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Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 7 April 2010

I am most grateful for that very full reply. How does the hon. Lady envisage the situation being resolved if there is a difference in the way in which the Flood and Water Management Bill, for example, once it is adopted, is interpreted in Scotland as opposed to its interpretation in England?

The hon. Lady might be aware that there was recently a case in the Supreme Court regarding the competency of the legislation of the Scottish Parliament. I think that would provide valuable guidance. At the end of the day, when we have difficulties in terms of our relationship with the Scottish Government, we have very detailed procedures with joint ministerial committees in which we can work together to find solutions to problems rather than necessarily considering court action. The fact that the Advocate-General has not needed to take one single case to the Supreme Court since devolution is a symbol of its success.

During her discussions with the Advocate-General, will the Minister raise the devolved issue of transport? Will she also issue guidelines for visitors coming to either Edinburgh or Aberdeen to make it clear that safety is important, particularly when people are travelling in open-decked buses?

My hon. Friend might be referring to the shadow Secretary of State’s unfortunate experience yesterday when his campaign got derailed on day one by inanimate objects. However, I certainly take my hon. Friend’s points on board.

One of the Advocate-General’s roles is to ensure that the relationship between the Scotland Office and the Scottish Executive works within the devolution settlement. It is clear that when it came to the release of al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, both the victims and the Scottish Executive were the last to be consulted. What steps has the Minister put in place to ensure that that does not happen again? Will she take this final opportunity to condemn the early release of that bomber, who is alive and well seven months later?

The Calman commission recommended a number of ways in which we could improve intergovernmental relationships, and we are very keen to take them forward. It is regrettable that the Scottish Government have declined to accept those recommendations, which have been supported by the majority in the Scottish Parliament. I note the hon. Gentleman’s concerns, which I share, regarding the release of Mr. al-Megrahi, but at the end of the day that was a decision solely for the Scottish Government.