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Lord Mackay of Drumadoon: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister. I do not wish to play lawyers' games at this time of night, but this order was not in fact approved by the Scottish Parliament in terms of a transitional and transitory provisions order made some months ago. Although this order was the subject of discussion in a debate in the Scottish Parliament, it was not approved. On that basis, it certainly would be of some reassurance to the Opposition parties involved if the Minister would be prepared to undertake to draw to the attention of the First Minister and his colleagues the measure of concern about the lack of consultation.

Lord Sewel: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord is quite right. My words were not carefully chosen. I accept that the Scottish Parliament did not debate the Short money order as such, but the subject was covered in the debate on the order for the modification of Schedules 4 and 5. Therefore, it has been before the Scottish Parliament and, in substance, a view was reached. Nevertheless, I take the point that the noble Lord made. I am sure that the First Minister will be aware of what the noble and learned Lord has said this evening as regards the way in which matters are taken forward in the future.

Perhaps I may now deal with the business of the amount being made available to the Liberal Democrat Party--a party which, as has been indicated, is in coalition. However, I have to say that I see the most consistent coalition in the Scottish Parliament as being that between the SNP and the Conservative Party. I suppose there would be those, although I do not for a moment count myself among them, who would say that the Liberal Democrat Party needs all the help that it can get in order to reach a considered and coherent line. But I would not make that cheap and nasty comment.

The noble and learned Lord made a point about the provision of hard copies of the Scottish Hansard. I suspect that these may be settling down, teething issues. It is clearly the intention that the record of the Scottish Parliament and the Bills with which it deals should be made available to Members of this and the other House, as quickly as possible. I am sure that we can look forward to seeing improvements in present arrangements being put in place.

The noble and learned Lord also drew attention to the problem regarding the freedom of information Act. As he indicated, freedom of information is devolved so there will in fact be the possibility of having a freedom

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of information Act that applies basically to Westminster/Whitehall and one that applies to Holyrood. Clearly there will be a difficulty if there is a difference between those Acts. The noble and learned Lord posited the view that one regime may be more liberal than the other. It would not be right and proper--and this is purely for the sake of argument--if, say, a Whitehall department made available to Scottish Ministers information in confidence that was exempt under the freedom of information Act of this Parliament, while an individual could obtain access to it by using the provisions of a Scottish freedom of information Act. That would be an unacceptable kind of back-door route to undermining the legislative provisions of this Parliament. I believe that there is rightly and properly a safeguard in place against that happening. I do not believe that that is a matter which affects the good government of the state in any way at all.

The noble Viscount mentioned fishing borders. He will not be surprised to learn that I have some considerable interest in this matter. The simple case is that the boundary that has been decided upon, and which has been accepted by this House, is drawn on the median line principle. That simply means that all waters north of the boundary line are nearer to Scotland than to England and rightly subject to the regulation of the Scottish Parliament and all waters south of that line are nearer to England than to Scotland and rightly the subject of regulation by this Parliament. Those who

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argue a different case have the difficult task of arguing that waters that are nearer to England than to Scotland should somehow rightly be regulated by a Scottish parliament. I think that is a difficult case to sustain. However, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State and I have indicated that we are happy to discuss this issue with members of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation.

As regards tourism, the noble Viscount made an interesting and important point. We have to recognise that tourism has grown from some decades ago from being a relatively Cinderella industry to being one of Scotland's premier industries. The point the noble Viscount made is well taken. This is a matter for the two governments to sort out--which I am sure they will--in a way which is to the benefit of both the United Kingdom and Scotland. I see no automatic conflict between those interests.

I believe that I have covered the points raised by noble Lords and I hope that the House will feel able to pass these orders this evening and, as I say, bring to an end--and reach our final destination in this respect--the process of putting in place all the legislative blocks. I should have said bricks rather than blocks; that is a Freudian slip if ever there was one. As I say, I hope we can put in place all the legislative bricks that build a sound and secure basis for devolution to Scotland.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

        House adjourned at thirteen minutes before eleven o'clock.


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