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House Of Commons

Volume 21: debated on Monday 5 April 1982

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Scottish Grand Committee

25.

asked the Lord President of the Council what arrangements are being made for further meetings of the Scottish Grand Committee to be held in Scotland

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(Mr. Francis Pym)

Further sittings of the Scottish Grand Committee in Edinburgh will be announced as soon as possible in the light of consultations through the usual channels.

Is it not a fact that most of the debate in Edinburgh was taken up by Ministers and ex-Ministers? May we have an extension of the time of the sitting beyond 1 pm to allow more Back Benchers to take part in the next debate? Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the Government definitely intend to continue with the experimental sittings in Scotland, despite some reports to the contrary and the reluctance of some hon. Members who seem to prefer the fleshpots of Westminster to the invigorating atmosphere of Scotland?

It is our intention to hold further sittings as part of the experiment. It must be done by mutual arrangement and agreement through the usual channels. The length of the sittings and whether it would be convenient to extend them beyond 1 pm should, I think, be decided at the time. A number of hon. Members believe that 1 pm is the most appropriate time to conclude. I wish to make an arrangement that is convenient and suitable to the House as a whole.

Later——

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. On question No. 25, tabled by the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan), there was only one supplementary question. You allowed no question from a Government supporter. This is a very serious matter in Scotland——

Order. It so happens that I was not in the Chair at the time. I took the Chair immediately afterwards. There is no prescriptive right to ask supplementary questions on other hon. Members' questions.