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Legislative Programme

Volume 929: debated on Thursday 7 April 1977

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asked the Lord President of the Council if he will make a statement on the progress made in the inter-party talks concerning the future legislative programme of Her Majesty's Government.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(Mr. Michael Foot)

I refer my hon. Friend to my answer to the hon. Member for Surrey, North-West (Mr. Grylls) on 28th March.

Since the consultations with the Liberal Party are running consultations, about which we know very little, will my right hon. Friend indicate what precisely is the state of play in regard to the Scotland and Wales Bill? In what form is it being agreed that it should be presented to the House again? For example, will there be the reintroduction of the guillotine motion first, or will the Bill be allowed to go forward for a further few weeks to see how we go before the guillotine motion is reintroduced?

We have had what I suppose my hon. Friend would describe as running conversations with large numbers of hon. Members about the Bill. We have had them with representatives of the Liberal Party, with many of my hon. Friends, and with different groups inside the Parliamentary Labour Party. We have had them with representatives of the Conservative Party, of the Ulster Unionists, of the Scottish National Party and of Plaid Cymru, as well as with my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt). I think that to report on all these conversations to the House would not help matters. No decisions have been made on the points raised by my hon. Friend. They are not matters that will be settled in discussions in inter-party talks. There is no need for him to create a mystery where none exists.