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The amendment suggesting that the implications for England in the Government's proposals for Wales should be clearly set out before people make a decision in the referendum also applies to Scotland. The implications for England of the proposals for Scotland will, if anything, be greater. It has been a difficult problem to discuss to date because the constitution unit, which produced the proposals on which the Scottish White Paper will be based, did not include the need to take account of the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom. The terms of reference simply asked the authors to think about a scheme for Scotland, sell it to the people of Scotland and sell it to the people of the day. That was the gist of it. The noble Baroness, Lady Ramsay, who is well versed in these matters nowadays, may be able to confirm that.
Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: My Lords, perhaps I may interrupt the noble Baroness to say that I am a little confused. I wonder whether the noble Baroness is confusing the constitution unit with the Scottish Constitutional Convention, of which I am the co-chair. I have never been part of the constitution unit.
Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, I am speaking about the Scottish Constitutional Convention's terms of reference which the constitution unit quoted in its material. That interested me very much because the Scottish Constitutional Convention was not asked to consider the relationship between the scheme which it produced and the rest of the United Kingdom. The body which the noble Baroness chaired has not made recommendations about how its scheme would fit into the rest of the United Kingdom. If that problem has been addressed in the White Paper, it will have been done subsequently, and we have not yet seen it. All I am saying is that this amendment relating to Wales has the same implications for the arrangements for Scotland. It is therefore of great interest with regard to the arrangements for the whole of the United Kingdom.
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, my noble friend Lord Crickhowell has put down an important marker here as we await the Statement on the Welsh White Paper and, in a couple of days' time, on the Scottish White Paper. I can perhaps shorten his contribution by saying that my noble friend has drawn the Government's attention to the law of unintended consequences--in this case, the unintended consequences for England and for the United Kingdom as a result of the proposals which we are about to hear for Wales and, in a couple of days, for Scotland.
I do not think my noble friend actually thought that part of the law of unintended consequences was that the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, would intervene. Having listened to the noble Earl's speech, I sometimes think, when I hear the flavour of how he discusses these issues, that he would be more comfortable on the Cross-Benches representing the Scottish National Party. Perhaps he is able to square that circle better than I can.
There will be unintended obvious consequences for the Parliament of the United Kingdom, for this House and for the other place arising from these proposals. I shall certainly be measuring, as I have no doubt my noble friends will be measuring, these two White Papers not just against what they do to Scotland and Wales but what they do to England and to the rest of the United Kingdom.
We all know about the West Lothian question: the number of Scottish Members of Parliament and what is their role; the number of Welsh Members of Parliament and what is their role. To be fair to the Liberal Democrats, they acknowledge this position and have clearly stated that the number of Members of Parliament from Scotland and Wales coming to the United Kingdom Parliament should be reduced. When the legislation comes in the autumn I look forward to seeing them putting down amendments to achieve that. The problem could still arise of Scottish and Welsh MPs being involved in English matters when they have absolutely no say about the same matters relating to their own constituents. That is something that the White Papers ought to address.
I shall be pleasantly surprised--I shall go further: I shall be shocked and amazed--if the White Papers have a chapter in them saying "Consequences for the rest of the United Kingdom and how we shall resolve them". My noble friend has rightly drawn to our attention the need to have that chapter. If the Government are not prepared to write it, it will be up to some of the rest of us to write it for them.
Lord Sewel: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. He referred to Liberal Democrat Peers and their acceptance of a reduction in Scottish representation in the House of Commons. If he is correct, and amendments are put down to reduce the number of Scottish MPs as a result of the establishment of a Scottish parliament, will he support those amendments?
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, I shall have to look very carefully at those amendments along with other amendments which will be necessary to clarify the role of Scottish Members of Parliament. However, there is no doubt in my mind, and never has been, that there is a logic in the reduction of the number of Scottish MPs at Westminster. That, so to speak, narrows the angle for the problem of the West Lothian question coming to a head. There is an inescapable logic in doing that, just as there is an inescapable logic in the other point that my noble friend drew to our attention; namely, the role of the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales. Once again I understand the Liberal Democrats' position to be that those two offices will be abolished. I look forward to their amendments.
