Alister Jack calls for 'grand committee of House of Lords to review Scottish legislation

The Scottish Secretary criticised the record of the Scottish Government.

Alister Jack has called for the introduction of a new Lords “grand committee” to review Scottish legislation.

In a move that is expected to trigger a fiery reaction from SNP ranks, the Scottish secretary suggested policy in Scotland needed more scrutiny, especially at committee level.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Appearing before the constitution committee on Wednesday to discuss governance of the Union, Mr Jack also accused the SNP of thinking he would “roll over” on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack called for a new committee to review Scottish legislationScottish Secretary Alister Jack called for a new committee to review Scottish legislation
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack called for a new committee to review Scottish legislation

The Dumfries and Galloway MP said the 25th anniversary of devolution was a chance to “review” what did and didn’t work.

He said: “Devolution is not a bad thing, where it's failed is bad governance. In the last 17 years we've got poorer health service, failing education standards, diabolic ferry services to the islands and higher drug deaths. These are down to bad governance, not devolution.

“You could look further into the committee structure, because of the knowledge and wisdom of this place. I have often thought a better review of legislation in Scotland could be one of the things we could improve upon. Some sort of grand committee in this house, helping to scrutinise and improve legislation would be a good thing. I am not alone in saying that the committee structure, in scrutinising legislation in Scotland, has clearly been one of the failings”.

Touching on the issue of UK government intervention in Scotland, Mr Jack also suggested SNP ministers had underestimated him.

He said: "They never believed I would do a section 35 on the gender recognition [legislation]. They didn't believe I would take them to court on UNCRC [United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child] and the section 33.

"It is this idea that they would sail on and I would roll over, and not stand my ground, that was their misjudgement.”

Mr Jack, who is standing down at the coming general election, was also asked about nuclear power in Scotland, and replied by suggesting there would be progress on it, despite SNP opposition.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “On the small nuclear reactors, I have asked the energy minister to plan for one in Scotland, because I believe in 2026 we will see a Unionist regime again in Scotland, and they will move forward on this matter.”



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.