EVEL

'The English Question' has been posed for at least 40 years.  Sometimes known as the West Lothian Question, it remains unanswered.  Why, if MPs representing English constituencies have no say over matters affecting only Scotland, should MPs representing Scottish constituencies have a say over matters affecting only England?

The question became live once the Scottish Parliament was formed in 1999 and power was devolved to it.  It has become more pressing since the referendum on independence last year during which the Scottish people were promised more powers.

That promise has been kept through the Scotland Bill  which is currently before Parliament.  But the day after the referendum result, the Prime Minister also said that there needed to be "... a balanced settlement – fair to people in Scotland and importantly to everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well."

English Votes for English Laws was promised in the Conservative Party's Manifesto, and it will be delivered.  The principle is a simple one.  Every MP in the UK Parliament will have the right to vote on all stages of a parliamentary Bill.  But if the matter only affects England, the Bill must have the support of a majority of MPs representing English constituencies to pass.

Of course that is fair.  But the Scottish Nationalist Party still objects.  And this week their true colours were revealed.  They had previously said they would abstain from voting on matters affecting only England.  But when it was proposed to amend the Hunting Act which only affects England and Wales, they announced they would vote against the measure.

Whether you are for or against hunting is beside the point.  The point is that the SNP's stance was clearly as cynical as it was unjustified.  When Scotland decides its own laws on an issue, England's laws should be decided by England's MPs.


Document type

Articles

Published

15 July 2015

Back · New Media centre search

"I pledge to work hard for everyone in the constituency, to stand up for local people, and to be a strong voice at Westminster for your concerns"