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Royal High School, Edinburgh

Volume 116: debated on Wednesday 13 May 1987

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asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland what is the number of people employed by the Crown Office at the old Royal High School building, Edinburgh.

The total number of persons employed in the Crown Office is 104.

Although I realise that the Solicitor-General may be busy in the next few weeks looking for another job for after the general election, may I ask him to try to find time to look for alternative premises for the more important people who are employed at the Crown Office headquarters? After the general election the building will be required for the Scottish Assembly, which the Labour Government will set up and which the majority of the people of Scotland want because they are absolutely fed up with being ruled by a quasi-colonial Tory junta which received no mandate from the people of Scotland in the last general election, and which will be kicked out by an even more resounding majority at the next general election.

The only chance there is of significant movement is that of the hon. Gentleman from his seat, as the Labour party Front Bench will have to move below the Gangway to find somewhere to sit after the general election. I have indicated on previous occasions that the Crown Office will look for alternative premises some time in the future. There is plenty of work for the Crown Office to do and it is a perfectly satisfactory use of the building for the time being.

Will my hon. and learned Friend take steps, anticipating the high probability of his being returned and occupying his present position after the general election, to look at the possibility of his staff being employed elsewhere so that the Royal High School building can be sold because a Scottish Assembly will have no part in the prosperous, competitive Scotland that the next Conservative Government will seek to achieve?

Yes. As I have already said, there is another appropriate location in Edinburgh for the Crown Office. It is extremely unlikely that the existing building will ever be put to the use of a Scottish Assembly. The hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) should appreciate that while his party was in government it spent its time arguing strenuously about a Scottish Assembly but did absolutely nothing to reform the law in Scotland. Since 1979 we have introduced about 23 reports from the Scottish Law Commission. We have done a great deal more than the Labour Government ever did, with all their talking.