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Obviously this represents a 'compromise' but I still don't see why there should be a compromise in the first place.

English votes for English laws is a matter of principle which you can't adhere to half-heartedly.

Absolutely outrageous, for me English votes for English Laws was the barest of bare minimum, yet Ken Clarke is even going to recommend backsliding from that promise. USELESS!!!

What England needs is a Parliament with its own Executive to fight for the interests of English people, for as we have seen our so called 'representatives' in the UK Parliament have been nothing short of useless in defending our interests. Top up fees that’s fine by our so called 'representatives', load them on the English young. Cut English health budgets, that's fine for by our so our 'representatives'. Shove our pensioners in to penury, yeah that's OK’d by our so called 'representatives', and above all the have sat on their fat back sides while the British state has made English people Constitutionally second class citizens in their own bloody Parliament, how useless is that? And now the useless opposition are even going to give us the a half decent choice at the next election to rectify the problem. UESLESS , USELESS, USELESS!!!!!!

Dancing to the Scottish jig

To quote Salmond whose stated ambition as of this weekend is to hold the balance of power at Westminster in the event of a hung parliament to directly impose SNP policy upon the UK:

‘He may even try to use a hung parliament to corner UK party leaders into supporting an independence referendum.’

By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Correspondent
Last Updated: 3:06am BST 21/04/2008

And the threat to the Union comes from England?

The cometh the hour cometh the man and Ken Clarke turns up with a bucket of fudge that is so convoluted and incomprehensible to the average voter that the only issue that it addresses is that the English question will not be addressed.

Think about it Ken. How do you sell this to 85% of the electorate?

Well, umm, when it comes to something that, umm, only applies to England and that something is almost impossible to identify when it applies to Wales as well and sometimes to Scotland then the SNP Scottish MPs will now, according to Salmond, vote on it but when we look at it properly only English MPs will be allowed except when it is a bit Welsh or Scottish and then SNP MPs in the hung parliament will decide. Sort of.

K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple St#pid

English parliament well hung or otherwise.

Sorry in my fury and anger I made a couple of spelling errors, this might read a little better.

Absolutely outrageous, for me English votes for English Laws was the barest of bare minimum, yet Ken Clarke is even going to recommend backsliding from that promise. USELESS!!!

What England needs is a Parliament with its own Executive to fight for the interests of English people, for as we have seen our so called 'representatives' in the UK Parliament have been nothing short of useless in defending our interests. Top up fees that’s fine by our so called 'representatives', load them on the English young. Cut English health budgets, that's fine for by our so our 'representatives'. Shove our pensioners in to penury, yeah that's OK’d by our so called 'representatives', and above all they have sat on their fat back sides while the British state has made English people Constitutionally second class citizens in their own bloody Parliament, how useless is that? And now the useless opposition aren’t even going to give us the a half decent choice at the next election to rectify the problem. UESLESS , USELESS, USELESS!!!!!!

Yet another example of why Ken Clarke wouldn't have made a good leader.

Cameron is to blame for this though.
We know that his natural instinct is caution.
Now he's ahead in the polls he retreats to what the Editor has called The Politics of Small Promises.
He opted for some radicalism when he faced political disaster last autumn but that was forced on him by Brown's opinion poll leads.
Now anything slightly risky is off the agenda.
Cameron is back in his tortoise shell.

"Obviously this represents a 'compromise' but I still don't see why there should be a compromise in the first place."

Neither do I, it seems any injustice they heap on the English people is something we have to tolerate, yet to give English parity is a dangerous thought that will split the so called Union. What does that say of the Union that it relies on inequality for its continued existence? (Well past its sell by date I would think ). In light of the fact that the Scots and Welsh have made their decision about what devolution they wanted, its now time for the English people to have their say. If English people want a Parliament, and I do, then its a decision for us to make, and a decision the Scots and Welsh will have to live with, for they must have thought about the consequence of voting for their Parliaments and Assemblies when they did, and when they did they surely didn’t expect to vote something for themselves that they would seek to deny for others?

