HC Deb 12 November 1969 vol 791 cc398-9
35. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Lord President of the Council what plans he has to move for an increase in the status and powers of the Scottish Grand Committee and of the elimination from the Scottish Grand Committee of Members who do not represent Scottish constituencies.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Fred Peart)

As I said in my reply to my hon. and learned Friend on 16th October, I am not proposing Amendments to the Standing Orders relating to the Scottish Grand Committee.

Mr. Hughes

Will the Lord President not have regard to the rule laid down in Chapter XXIV of Erskine May in order to prevent English, Welsh and Northern Irish Members of Parliament from delaying and frustrating Scottish business in the Scottish Grand Committee?

Mr. Peart

My hon. Friend has quoted Erskine May. There is no desire on the part of any hon. Member—whether he be English, Welsh or Northern Irish—to frustrate Scottish business.

Mrs. Ewing

Can the Lord President tell us whether the Government regard the Scottish Grand Committee as a substitute Parliament for the Scottish nation, or a talking shop for it? Or has he got some other description for it? In order to enhance its status, would not he recommend that it should meet in Edinburgh, to stimulate public interest? Could not we, in the Scottish Grand Committee, discuss our own agenda at regular intervals?

Mr. Peart

It is wrong for the hon. Lady to denigrate the Scottish Grand Committee. I am not anti-Scottish, nor against the hon. Lady. I set up a special committee on Scottish affairs. I hope that she will be sensible about this.