Order of Consideration Motion
My Lords, the usual channels have agreed that it would be desirable for the Committee-stage debate on the question of a referendum on independence to take place after the Government’s consultation has closed on 9 March. This Motion enables our debates on Clause 10 of the Bill to be taken last, and I suggest that any amendments relating to a referendum are best placed “before Clause 10”. I respectfully encourage noble Lords to table referendum-related amendments as “before Clause 10” rather than to other parts of the Bill. If the House agrees to this Motion, I understand that the Chief Whip will ensure that the last day in Committee is scheduled for the week of 12 March.
My Lords, the Minister will recall that on 10 January I raised this with him when he made the statement and asked that the whole Committee stage be held over until after the consultation. My intention was to ensure that there should be no discussion on the referendum and all aspects of it while the consultation was under way. I therefore thank the Minister very much indeed for finding a solution that enables that to be put into effect.
My Lords, first, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, for welcoming this. We recognised the issue and found a way to resolve it. On the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Neill, I certainly recognise the importance of the letter sent by the Lord President of the Court of Session. It is likely, although one can never be sure, that the clause to which that relates in Part 2 of the Bill will be debated on Thursday 2 February. I hope that copies of the letter will be available in the Printed Paper Office for our consideration. There are both government amendments and amendments in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, which I am sure will allow us to have a very full and informed debate on that issue.