I turn to the issue of European Union reform. I do not think that we should be trapped into setting out a list that the media would then treat as a set of red lines. It is important to look at the direction of the European Union. It was right of my noble friends Lord Ashdown and Lord Alderdice to remind us of the origins of the European Union only a few days after we marked the 70th anniversary of the D-day landings, when Europe was liberated from the tyranny of Nazism. The vision of the initial pioneers was to create a Europe that would not be at war, as it was for my father’s and grandfather’s generations, but would be at peace. We want to ensure that we have a European Union that is competitive, flexible and democratically accountable. We are working with our partners to try to achieve that objective, and we should not underestimate what we have done so far. We have delivered the first ever cut in the budget of the European Union. We have launched negotiations on the world’s biggest trade deal. I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, who raised the matter, that it is still very much part of the United Kingdom’s priorities to have an EU-US trade deal. It would be worth £10 billion a year to the United Kingdom economy. We have safeguarded British interests by keeping the United Kingdom out of the eurozone bailout facility. Lastly, as someone who represented a fishing constituency for many years, the progress I have seen in the development of the common fisheries policy over recent months and years is right and proper, but I never thought that I would see the day that it happened.

Finally, the issue of Scotland has been raised by many contributors. The speech of the noble Lord, Lord Reid of Cardowan, who was the first person to speak principally on Scotland in this debate, was one that struck us all. He reminded us of the tone of the campaign. The noble Baroness, Lady Liddell of Coatdyke, and my noble friend Lord Stephen also referred to the response on the Twittersphere to JK Rowling’s announcement. I was worried when the noble Baroness said that she was going to quote something because I had seen some of the responses. She was right: the ones that she and my noble friend quoted are by far the least offensive. It is language that would shock us all. It is not just the tone of the debate—important issues about the referendum get lowered by that—but my fear is what kind of Scotland would it be if people like that got their way? It is not one that I would feel comfortable in, where if you do not agree you are subject to such denigration. Those who have said it is important that the First Minister should clearly distance himself from that are absolutely right.

The noble Lord, Lord Hennessy, said that we should be looking to a new United Kingdom in the event of a no vote. As I indicated, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has already indicated that he would be looking to convene a new Scotland because we already have a number of contributions from the political parties. I think it was the noble

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Baroness, Lady Liddell, who talked about the constitutional convention. That was important but none of the projects that has come forward so far for Scottish devolution, either the 1998 Act or the 2012 Act, came originally from government. The convention, which embraced civic Scotland, led to the 1998 Act, and the 2012 Act was a product of the Calman commission, which again was not a product of government but of parties and people in civic Scotland. It is important that we engage civic Scotland.

However, I also take the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Hennessy, about the wider United Kingdom. The noble Lord, Lord Whitty, talked about decentralisation, and colleagues from Wales and Northern Ireland have contributed as well as those from England. Indeed, in replying to a letter some time ago from the First Minister of Wales about a constitutional convention embracing the whole United Kingdom, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister indicated—I do not have his exact words—that there was some merit in that but not until we had actually done the most important thing of making sure that we still had a proper United Kingdom with Scotland as part of it.

I want to conclude with this thought. We have talked about the number of things that have been achieved. The noble Lord, Lord Reid, used the “Monty Python” sketch to illustrate them. But many of the things that have been relevant to this debate are relevant to why Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom—not least the global summit aimed at preventing violence against women in conflict, which is something that the United Kingdom can proudly claim to have been at the forefront of leading. The noble Lord, Lord Judd, is absolutely right to stress the importance of human rights values in our foreign policy. I think that an independent Scotland would still aspire to these values but it would not have the clout or the influence to do as much about it as we can as part of the United Kingdom.

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I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Wigley, who said that we cannot have Scotland’s voice always filtered through London but that is not the point. The point is that Britain’s voice is very often in a Scots accent—or a Welsh accent or a Northern Irish accent—as much as an English accent. It is that greater thing that we aspire to, things that we do not just historically—and reference has been made to the historic events of 100 years ago and 70 years ago—but today, such as preventing violence against women or the arms trade treaty, which again we took leadership of, which we can be proud of as a United Kingdom and in which Scots have played their part. That is why I sincerely believe that on 18 September my country men and women in Scotland will vote to ensure that we are kept together, and that when we have the Queen’s Speech next year, whoever is doing the arrangements will ensure that Scotland still comes under constitutional and devolved affairs and not foreign affairs. I ask the House to support the Motion.

Motion agreed nemine dissentiente, and the Lord Chamberlain was ordered to present the Address to Her Majesty.

Able Marine Energy Park Development Consent Order 2014

Message from the Commons

A message was brought from the Commons that they have appointed a Committee of three Members to join with the Committee appointed by the Lords as the Joint Committee to which the Petition of General Objection and the Petition of Amendment against the Able Marine Energy Park Development Consent Order 2014 stand referred.

House adjourned at 10.15 pm.