What a cop-out - so Labour MPs from Scotland could still vote to impose top-up fees on English students if this was to happen under the new arrangements? The Tories have sold us out on this basic issue of democratic equality with Scotland, again.

What is Ken Clark for?he is a traitor to his country that is if he is English, I am never sure, all he thinks about is Europe.
He is a yesterday man,time to go time.

"Cameron is to blame for this though."

As the saying goes, you select the person for the type of report you want. Selecting Clarke was always going to result in this lame anaemic solution, after all Clarke wants to turn Westminster into a County Council to the EU, so he was never going to look kindly on English people getting representation, when he is an advocate of balkanising England for his masters in Brussels.

So as we have seen Cameron has precious little liking of English people, seeing us as ‘sour faced little Englanders’ , so appoints Ken Clarke to come up with a report, the result is this report, satisfying Cameron and Clarke, but not English people, who neither have much regard for.

On Wednesday its St Georges day, its also PMQ’s, so will we see Cameron ask questions on behalf of English people, and have the first and only English Questions? I won’t hold my breath!

I wonder why Clarke never became leader? If Cameron can't evolve a full blooded policy to satisfy English concerns about the current injustice he doesn't deserve to win any elections.

"Labour MPs from Scotland could still vote to impose top-up fees on English students if this was to happen under the new arrangements" - Stephen

This should be the acid test and it seems that Ken Clarke's proposals fail hands down.

I'm still hoping for the Direct Democracy solution to become Conservative policy; the responsibilities currently devolved to the Welsh Assembly/Scottish Parliament, to be devolved in England to the county councils/local gov't.

A classic Clarke fudge, from the wing of the party that brought us membershio of the ERM and which currently favours the Lisbon treaty.

Unless Cameron has the sense to go further, the only way back to a balanced constitution will be to get rid of Scotland, so, efectively, another victory for Alex Salmond.

Pathetic.
But, as others have observed, typical of Clarke.

This is lethal stuff for the Conservative party and for the Union. Fudging the issue and continuing the injustice that only the English should not be recognised as a nation is going to play very badly.

There will be an English parliament. Either the next Conservative government could bring it about in a federal and stable UK, or it will be all that is left after the Welsh, Scots and Irish keep demanding more power and money whilst denying the English the very same things.

The problem is a lack of vision and that the Conservative party thinks that one of two seats in Wales or Scotland are worth selling out its English base for.

This is the sort of fudge which gives compromise a bad name. The plain fact is that without perfectly reciprocal arrangements, Scottish constituencies have no moral right to influence English legislation. Period. That perfect reciprocity was represented by the unitary Kingdom of 1707. 1997 saw it smashed. Timid half-measures of the sort Mr Clarke proposes simply avoid the issue. Doubtless his reasons will include the sheer preponderance of England in the Union - but the Scots should have thought of this before they pursued the business of devolution. England's relative size is no excuse for denying a transparent democracy to her electorate. Of course, being a Europhil, Mr Clarke will not care two hoots for the voter, but we should continue the long and virtuous policy of ignoring him. For all his undoubted brio and charisma, he is a damaging influence. Wilderness time for Clarke, I think.

Ken Clarke yet again proves why he was unfit to lead the party. Personally I feel it's time Ken was put out to pasture.

Ken Clarke and Co have made recommendations, it does not follow that Mr Cameron has to follow them. It would be useful though if Mr Cameron made it clear whether he supports Mr Clarke’s recommendations or Mr Rifkind’s.

Not only does Mr Cameron need to say who he takes more seriously on this, he must also offer a sound explanation as to why he does. Not saying anything will probably be more damaging than taking a line and defending it. There are after all a number of pro’s and cons on both sides of the argument and, like it or not ,we are where we are, so it is decision time by our leadership.

Oh dear, oh dear, this is shockingly poor.

