Monday, 9 June 2008

English votes on English matters - Unique Powers.

Why is the question of English votes on English matters so difficult to sort out? We've had Malcolm Rifkind's Grand Committee, which it is argued will only add another layer of government. Now after a lengthy process Ken Clarke comes up with another bloody stupid idea.

From the Telegraph: He (Ken Clarke) is said to have advised allowing all MPs to vote on English legislation at the initial second reading stage of parliamentary scrutiny. But only English MPs would get to vote during the detailed committee stage of the legislative process, where real changes can be effected. At the third and final reading, all MPs could once again vote, but a new parliamentary undertaking would prevent any party using Scottish votes to block amendments made by English MPs.
Why oh why can't we just stop Scottish MPs voting in England on any matter that would normally be devolved to Scotland? In other words - any subject that English MPs are not allowed to vote on in Scotland. Surely that would be a fair and straightforward solution to our political imbalance? In other words, instead of having "Devolved Powers", we could have "Unique Powers".


Quiet_Man said...

You'd need to get rid of the Barnett formula first Steve, as every pound spent on infrastructure in England puts cash into Scottish pockets. That's one of the reasons they justify their votes on matters which simply do not concern them in any other way.
For Example the English pay for crossrail in London, but one of the results of this payment is that Edinburgh gets it's tram system paid for too.

Daily Referendum said...


I totally agree. Sort these two problems out and the Union would be stronger.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Steve. I find it encouraging that the Conservatives are at least looking at this issue with a certain degree of scrutiny. But this just seems like a half-hearted attempt to appease both camps. I read somewhere that £1 out of every £5 paid by council tax payers in the South East region actually gets redistributed to Scotland. I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is then I'm greatly disturbed by it.

Anonymous said...

It is a great pity that the very recent BBC Scotland documentary "Truth, Oil, Lies and Scotland" was not shown throughout the UK.

Anyone who saw that program and still believes that London or anywhere else is subsidising Scotland is utterly delusional.

I recommend looking at the BBC Scotlad website where the program is currently available to view.

Liam Murray said...

Two things here Steve.

jpj2 is spot on about that programme - when fair and proper account is taken of oil revenues, civil service employment etc. London is by far the most heavily subsidised part of the UK and Scotland more than pays its way. It's a verifiable matter of fact now that Scotland IS NOT subsidised by the rest of the UK in any significant way.

As for the 'English Votes' issue it's actually very complicated. Gordon Brown (like all other Scots MPs) was elected to the UK parliament - he stood for that office, won a democratic vote and now has an absolute legal right to cast his vote in that chamber. That Labour then introduced a Scottish Parliament (again entirely legally and democratically) doesn't change Scottish MP's status one bit. Now, I agree completely that it's a glaring anomaly and very unfair but a proper constitutional route has to be found through this mess and if it was as simple as you say then it would've happened by now.

And remember, even the Tories aren't actually proposing what you suggest because they know it's illegal and would require massive constitutional change - they promise to 'look at it' etc. but they know the difficulties....

Anonymous said...

Clarke has just completed his visit to Bilderberg meeting in Virginia. After receiving his orders, will we see any change to his approach. These Guys are very careful.