§ 29. Mr. Wallace
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will review the arrangements for the accountability to the House of the Scottish Law Officers.
§ Mr. Wakeham
No, Sir. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the written answer by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfries (Sir H. Monro) on 26 June 1987.
§ Mr. Wallace
The Lord Privy Seal will be well aware of the admittedly not unprecedented, but nevertheless unsatisfactory, position in which neither of the Scottish Law Officers is personally accountable in the House. Does he not accept that it is most regrettable that that unsatisfactory position has been compounded by the fact that we no longer have a specified period, such as the last 10 minutes of Scottish Question Time, in which the Ministers designated to answer questions on behalf of the Law Officers can be called to account? At present, all questions to the Law Officers go into the ballot, and it may be months before there is an opportunity to air some very sensitive and important issues in the House.
§ Mr. Wakeham
The same practice has been adopted as on previous occasions when there were no Scottish Law Officers in the House. Questions to the Lord Advocate have an equal chance, with others, of receiving an oral answer, and the time allocated to Scottish Questions is unchanged. I believe that to be generally acceptable to the House, although I recognise that the hon. Gentleman does not accept that to be so.