The Conservatives, having first mentioned 'English Votes' in 1999, and having had it in the Conservative Manifesto since 2001 - when everyone told them it wouldn't work - now have a 'Democracy Task Force' that spends 21 months formulating this tripe.

Coming up for ten years of asymmetric democracy and they still can't come up with an answer.

I hope Labour win the next election; I'd rather be governed by an anglophobic Scot than a useless bunch of chinless English imbeciles.

Kiss my vote goodbye.

"The problem is a lack of vision and that the Conservative party thinks that one of two seats in Wales or Scotland are worth selling out its English base for."

The whole constitutional debate has been marked by the complete lack of vision from the Conservative party, and as a result of that our constitution has become the Labour party's plaything, with the Conservative Party waiting to be told what constitutional arrangement suits Labour, with the Conservative party looking fall into line behind that. A pathetic position for the supposed opposition party who have some desire to be the next Government, and dangerous for English people, as they find they have no voice what so ever in Parliament.

Its not often these days that I disagree with the direction the party is moving in, but this is just not good enough. It can hardly be seen as a compromise and I trust that Cameron will kick it into the long grass where it belongs, he has done it with other task force reports so I hope to see him do the same again.

Have we seen The Spectator?

http://www.spectator.co.uk

'England Rides Again'

Seems we are back in fashion. Here's 10p tax band Frank Field:

'The issue which should be obsessing Brown is whether the Tories are bright enough to jump out of today's unionist straitjacket with a claim to speak for England alone. While Brown has to make his new unionism work, Cameron has the much easier task of simply mounting a challenge on how devolution has so far cheated England.'

Or how about 'Shame on Scottish Tories for their Vichy sell-out'. Our brethren have whiffed the gravy and boarded the train.

I do hope that ConHome can run a piece this Wednesday providing the English perspective?

So far in time for St. George's Day we have had the most provocative jig related statement by Salmond so far and our party is about abandon England. Again.

Its all going to go now we have a 10 point lead. No tax cuts, no reform of the NHS (see today's speech), no english votes for english laws, no real tightening of immigration rules

These are not the things you do when ten points ahead

" It would be useful though if Mr Cameron made it clear whether he supports Mr Clarke’s recommendations or Mr Rifkind’s. "

Why should the choice be between a rubbish proposal and a useless proposal?

If our useless representatives can't come up with a satisfactory proposal then its about time they let the people decide, give the English people the various options, from English parliament to Clarke’s lame fudge, and let them decide.

My betting is that they would vote for an English Parliament, which would ask the question why did none of our MP's present this case, and who exactly do they represent?

I was interested in discovering who sits on Clarke's Democracy Task force, and thought it would be a simple matter of consulting the Conservative Party's website. But there seemes to be no information. Indeed a wider internet search has drawn a complete blank. Does anyone know who sits with Clarke on this task force?


Don't blame poor Ken, he is only doing what Cameron wants him to do after all is said and done. The cancer at the heart of the Conservative Party is Cameron and his hangers on!

What else would anyone expect from Clarke? Putting him in charge of a democracy task force gave me the biggest laugh for years - until I started to cry.

The man has made it absolutely clear, through his support of the EU taking over everything, and his rejection of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, that he (like Heath) has no time whatever for democracy.

If Cameron and Clarke really believe that Unionism is paramount, and reject the federal United Kingdom with 4 equal country/provincial parliaments which the rest of us have come to accept as the only realistic option following Scottish and Welsh devolution, why do they not have the courage to take their position to its logical conclusion and propose the abolition of the devolved assemblies altogether and a return to the status quo ante 1997 ?

Mr Hare at 09:58 is spot on.

Once again Ken Clarke is completely wrong on something. I'm not surprised. It's no wonder this man lost the leadership contest 3 times in a row, each time having fewer and fewer MPs backing him. Useless man. I hope Cameron ignores him and establishes that English Grand Committee (or something similar).

