chapter  9
18 Pages

The Aftermath of the Referendum

On 20 May the Scotland Bill was introduced into the House of Lords and received its first (formal) reading. The second reading debate was held on 17 and 18 June and the Bill was passed without a division. Whereas the Commons had devoted eight days to the committee stage of the Bill, in the Lords - sitting like the Commons as a committee of the whole House - this took ten days, straddling the summer recess.2 The substance of the debates in the Lords reflected those in the Commons with, for example, the question of abortion again being raised. The Conservatives moved a large number of amendments most of which were withdrawn with the remainder being defeated in divisions. The government lost a vote, however, on a Liberal Democrat amendment relating to the scrutiny of bills in the Scottish Parliament (28 July). The report stage in the Lords lasted four days3 and involved two further defeats for the government. The first (22 October) was on a Liberal Democrat proposal to allow the Scottish Parliament control over the number of members4 that it had while the second (2 November) concerned limiting its power to sack unfit judges. On 9 November the Bill received its third reading and returned to the Commons with the amendments that had been passed.