Select Committee Announcement:

Call for evidence: Constitutional implications of draft Scotland clauses

Written evidence submissions for this inquiry should be made via this link.

The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee will undertake pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft clauses for a Bill to implement the Smith Commission Agreement.

On 22 January the Government published draft clauses for legislation to enact the Smith Commission Agreement for further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament. The Government envisages that the draft clauses will make it possible “to quickly translate the Smith Commission Agreement into law at the beginning of the next Parliament”.

The Government’s Command Paper, Scotland in the United Kingdom: an enduring settlement (Cm 8990), to which the draft clauses are annexed, is available here.

 

Constitutional provisions of the draft clauses

The draft clauses provide for implementation of the following constitutional provisions of the Smith Commission Agreement of 27 November 2014:

  • A statement that the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are permanent institutions;
  • A statutory footing for the Sewel Convention regarding Scottish Parliament consent to the UK Parliament legislating on devolved matters;
  • Power to the Scottish Parliament to make decisions about all matters relating to the operation of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government;
  • Power to the Scottish Parliament in relation to elections to the Scottish Parliament and local government elections in Scotland

 

Interested parties are invited to consider:

Are the proposals of the Smith Commission and the UK Government in respect of the constitutional arrangements for further devolution to Scotland, as set out in the draft clauses, sound? If not, how could the draft clauses be improved?

Do the provisions of the draft clauses deliver the policy intentions of the Smith Commission and UK Government? Could the wording of the draft clauses be improved or changed?

The Committee particularly welcomes suggestions of specific amendments or modifications to clauses in the Bill relating to issues of political and constitutional reform.

Interested parties are invited to keep to a word limit of 3,000 words and to focus on key areas that the Committee should investigate during its inquiry. There is no need to address all issues raised in the draft clauses.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 19 February 2015 although, given the short timescales of pre-legislative scrutiny, it would be helpful to receive written evidence well before that date if possible.

The Committee will begin taking oral evidence on Monday 2 February 2015.

The Committee intends to report in March 2015. The Government contemplates that a Bill to implement the Smith Commission Agreement will be introduced early in the new Parliament.