9/2/04 Scottish Parliament Constituencies Bill

John Robertson (Glasgow, Anniesland) (Lab): I am aware of the time and will do my best to leave sufficient time for the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (John Barrett). In an attempt to stop Members intervening to ask who I have talked to lately, I say that I base my input tonight on the debate that I have had with members of my party and of my electorate and on my experience overall in campaigning, since 1978, for a Scottish Parliament. The first question I asked myself when I was putting my speech together is, “Why open the Act?” I asked the same question when I made my submission to the previous Secretary of State for Scotland. I have had great difficulty in coming to terms with that, so I have great sympathy with Opposition Members. I could mention private conversations that I had with the late Donald Dewar, but I will not do that-instead, I will quote from what he said at the time, which can be read in Hansard by any Member who wishes to do so. When the House of Lords tabled an amendment on whether 129 MSPs should remain for ever, he said:
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3/2/04 All-postal Ballots

John Robertson (Glasgow, Anniesland) (Lab): It is a pleasure to have secured this debate. Some colleagues whom I expected to attend are serving on Standing Committees this morning; it is a bad morning for the debate, but I know that the hon. Members present will do their best to make it interesting.

This is the second opportunity that I have had to exchange views with the Minister. I was able briefly to make a few relevant points in the previous Session on Second Reading and in Committee on the European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill. I look forward to hearing the Minister’s comments on the wider issues raised in the debate.

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