Anyone spending any length of time on the doorstep will understand that such a policy will lose votes.

English votes on English matters is messy, but I have yet to hear a credible alternative short of an English Parliament.

Hang on. Be careful what you wish for. If outright Balkanisation is to be avoided - I prefer to be British than just English - then it will have to be us English who act like adults and take one for the team.

I loathe the ground Clarke walks on, but making the Westminster parliament act solely as the English parliament some of the time simply hands Salmond more weight when he asks for tax and revenue powers etc and speeds the wholesave separation of the nations.

Britain is greater than the sum of its parts, England is magnified by its association with Wales, Scotland and the other bit.

We need to swallow our anger and preserve the Union even if it comes at England's expense.

"Why should the choice be between a rubbish proposal and a useless proposal?"

In an ideal world it wouldn’t. Unless I am mistaken, however, Mr Cameron’s inner circle is either benefit of ideas on this subject or too frightened to look at it. So, probably, he will choose either Mr Clarke’s or Mr Rifkind’s recommendations. Not ideal I grant you but I think that is what it will boil down to.

As I say it is decision time for the leadership – what are they going to do? People have a right to know and soon.

Ken Clarke was in my view the best Tory Chancellor that we had fom 79-97. I would go so far as to say that if we had him now as Shadow Chancellor we would be 20 points ahead in the Polls - his presence would be far more reassuring to the general public and its that which will count whenever the election is held. He always seems to talk sense and has real depth whenever he is discussing the curent economic woes. For example he had a far more credible line from Day 1 on Nothern Rock than the shadow front bench pursued. And I say this as a strong supporter of Cameron - indeed someone who has returned to the Party because of his leadership.
The constitutoinal proposal seems emninently sensible to me.It preserves the integrity of the Union and also gives English M.P's the real power on English matters.Whats the problem for goodness sake.

"We need to swallow our anger and preserve the Union even if it comes at England's expense."

Why? What good is the Union if it relies on inequality for its existence?

Totally unacceptable and cowardly. I will say no more for now I'm too disgusted at this demonstration of total weakness.

Philip Johnston repeats the Government lie that an English Parliament would destroy the Union.

If someone wanted to split the UK, I would recommend they give three nations generous welfare provisions and have the forth nation pick up the bill. I would then suggest the other nations be given greater democratic powers to ensure these wrongs cannot be righted.

Those that deny equal treatment for England (including a Parliament) are threatening the Union. If that is their intent, they should admit it.

Why won't the Conservative party support English equality? It beggars belief!

I am sorry it doesn't preserve the integrity of the union, for it preservers the inequality of the current constitutional arrangement, which is highly divisive, and thus destructive to the Union. Neither does it give the necessary representation to English people, for as we have seen our so called 'representatives’ in Parliament have been nothing short of useless in looking after English peoples interests, for they have voted through one piece of discriminatory legislation to the cost of English people after another, putting their party loyalty above that of their constituents and collective English peoples interests. That is why we need an English executive, to gain a mandate from English people for what they want to do, and to be held accountable by the English people for what they have done.

So, with health apartheid, the West Lothian Question and Barnett Formula at the foremost of many English voters minds, the Tories decide that the Union comes first?

And those of us who are concerned are, according to David Cameron, "sour little Englanders"?

Try telling that to us poor souls dependent on the English NHS, Mr Privileged!

And David Cameron also talks of Scots blood in his veins.

Is there some kind of anti-English racism at work in the Conservative Party? It seems a bizarre concept - we all know that the English are not a race, but the last time I checked, charges of racism can be brought on grounds of nationality.

I would not have believed that the current state of affairs was possible even a few years ago.

Despite its length, the Telegraph article doesn’t explain the reported decision beyond saying that it’s approached from the perspective of an English constituent, who currently has less power to influence than a Scot.

I do not see how it’s possible to reasonably debate this report on the information currently available. Having said that, how many on this site are actually interested in reasoned, evidence based debate?

