Home of the Hirsel, Alec Douglas-Home, Baron, 1903-1995Alternative names
The Scottish Constitutional Committee was established in August 1968 by Edward Heath (b. 1916) and had the task of examining a proposal for the creation of a Scottish Assembly. The suggestion for this had been put forward by a policy group of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, but at the time the subject was being well debated across the country generally. Because of the nature of the proposal, an apolitical body was required, and the Scottish Constitutional Committee was created to act as this body. The policy group of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party was represented at the Committee's meetings. Although the Committee was financed by the Conservative Party, it was an independent organisation composed of independent members and sought to obtain and examine the views of the broadest possible spectrum of Scottish opinion. The Committee was presented with particular aims and functions. It had to keep the UK united, but try to improve the machinery of government. It had to allow the Scottish people to play a part in making decisions on Scottish legislation, and it had to increase the opportunity to propose and discuss UK policy as it affected Scotland. The Committee was free to explore any other proposals for the future government of Scotland but any solution had to be consistent with and to contribute to the unity of the UK. The Committee was chaired by Sir Alec Douglas-Home (1903-1995) and during its life consisted of thirteen separate members including Lady Tweedsmuir (1915-1978) and the Rev. Dr. Ronald Selby Wright (1908-1995) and two advisers one of whom was the Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Menzies (1894-1978). The first meeting of the full Committee was held at the North British Hotel, Princes Street, Edinburgh (now the Balmoral Hotel), on 13 September 1968, and met on seventeen occasions for twenty-one days in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Inverness and Peebles. The last meeting was held on 16 March 1970. The Committee weighed up the arguments for separatism and federalism that had been discussed widely across the country and rejected the thesis that Scottish prosperity lay in severing ties with the existing UK constitution. Instead, it proposed a Scottish Assembly or Convention of approximately 125 elected and paid members which would debate Scottish Bills in the early legislative stages of parliamentary progress. The body recommended by the Scottish Constitutional Committee was to be located in Edinburgh. The Committee Report was published in March 1970.
From the guide to the Records of the Scottish Constitutional Committee, 1968-1969, (Edinburgh University Library)
Epithet: Prime Minister
Title: 14th Earl of Home and Baron Home of the Hirsel
British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000622.0x0002b5
- Decentralization in government
- Scotland Politics and government 20th century (as recorded)