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Page 42, line 44, at end insert--
("(9) A tribunal established for the purposes of this section shall consist of two persons selected by the First Minister from--
(a) the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary;
(b) peers of Parliament who hold or have held high judicial office as defined by sections 5(3) and 25 of the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876;
(c) members of Her Majesty's Privy Council who hold or have held high judicial office as so defined.").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this amendment follows directly upon the one on which we have just voted. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

7.10 p.m.

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 177A:


After Clause 91, insert the following new clause--

Assistance for opposition parties

(".--(1) Her Majesty may by Order in Council provide for the Parliamentary corporation to make payments to registered political parties for the purpose of assisting members of the Parliament who are connected with such parties to perform their Parliamentary duties.
(2) The corporation shall not make any payment to a party in pursuance of such an Order if any of the members of the Parliament who are connected with the party are also members of the Scottish Executive or junior Scottish Ministers.
(3) But such an Order may, in any circumstances specified in the Order, require the fact that any members who are connected with a party are also members of the Scottish Executive or junior Scottish Ministers to be disregarded.
(4) Such an Order may determine the circumstances in which a member of the Parliament and a registered political party are to be regarded for the purposes of this section as connected.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the amendment confers the power of Her Majesty, by Order in Council, to make provision for the Scottish parliamentary corporate body (SPCB) to make payments to any Opposition political party represented by MSPs in the Scottish parliament to assist those MSPs in performing their parliamentary duties. This money, as an expense of the SPCB, would come out of the Scottish consolidated fund.

It is intended that that should enable provision to be made for payments to Opposition parties in the parliament equivalent to the so-called Short money that is provided for Opposition parties in this parliament. That accords with the recommendation of the committee on the funding of political parties which was chaired by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Neill. It is envisaged that such money paid will be applied by the parties to obtain research and support facilities for Opposition Front-Bench spokesmen, assistance in the Opposition Whips' Office, and other staff for the leaders of the Opposition parties.

Although the amendment does not give full effect to the recommendations made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Neill, and his committee for the provision of financial support to parties in the Scottish parliament, it provides a mechanism whereby some funding can be provided for Opposition parties in the Scottish

2 Nov 1998 : Column 73

parliament until such time as the Neill recommendations are considered fully by the Government and put on the statute book. We believe that it is important to act now as an interim measure so that a mechanism to provide financial support for Opposition parties in the Scottish parliament is in place as soon as the parliament is established.

Amendment No. 206F ensures that an Order in Council under the new clause will be subject to approval by resolution of both the UK and Scottish parliaments. That ensures that the Scottish parliament will have a say on what moneys are to be paid out of the Scottish consolidated fund. I beg to move.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, we warmly welcome the new clause which the Government seek to insert. It is unfortunate that the Government have not taken on board all of the recommendations of the Neill committee on this matter. One hopes that in the fullness of time--and not too long away at that--that the Government will take on board all the recommendations of the Neill committee and will not pick and choose between those that suit them and those that do not.

One point slightly puzzles me. Subsection (2) states:


    "The corporation shall not make any payment to a party...if any of the members of the Parliament who are connected with the party are also members of the Scottish Executive".
I presume that that envisages a coalition with two parties forming the Government. The "junior partner", if I may call it that, would not be eligible for the money. However, subsection (3) states:


    "But such an Order may, in any circumstances specified in the Order, require the fact that any members who are connected with a party are also members of the Scottish Executive or junior Scottish Ministers to be disregarded".
The two subsections seem contradictory. On the one hand, subsection (2) says that if your party is involved in the Government at all, you cannot have the money, whereas subsection (3) says that an order may state that you can have it. I am not sure whether I am reading that correctly, but perhaps the Minister could justify that contradiction.

Lord Renton: My Lords, before the Minister does so, I wonder whether I may be very daring and say that I am not in complete agreement with what has been said from both Front Benches. I must confess that I have not read what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Neill, said on this, but I am puzzled about the payments. Are they in lieu of salaries or in lieu of expenses? I find strange the idea that registered political parties should be given that responsibility instead of Parliament and the Government. The parties are not public bodies. They are not statutory bodies although they are to become registered. Parties are not elected by the people; members of various parties are elected by the people. I hope that I may be forgiven for raising that doubt, but I am puzzled. I was relieved when I heard the noble Lord, Lord Sewel, when moving the amendment, say, in effect, that the provision is experimental.

