HC Deb 19 December 1979 vol 976 cc623-4
46. Mr. Canavan

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland when he expects to meet the Scottish Law Commission.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

My right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Advocate visited the Scottish Law Commission on 15 October, and further meetings will be held as and when necessary.

Mr. Canavan

Will the Solicitor-General discuss with the Commission the enormous legal complexities created by the Tory Government's policy of treating Scottish legislation as a minor intrusion into United Kingdom Bills, such as the Education (No. 2) Bill and the Local Government Planning and Land Bill? Will he give an assurance that he will make a personal contribution at some stage in the proceedings on the Education (No. 2) Bill to explain his learned views on his Government's unlearned policy of depriving children of their legal right to school meals, milk and transport, which will affect the living standards of children in Kinross and West Perthshire as well as in the rest of Scotland?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

As it is Christmas I am sure that I can make a bargain with the hon. Gentleman. I am willing to make my learned views known to the Committee considering the Education (No. 2) Bill in the proportion that he is willing to restrict his ignorant views. I am sure that all Members of the House would be grateful if the hon. Gentleman would make the solemn and supreme sacrifice of forgoing sustenance himself so that the rest of the population could benefit from his abstinence.

Mr. David Steel

When the Solicitor-General next meets the Law Commission, will he ascertain from it—if he already knows will he tell us—how it is progressing in its work of giving effect to financial settlements in divorce cases, which he knows causes a great deal of unhappiness to those in Scotland? As the matter has been under consideration for a long time, when may we see the result?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

It is an important matter, and the Law Commission has been working on it. It is an extremely complex issue and I regret that all the difficulties attendant upon the tragedy of human separation have not yet been solved satisfactorily by any country. If anyone can make suggestions towards a solution, I am sure that that would be welcomed by both sides of the House.

Mr. Harry Ewing

I return to the serious issue raised by my hon. Friend the Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan). Will the Solicitor-General discuss with the Law Commission the new practice of the Government's inserting Scottish clauses—basically Scottish legislation—into United Kingdom Bills? Is the Solicitor-General in favour of such a practice? Will he give us the benefit of his views?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

Even at Christmas, it is nice to see a sinner come to repentance. I do not recollect many Bills for which the hon. Member was responsible that did not have the same characteristics. It is a difficult matter. It would be nice to have separate legislation, but it is not practicable, and in any circumstance in which it is contradictory it will not be done.

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