Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

The Earl of Mar and Kellie: Despite the Minister's response, I remain concerned that, in the event of the people of Scotland deciding that they have, for example, a stricter attitude towards gambling and a simultaneous desire by the people of England not to have such an attitude, Scotland will, as usual, remain as the minority partner who cannot in fact influence United Kingdom policy. It was for that reason that I was anxious to bring forward my amendment.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Having listened to the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, I should say, first, that I have some sympathy with his point about local lotteries. However, judging by the reply that he received from the Government, I do not believe that he made much progress. As we are dealing with the section of Schedule 5 which deals with betting, gaming and lotteries, Members of the Committee will be interested to know that I did not put on a bet that the Government would actually concede on this or, for that matter, on any other point.

I must say that as the Minister explained it all to us, I became even more confused. Indeed, if I may hark back to a previous amendment of mine, it sounded more and more like a dog's breakfast. Arts and sport are handled by Scottish bodies. Those bodies will be appointed by the Scottish executive and, essentially, Westminster will have nothing to do with them. So everything is fine as regards arts and sport; indeed, the Scottish parliament can be trusted with them, so to speak. I suppose that the Government will say that that is just a carry-over of what is happening at present.

However, when it comes to heritage, charities and the New Opportunities Fund, that is a different matter. There will be a Scottish member or two on those bodies--even four members in the case of one of them--and they will be dealt with as cross-Border bodies under the Bill. But the Scottish executive will have the power of direction on them. I wonder whether I dare say this: if the Scottish executive has the power of direction on these bodies, why on earth has my amendment not been accepted and separate Scottish bodies set up to deal with the lottery fund distribution in Scotland?

Secondly I was totally unconvinced by the arguments about the New Opportunities Fund. Of course, the Minister ducked entirely my points about the way that the Government have done a "U" turn and on the way that they are now using the lottery fund in order to meet expenditure which should be properly met out of general taxation. If I had any doubts about my amendment to begin with, those doubts vanished when I heard the Minister's reply.

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1088

Indeed, I am now even more convinced that we ought to do something about this, and I wish to seek the opinion of the Committee.

6.42 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 190) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 58; Not-Contents, 79.

Division No. 2


Alexander of Tunis, E.
Balfour, E.
Blatch, B.
Broadbridge, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Byford, B. [Teller.]
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Cranborne, V.
Cross, V.
Denham, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Dilhorne, V.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dudley, E.
Erroll, E.
Fookes, B.
Forbes, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Harlech, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hylton, L.
Kimball, L.
Kintore, E.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Milverton, L.
Minto, E.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Montrose, D.
Mountevans, L.
Moynihan, L.
Munster, E.
Newall, L.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Rankeillour, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Rowallan, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Sempill, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Stair, E.
Stockton, E.
Strange, B.
Sudeley, L.
Torphichen, L.
Wise, L.
Wynford, L.


Alli, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Chandos, V.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gilbert, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Lockwood, B.
Longford, E.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1089

6.50 p.m.

[Amendment No. 190A not moved.]

The Earl of Mar and Kellie moved Amendment No. 190B:

Page 69, line 7, after ("individual") insert ("or partnership under section 4(2) of the Partnership Act 1980)").

The noble Earl said: This amendment has the purpose of altering the definition supplied in line 7 on page 69. The amendment seeks to exclude partnerships from the definition of business associations; that is, partnerships in Scotland within the ambit of Section 4(2) of the Partnership Act 1890. In Scotland people who have entered a partnership form a firm which is a separate legal person distinct from the partners who compose it. The law in England is, of course, different on this issue.

The amendment would place responsibility for Scottish partnerships with the Scottish parliament. As these partnerships are already defined in Scots law, their reservation to this Parliament makes little sense. The thought that this United Kingdom Parliament would find time to amend the laws of Scottish partnership, presumably at the request of the Scottish parliament, can be seen as unlikely. I beg to move.

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: I support this amendment which, as I am sure the Minister will be aware, has the full support of the Law Society of Scotland. As many noble Lords will be aware, that society scrutinises Bills that come before this Chamber in great detail and is assiduous in its drafting of amendments and provision of briefing to noble Lords on all sides of the Chamber. It also sends briefing to government Ministers. This appears to be a good example of how the Government might take on board a helpful suggestion made by the Law Society, which is, of course, a non-political body and has members of all parties and of none. The noble Earl has explained the purpose--

Lord Sewel: I remind the noble and learned Lord that when he was in government and I was in opposition, the Law Society of Scotland provided a similar service, but on those occasions the noble and learned Lord always thought that its amendments were ill-founded and wrong.

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: I have no recollection of that but one tends to put unpleasant memories out of

23 Jul 1998 : Column 1090

sight and out of mind. I fully accept that on some occasions its views do not command universal support. When one deals with--dare I say it?--more political issues, such as the contents of the Crime and Disorder Bill, I can appreciate that different Members of this Chamber may take different views on the matter.

Section 4(2) of the Partnership Act 1890 states,

    "In Scotland a firm is a legal person distinct from the partners of whom it is composed".

It seems to me that that is a highly non-political issue. A constructive suggestion has been made and I hope that the Minister will consider it seriously.

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry: I am not clear as to the intention of this amendment. I am not sure whether it seeks to devolve the whole of the law of partnership as it applies to Scotland. If that is the case, I can understand in a theoretical way why the amendment has been tabled. But one has to bear in mind that it was at the instigation of the Scottish legal profession that the law of partnership was made the same in both England and Scotland with, I believe, the sole exception of the existence of a separate legal persona. With that one exception--there may be another stray exception of which I am unaware--the law of partnership is, in effect, the same. If one is considering this matter from the point of view of trade and industry, I am not aware of the kind of issues which would be likely to arise where it would make sense for the law of partnership--which, as I say, applies uniformly with the one exception of the separate legal persona--to be devolved in the way the amendment suggests. I can see the sense of that in a theoretical way but not in a practical way.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page