HC Deb 24 February 1999 vol 326 cc326-7W
Mr. Nigel Griffiths

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland who will be disqualified from being a member of the Scottish Parliament. [73539]

Mr. McLeish

Section 15 of the Scotland Act 1998 specifies that holding certain offices disqualifies people from being members of the Scottish Parliament. These include judges, civil servants, members of the armed forces, members of police forces and members of foreign legislatures and others who would not be able to sit and vote in the House of Commons. It also gives Her Majesty power by Order in Council to designate further office holders who will be disqualified from being MSPs. On 16 February, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Scotland, laid a draft Order before both Houses of Parliament which lists those office holders who should be disqualified from being MSPs. The Order will be subject to affirmative resolution procedure in both Houses before being put to Her Majesty in Council.

In making these proposals, we have adopted broadly the same approach to disqualification as is applied in the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, so following well established and well understood precedents. People holding disqualifying offices will be required to resign those offices on formal consent to nomination.

Not all those office holders disqualified from being an MP will also be disqualified from being an MSP as we have adapted the disqualification to the circumstances of the Scottish Parliament. This Order will be for the first elections; it will be for the Parliament to consider the scope of the disqualification for subsequent elections.