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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 18 April 2018

Agenda: Portfolio Question Time, Points of Order, Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Artificial Intelligence


Points of Order

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I apologise for not giving advance notice of this point of order, but the Attorney General has just said in the House of Commons that, since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999, it has been the practice that every bill that has been produced by the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Government has been shared with the United Kingdom Government prior to publication. The Attorney General said that the purpose of that practice is to iron out any doubts that may exist about the competence of any bill. He then said that the Scottish Government’s UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill, which is before the Supreme Court because of a dispute about competence, is the only bill that has not been shared in advance with the UK Government.

Presiding Officer, do you agree with me that the Scottish Government should have made that information available to this Parliament and that we should not have heard about the matter by watching a question-and-answer session with the Attorney General in the House of Commons on television this afternoon?

Mr Rumbles will understand that this is the first that I—or anyone else in this chamber, presumably—have heard of this matter. I am not responsible for relationships between Governments. That is a matter for the Scottish and the UK Governments. What you have said has been recorded, and I am sure that all the parties involved will look at that with interest.

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. In considering the previous point of order, will you also give thought to the fact that members’ bills, committee bills and private bills, which are essential parts of this Parliament’s proceedings, are not routinely shared with the UK Government in advance of their publication? It may well be that, in his statement to the Westminster Parliament, the Attorney General provided incomplete information.

I sense an interesting debate coming. Again, I am sure that everyone has listened to what Mr Stevenson had to say—I certainly have. I am also sure that a lot of people will be doing a lot of reading later on this afternoon.