2 Nov 1998 : Column 74

7.15 p.m.

Lord Sewel: My Lords, I did not say that it was "experimental"; I said that it was "interim". It is nice to hear the iconoclastic, independent voice of the noble Lord, Lord Renton, on this. He clearly has not checked his position with his own Front Bench. His noble friends may find that they are losing quite a bit of support in your Lordships' House on this question of the essential work of, and support for, Opposition parties that is necessary in the parliamentary process. We are not talking about payment in lieu of salaries or anything like that. We are talking about money that is made available in both Houses of this Parliament, the so-called Short money. It is made available so that the Opposition can employ researchers and to provide the Opposition Whips' Office with administrative and technical support. It has been in place for some considerable time now and is an accepted feature of the way in which we order our party affairs in parliament. I should have thought that there is no exception to it.

On the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, I must admit that when I read the provisions I came up with a similar degree of puzzlement. He is right that it is the intention that a junior party in a coalition executive would normally be excluded from receiving Short money. However, if a party had just a single junior minister involved in the executive, that in itself might be felt not to be sufficient automatically to exclude it from Short money support. That is what the subsections would achieve.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Hardie moved Amendment No. 177B:


After Clause 92, insert the following new clause--

Rights and liabilities of the Crown in different capacities

(".--(1) Rights and liabilities may arise between the Crown in right of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and the Crown in right of the Scottish Administration by virtue of a contract, by operation of law or by virtue of an enactment as they may arise between subjects.
(2) Property and liabilities may be transferred between the Crown in one of those capacities and the Crown in the other capacity as they may be transferred between subjects; and they may together create, vary or extinguish any property or liability as subjects may.
(3) Proceedings in respect of--
(a) any property or liabilities to which the Crown in one of those capacities is entitled or subject under subsection (1) or (2), or
(b) the exercise of, or failure to exercise, any function exercisable by an office-holder of the Crown in one of those capacities,
may be instituted by the Crown in either capacity; and the Crown in the other capacity may be a separate party in the proceedings.
(4) This section applies to a unilateral obligation as it applies to a contract.
(5) In this section--
"office-holder", in relation to the Crown in right of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, means any Minister of the Crown or other office-holder under the Crown in that capacity and, in relation to the Crown in right of the Scottish Administration, means any office-holder in the Scottish Administration,
"subject" means a person not acting on behalf of the Crown.").

2 Nov 1998 : Column 75

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this is an amendment which clarifies that legal relations may be entered into between the Crown in right of the UK Government and the Crown in right of the Scottish administration.

The Bill already draws a distinction between the Crown in right of the UK Government and the Crown in right of the Scottish administration. It makes provision for the Crown in both capacities to sue and to be sued.

It is also intended, however, that legal relations should be capable of being entered into between the UK Government and the Scottish administration so as to transfer rights, liabilities and other property between them. It is also intended that, when a UK Minister of the Crown makes an order under Clause 54 requiring some action to be taken by Scottish ministers, it should be possible for Scottish ministers to seek a judicial review of that order and for the UK Minister to seek a court order enforcing his order against Scottish ministers, subject of course to the provisions of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947. In other words, it is intended that the UK Government and the Scottish administration should be able to enter into legal relations and to sue each other.

It was thought that, without an express provision in the Bill, the view may be taken that the doctrine of Crown indivisibility would prevent this. Government Amendment No. 177B therefore clarifies the position. It makes clear that the Crown in right of the UK Government should be able to enter into legal relations with the Crown in right of the Scottish administration and vice versa. This puts the Crown in right of the UK Government and the Crown in right of the Scottish administration in the same relationship to each other as they are, or would be, to a subject. In other words, legal relationships can be created and enforced in the courts, subject of course to the provisions of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 as to the nature of remedies which can be granted against the Crown. This amendment makes it clear that the Crown in right of the UK Government and the Crown in right of the Scottish administration would be able to sue each other. I beg to move.


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