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Sheriff (Removal From Office) Order

Volume 940: debated on Monday 28 November 1977

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I undertook on Thursday last to advise the House on a matter raised by the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) regarding the scope of debate on the Prayer for the annulment of the Sheriff (Removal from Office) Order which is due to be debated on Monday 5th December.

The hon. Member asked, in effect, whether it would be in order to discuss in that debate the question of whether the sheriff concerned should have the leave of the House to appear at the Bar of the House.

I must first remind the House that the question of whether an opportunity should be given for the House to debate the motion standing in the name of the hon. Member, which is designed to give leave to the sheriff to be present at the Bar of the House when the Prayer is debated, is not a matter for me. I am not concerned in the arrangement of business.

As for the scope of debate on the Prayer itself, I have considered this carefully and it is clear to me that it would be in order to argue, as a reason for supporting the Prayer, that this House should not uphold the action of the Secretary of State for Scotland in dismissing the sheriff unless or until he was given an opportunity of appearing before this House and defending himself.


On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the fact that the Lord President has been making it difficult for the House to debate the Sheriff Thomson affair, and in view of the fact that Lord Kilbrandon over the weekend appeared to make a speech which may or may not commit the same offence as that of which Sheriff Thomson was convicted, will you use your good offices to see that the Lord President himself can be questioned about his conduct in this whole matter?