HC Deb 03 November 1965 vol 718 cc1011-2
34. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will appoint a committee to clarify the legal status of the Gaelic language and to consider what changes in the law ought to be made.

Mr. Ross

I doubt whether the appointment of such a committee would be justified, but before making up my mind, I wish to consider the report on Gaelic, based on the 1961 Census, which will be published early next year.

Mr. MacMillan

My right hon. Friend is the Secretary of State for all Scotland, including the Gaelic-speaking area, and may I ask him to take into account the fact that a Minister in the last Government saw fit on his own initiative to set up a committee on the status of the Welsh language, including such questions as its equal validity and status in the courts, and so forth? Will he receive delegations and representations from authentic Highland sources before he finally makes up his mind, and not look at this merely in terms of the Census background?

Mr. Ross

This is not against the Census background; it is an actual report on this matter. I shall be very glad to receive representations from my hon. Friend or any other Highland Member who is concerned about this.

Mr. Clark Hutchison

Why cannot the Government Law Officers clarify the status of this language?

Mr. Ross

Because there is no need to.