HC Deb 06 December 1967 vol 755 cc1420-1
11. Mr. Dewar

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his policy on divorce law reform in Scotland, and in particular on the Scottish Law Commission's proposals contained in Command Paper No. 3256.

Mr. Ross

This has never been thought a suitable subject for Government legislation. If, however, any hon. Member wished to introduce a Bill based on the Scottish Law Commission's Report the Government would be willing to help with the drafting.

Mr. Dewar

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is very unsatisfactory, if the Private Member's Bill which has already been brought forward is enacted for England, that we in Scotland shall have to wait until an hon. Member favourably disposed to such legislation is fortunate enough to be successful in the Private Members' Ballot? That will result in a long time lag, and once again Scotland will look as though it is taking second place in the legislative train.

Mr. Ross

That is not always true. Scotland sometimes takes the lead, both through the Government and through Private Members' Bills. In this case, it is a matter of the luck of the draw and willingness of hon. Members to sponsor particular Bills.

Mr. David Steel

Will the right hon. Gentleman promise that in addition to drafting assistance he will give Government time in the Scottish Grand Committee for such a Bill?

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman probably knows better than anyone that it is not a matter for the Secretary of State for Scotland. The question of Government time is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House.