(36)  Progress of the Scotland Bill

The Scotland Bill has completed its progress through the House of Commons and was introduced in the House of Lords on 17 June 1998. The provisions on the appointment and dismissal of Court of Session judges (clause 89 – see (1998) 2 Edinburgh Law Review 128) have been amended so that dismissal can only be on grounds of unfitness by reason of inability, neglect of duty or misbehaviour. Most of the rest of the Bill is as first submitted to the Commons. Meantime the political parties have been selecting their candidates for the Scottish Parliamentary elections to be held in May 1999. Of its present Westminster cohort the Scottish Labour Party has chosen six (Malcolm Chisholm, Donald Dewar, Sam Galbraith, John Home Robertson. John McAllion, and Henry McLeish). Not all of the 56 Labour MPs applied for selection; and of those who did, not all were selected, notably Dennis Canavan, MP for Falkirk, who may seek judicial review of the decision against him. Donald Dewar will be Labour’s candidate as First Minister. All six SNP MPs will be Scottish Parliamentary candidates (Roseanna Cunningham, Margaret Ewing, Alasdair Morgan, Alex Salmond, John Swinney and Andrew Welsh). Alex Salmond will be the SNP candidate for First Minister. The Liberal Democrat selection process is not yet complete, and only Jim Wallace of its Scottish MPs has so far been selected as a candidate for Holyrood. The Conservatives, who have no Scottish MPs, have only made a small number of decisions so far about their Holyrood candidates but they include Phil Gallie (formerly MP for Ayr), and Lord Selkirk of Douglas (formerly Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, MP for Edinburgh West). David McLetchie, an Edinburgh solicitor, has been elected leader of the Scottish Conservative Party.