I have to say, because I do believe in the unity of the United Kingdom, that it would be a mistake to abolish those two offices as it would mean that the United Kingdom Parliament would contain neither a Welsh nor a Scottish voice unless some other members of the Cabinet were from Scotland and Wales. For the current Government, that might not be a problem. But it could be a problem in the future, as it might have been at some stages in the past. I am intrigued--I hope the White Papers will address this--as to what the role will be of the Secretaries of State. Will they be the Scotland and Wales representatives in the Cabinet? If they are, will they be excluded when the Cabinet discusses confidential information only relevant to the government of the United Kingdom? They will be there as representatives of another government. Everyone worries about what will happen if different parties are involved. We do not have to wait until then. What will happen if it is the same party?
In Scotland we have had an interesting picture for some years of Strathclyde Regional Council and Glasgow City Council. They were run by the same Labour Party. I have to tell your Lordships that they did not appear to be blood brothers. There was a fair amount of squabbling between them. I do not think that Glasgow City Council--Glasgow District Council as it was then--would have been too happy to have a Strathclyde councillor at its inner cabal; nor would Strathclyde have been happy to have a Glasgow City councillor at its inner cabal. So I really do not think that it is just a question of what happens if the political outcomes of elections in the United Kingdom, Scotland and Wales begin to diverge; because their politics, the people who run them and their objectives will also begin to diverge. That divergence will make the position of the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales hugely difficult if their roles in the Cabinet are merely to represent the interests of the Scottish government and the Welsh government.
I hope that the White Papers will address another point, which has not only constitutional but economic consequences. At the moment the Welsh Development Agency and Scottish Enterprise have a fairly good track record of which I know some parts of England are envious. Let us assume for a moment that the government of England--that is what it will be once the powers that it has currently for the whole of the United Kingdom are taken off to Wales and to Scotland--decide to be a little more robust about grabbing some inward investment. The Scots and the Welsh will promptly cry foul. I can assure your Lordships that they will promptly cry foul. They already do it. In the north-east of England the English grabbed Siemens. I use the word "grabbed" in the way it was portrayed in the Scottish press. If that happens in the future, who will hold the ring between the competing development agencies of the United Kingdom?
No one will be there to hold the ring. We shall not have a United Kingdom overview. Who will answer to Brussels if Brussels says that the Scottish and Welsh parliaments are going much further than they are
As I said a few moments ago, I hope that there is a chapter in both White Papers addressing the questions about the knock-on effect on the rest of the United Kingdom and on England in particular. Frankly, I do not believe there will be, because the Government think that if they sweep this under the carpet everyone else will ignore it and nothing will happen. The trouble with dust swept under the carpet is that it remains there to cause problems in the years to come. That is exactly what will happen unless the Government face up to the consequences outlined by my noble friend in his introduction of these important amendments.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I shall, if I may, deal with the amendments. They require the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales respectively to publish White Papers. I cannot remember how often my noble friend Lord Sewel and I have given the undertaking that we would do so. The Welsh White Paper is to be published today and the Scottish White Paper in two days' time. Those dates have been known for some while.
The further suggestion is that summaries of the relevant White Papers should be delivered to every elector at least two weeks before the referendum is held and that the Welsh White Paper would have to set out why the Welsh assembly is not to have tax-varying powers. We believe that that last point makes no sense. The purpose of the White Paper is to set out the Government's proposals so that the people of Wales are adequately informed of them before they are asked to vote. The people of Wales are not being asked to vote on whether the assembly should have tax-varying powers. The White Paper will set out the Government's proposals for a Welsh assembly; it will not deal with matters which do not form part of our proposals.
As regards Amendment No. 16, the Welsh White Paper will deal with relationships between the assembly and its partners in Wales, in Westminster, in Whitehall and in Europe. It is the people of Wales who will be most affected by the establishment of a Welsh assembly and that is why the people of Wales are being asked to vote on our proposals. Therefore, these amendments have been overtaken by events. There has never been any doubt about our proposals. They were set out in the manifesto and we are delivering them on time today and on Thursday.
The new clauses also propose the publication of summary versions of the White Papers to be distributed to every elector in Scotland and Wales respectively. There is little between us on that. We plan to produce leaflets outlining the Government's proposals for Scotland and Wales. We propose to distribute them to all households in Scotland and Wales respectively and we intend that they should be with the voters in good time. Of course, one cannot guarantee a precise timetable given the vastness of the task that is to be carried out. We shall also be
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