick
Heald, Oliver
Healey, John
Heath, David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hendry, Charles
Heppell, John
Hermon, Lady
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hinchliffe, David
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Holmes, Paul
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howard, rh Michael
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Kennedy, rh Jane (Wavertree)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Khabra, Piara S.
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Leslie, Christopher
Letwin, rh Oliver
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, rh Mrs Helen
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lilley, rh Peter
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
Lyons, John (Strathkelvin)
McAvoy, rh Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McCartney, rh Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, rh John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
Mackay, rh Andrew
McKechin, Ann
Mackinlay, Andrew
McLoughlin, Patrick
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWilliam, John
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Malins, Humfrey
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Maples, John
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Maude, rh Francis
May, rh Mrs Theresa
Meacher, rh Michael
Meale, Alan (Mansfield)
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Moss, Malcolm
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, James
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickles, Eric
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Randall, John
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Redwood, rh John
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Roe, Dame Marion
Rooney, Terry
Rosindell, Andrew
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Sanders, Adrian
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sayeed, Jonathan
Sedgemore, Brian
Selous, Andrew
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Shepherd, Richard
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simmonds, Mark
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Soames, Nicholas
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Stanley, rh Sir John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steen, Anthony
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thurso, John
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Tredinnick, David
Trickett, Jon
Trimble, rh David
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Tyrie, Andrew
Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N.
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Whittingdale, John
Wicks, Malcolm
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Winnick, David
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Tom Watson and
Vernon Coaker

Question accordingly negatived.

1 Feb 2005 : Column 758

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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