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Leaving the EU: Legislative Consent Motions

Volume 650: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2018

1. What recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the granting of legislative consent motions for legislation on the UK leaving the EU. (907833)

4. What recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the granting of legislative consent motions for legislation on the UK leaving the EU. (907836)

As this is the last Scottish questions ahead of the 30th anniversary of the bombing of PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988, I think it would be appropriate to place on record what I am sure all Members of the House will feel at the time; their thoughts and prayers will be with the families and friends of the 270 people who perished and every other person whose life has been affected by the events of that night.

The UK Government are fully committed to the Sewel convention and the related practices and procedures for seeking legislative consent.

I associate myself with the Secretary of State’s comments. The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill is vital for my constituents in ensuring continuity of healthcare in the European Union and for the 200,000 expats living in the EU. Will he do everything he can to urge the Scottish Government not to continue to play political games and to grant an LCM to this vital piece of legislation?

It was extremely disappointing that the Scottish Government announced that they would not grant LCMs in relation to a number of Bills without even seeing the details of those Bills. The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill is an important one for Scots living abroad, and it would be totally unacceptable to put their treatment at risk, so I hope that the comments that Mr Mike Russell made the other day are perhaps an indication that they will not proceed with this politicking approach.

The Fisheries Bill is one of the Bills that my right hon. Friend referred to; it lays the groundwork for the revival of fishing in Banff and Buchan and all along Scotland’s coastline, and what is more, it confers new powers on the ScottishGovernment. I know that the Scottish National party’s policy is to take us back into the common fisheries policy, but does he agree that they should show at least some respect for coastal Scotland by working constructively and supporting an LCM for the Fisheries Bill in Holyrood?

Recent events demonstrate that there are no limits to what legislation or whose interests the SNP will play politics with. As my hon. Friend said, both the Agriculture Bill and the Fisheries Bill are important pieces of legislation for Scotland and ones with which the Scottish Government should be fully engaged.

It is beginning to sound like this Government are only committed to the Sewel convention when it suits them. Is it not the case that the blatant disregard for the decisions and opinions of the Scottish Parliament throughout the Brexit process shows that this Government and Secretary of State are committed to undermining the devolution settlement, and that that is only going to be exacerbated when the Scottish Parliament votes against the Brexit withdrawal agreement?

What the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends do not like about the Sewel convention is that it is a convention of this United Kingdom Parliament. It is part of Scotland being part of the United Kingdom and that is something that they continue to oppose.

Two of the Secretary of State’s own loyal Back Benchers have specifically asked him what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government, and he has refused to answer. Are we to take it from that that he has had no such discussions and that he has no intention of having further discussions with the elected Government of Scotland?

I am afraid that that is not the correct interpretation. As the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends know, since they ask about it repeatedly, I engage fully in the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations), and there are extensive discussions about these issues and framework agreements in that forum and in many others.