HC Deb 07 December 1954 vol 535 cc773-4
47. Mr. Ross

asked the Prime Minister if in future he will so arrange it that announcements of Government policy affecting those Scottish matters which are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Scotland will be made in the House by the Secretary of State.

The Prime Minister

I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend will continue to make statements as may be necessary on matters Which are his responsibility. It would not, however, be possible to arrange that any subject of general British interest which indirectly or incidentally affected Scotland should invariably require a separate speech from the Secretary of State for Scotland. There is, in practice, a limit to the number of Ministers who should speak in a debate. The Front Bench cannot monopolise the whole time of the House.

Mr. Ross

Surely the Prime Minister will be aware that there are matters m the Gracious Speech that vitally affect Scotland. He will also be aware that he himself announced acceptance by the Government of the Royal Commission's Report. Is he aware that this sorry silence of the Secretary of State really violates what was considered by the Commission, whose Report he accepted to be their essential principle, namely, that Scotland's needs and points of view should Be known when policy is being considered, when it is decided and when policy is announced?

The Prime Minister

I think that the statement was made by me at the desire of the House and the request of Scottish Members.

Mr. Woodburn

While we are grateful to the Prime Minister for making that statement and appreciate his having done so, may I ask whether he is aware that Scotland does resent intimations of vital matters to Scotland being pushed in at the end of an English Minister's statement as, say, on education the other evening? In a matter such as the Queen's Speech, we felt that it was desirable that Scotland should have had equal opportunity to have her Minister make a statement so that it could be debated in the House. We feel that we have been treated just a little discourteously in the matter of the Queen's Speech.

The Prime Minister

I am sure it is the desire, intention and interest of Her Majesty's Government to make sure that Scotland is not treated with injustice.

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