HC Deb 27 April 1999 vol 330 cc138-9
14. Sir Teddy Taylor (Rochford and Southend, East)

What steps he will take to advise hon. Members of the activities and decisions of the Scottish Parliament. [81003]

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Donald Dewar)

The Scottish Parliament will be expected to publish an official record of its proceedings and a journal recording its decisions. Those have been provided for in its initial Standing Orders as contained in the Scotland Act 1998 (Transitory and Transitional Provisions (Standing Orders) and Parliamentary Publications) Order 1999, which was laid on 12 April. I am not sure that that was the most exciting answer that I have ever given, but as it may be my last—at least in this capacity—I hope that it helped the hon. Gentleman.

Sir Teddy Taylor

Some of us consider that the devolution business will end up as a costly and divisive shambles, but obviously, we pray that we are wrong as 1 July approaches. What steps does the Secretary of State believe should be taken to encourage co-operation between the two Parliaments? What will he be answerable for in the House of Commons? Does he see any meaningful role for Scottish Members in Westminster after devolution?

Mr. Dewar

Of course there is a role for Scottish Members in Westminster. The hon. Gentleman may think that fiscal affairs, foreign affairs, macro-economics, defence, labour law and all the things that would preserve the integrated and level playing field for business in this country are unimportant, but I do not. Scottish Members will be here to represent Scottish interests and their constituents' interests, as they are now, in respect of those important matters. The hon. Gentleman is concerned about lack of co-operation. He and I have been shouting abuse at each other for about 30 years, and he will want to ensure that that level of admirable co-operation continues.