Lords concludes Scotland Bill report stage

30 March 2012

The Scotland Bill concluded report stage in the House of Lords yesterday (Wednesday 28 March) after more line by line scrutiny by members.

Discussions began with Amendment Two moved by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean (later withdrawn). He put forward a new clause to be added before Clause 10, outlining provision of a referendum about Scottish independence.

The Earl of Shrewsbury (Conservative) addressed the air weapons issue in Amendment Three, highlighting some of the 'complications and costs' that he is concerned about if visitor's permits are required for air gun use in Scotland. He withdrew the amendment after a short debate.

He concluded: 'The whole issue of devolving legislative power on air weapons to the Scottish Parliament is fraught with problems. The problems are both of an operational aspect and with regard to the potential substantial costs involved. The whole thing is unworkable, it will take an awful lot of working out and it will probably not be. I reserve the right to stand here in a few years' time and do a wonderful and famous "I told you so".' 

A new Crown Estate Commissioner with special responsibility for Scotland was suggested by Lady Saltoun of Abernethy (Crossbench) in Amendment's Nine and Ten and agreed by members.

The minister Lord Wallace of Tankerness (Liberal Democrat) confirmed: 'The government are happy to accept the proposal from the noble lady. That role will not be exclusively for Scotland; indeed, contributions to our debate in committee ... indicated the value of having commissioners who would have responsibilities across the United Kingdom. We are therefore willing to accept Amendments Nine and Ten.'

After a debate on speed limits, Lords turned their attentions to the Scottish rate of income tax. Lord Sassoon's (Conservative) suggested new clause was agreed during the debate (Amendment 29).

He said: 'The purpose of Amendment 29 is to provide information to both Houses of Parliament on the implementation and operation of the financial powers in the bill. The clause requires the Secretary of State for Scotland to publish an annual report to be laid before Parliament within one year of the Scotland Bill becoming an act until a year after the tax and borrowing powers are fully transferred to the Scottish Parliament.'

The next stage (third reading) is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 24 April.

Catch up on report stage day one (Monday 26 March)

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean (Conservative) moved Amendment 1A, before Clause 10, to insert the new clause on legislative competence with an amendment to the 1998 act. 'The amendment simply says that residents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should be treated in exactly the same way by the Scottish Parliament as other members of other European states,' he explained.

Lord Hannay of Chiswick (Crossbench), Lord Sutherland of Houndwood (Crossbench) and Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour/Co-operative) also put their names to the amendment.

After a debate spanning two hours, members voted with 72 supporting and 151 against the change, resulting in a government win.

Next stage: Third reading

Third reading is the final chance for the Lords to debate and change the contents of the bill.

The day before third reading starts, amendments are published in a marshalled list in which all the amendments are placed in order. Amendments on related subjects are grouped together and a list is published on the day.

Amendments at third reading in the Lords are often used to clarify specific parts of the bill and to allow the government to make good any promises of changes to the bill made at earlier stages.

Catch up on final committee stage day five (Wednesday 21 March)

Catch up on committee day four (Thursday 15 March)

Catch up on committee day three (Tuesday 28 February)

Catch up on committee day two (Thursday 2 February)

Catch up on committee stage day one

The previous stage (Second Reading) took place on 6 December 2011.

Further information

Image: iStock photo


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