HC Deb 16 January 1978 vol 942 cc1-2W
Mr. George Cunningham

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will communicate with the Shetland Island Council specifying those sections of the Zetland County Council Act 1974 which, assuming the Scotland Bill passes in its present form, could be deleted by an Act of the Scottish Assembly, and those which could not.

Mr. John Smith

It is not possible to express a firm view of the vires of hypothetical Assembly legislation. But since the matters dealt with substantively in the Zetland County Council Act 1974 are not devolved matters as defined in Schedule 10 to the Scotland Bill, it is highly unlikely that the repeal of any section of that Act could fall within the legislative competence of the Assembly.

The vires of any Assembly Bill purporting to effect a repeal would be scrutinised closely under Clause 20 of the Scotland Bill, which places the Secretary of State under a duty to refer an Assembly Bill to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council if he is of opinion that it is not within the Assembly's legislative com- petence. Over and above this, Clause 36 of the Scotland Bill empowers the Secretary of State to move the rejection of an Assembly Bill which affects a reserved matter.