HC Deb 01 March 2004 vol 418 c615 3.31 pm
Mr. Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield) (Con)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Last Wednesday, the First Minister in Scotland made a statement to the Scottish Parliament saying that he had reached an agreement with the Home Secretary that would enable overseas graduates at Scottish universities to be allowed to stay in Scotland longer under visa concessions designed to boost Scotland's dwindling population. The effect of that provision would be to introduce a system whereby there would be a change to the immigration rules in Scotland that would not apply across the rest of the United Kingdom. That proposal has not been put to the House in an oral or written statement. I seek your guidance as to the propriety of announcing such a major policy change without the House being informed in any way of what is going on. I may add that the First Minister went on to say that further such changes would be proposed in future, and again no reference has been made by the Home Secretary in the House or elsewhere to the proposals. I seek your guidance.

Mr. Speaker

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of his point of order. It is not a matter for the Chair, but Home Office Ministers are present, and I am sure that the point of order will have been heard and note taken.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow) (Lab)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. As chairman of the court of the university of Edinburgh, may I say that this is a very serious matter? With respect, it is not a matter for just one Department, but one that raises deep constitutional issues that must be hammered out in some forum, and not by just a single Minister.

Mr. Speaker

As I said to the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve), this is not a matter for the Chair. The comments of the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) will have been heard.