New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: May I urge the Secretary of State to give a more thoughtful response to the cogent points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Eleanor Laing)? The reality is that this monumental mistake – I nearly said “cock-up”, but that would have been unparliamentary – was made, and was known to have been made, at a time when there was a full-time Secretary of State for Scotland. What sort of message did it send to the people of Scotland subsequently to make Secretary of State for Scotland into a part-time post? For that matter, what message did it send to the armed forces to do the same thing to the post of Secretary of State for Defence? It was a very bad message indeed to send to both constituencies.