What possible constitutional justification could there be for giving Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs a vote, but allowing only English MPs to propose
amendments ?
The whole proposal is ludicrous and unworkable. It is a ridiculous fudge of the issue. What would be the reaction of Scottish Assembly members if it was proposed that while MPs from other countries could vote on their bills, they would only be allowed to take the committee stage on their own ? You only have to transpose this proposal into the Scottish context to see how absurd it is. Why should the English put up with such an insult from that fat oaf Clarke ?

There is one proposal that has been largely ignored by the Tories and I'm very surprised that its not been mentioned or debated more often.

John Redwood MP's solution:

Abolish separately elected Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolved bodies. Instead have dual role MP's at Westminster - All MP's debate UK issues and then English, Scot, Welsh and Ulster MP's debate their own nation's issues on separate days.

I would favour complete abolition of devolution and I am a Scot living in Glasgow.

However, John Redwood's idea is a fair compromise in my opinion.

Its time that us Scottish Conservatives stood up to be counted and campaigned for abolishing devolution and the Scottish Parliament.

Don't listen to the separatist policies of Goldie and the Holyrood Tories, they've been a disaster.

Abolishing devolution is the only way forward.

We are British, let's be proud to be British and have one parliament for one country and for one glorious people.

Posted by: Peter | April 21, 2008 at 14:34

Yes, with you there all the way but.

The genie is out of the bottle and there are now too many vested interests in Edinburgh and Cardiff to squash him back in. Just think how King Salomond would react to losing his toys?

The only way to solve this is with four legislatures with a British senate. John Redwood is really just over complicating the same outcome.

Ken Clarke is over complicating a different and meaningless outcome.

Why did Cameron give the job to Ken Clarke, a non democrat, and certainly no conservative. He is an EU worker, bought and no doubt handsomely paid. The Union should be maintained but the devolution broke it. England cannot break that which is already destroyed.
Funny though that the EU has not been mentioned, they are behind this whole scandal. They set out to split the union and destroy England with the Regional assemblies. With the aid of our politicians they are succeeding. The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

This is appalling. We are throwing away not just a trick but the game

I was going to vote English Democrat in London after their excellent political broadcast and then transfer to Boris. Now I am not going to transfer and waste my vote.

England deserves equal treatment with Scotland. Justice demands it. This is an act of betrayal. It is politically stupid. No one gains from this but the Labour Party and the unimaginative consciences of a few Col Blimp Unionists stuck in a 1970s grovel to Scotland for so long they can't straighten up.

If this is what its going to be like under a Cameron government, its not going to be worth the wait. Better he loses so we can get someone who will make a difference when we win. Victory is conservative laws, not extra Conservative MPs like Clarke.

Perhaps a useful solution would be that for matters that affect only England but where a similar decision has been made in Scotland or Wales (such as University fees) then the non-English member's votes must be the same as their devolved government's decision.
It is only right that they should vote the same in Parliament as they do at 'home on bills that do not directly affect them. This will also remove any perceived bias on England only issues

Does anyone know who sits with Clarke on this task force?

Ferdinand Mount
Laura Sandys
Andrew Tyrie MP
Rt Hon Sir George Young Bt MP

George Young is the prat that came up with EVoEL in the first place.

I agree with Ken Clarke, although I disagree about the solution. In the long run, regional government is the best way to save the Union, and can be interpreted with a great deal of flexibility - giving individual regions the power to change their boundaries and devolve powers to county or city level if they really need to.

Tangent,

Good luck with regional government in Scotland. Do you think it should be split into Highlands - Lowlands, or East Coast - West Coast?

Or are you suggesting that everyone should have national government BUT the English?

Thanks a lot Clarke. You might say that you are "an English conservative" but thats just a blind for anyone gullible enough to buy it.

What you propose is not even the thin recognition to the ancient parliamentary country of England that EVOEM (English Votes On English Matters)does. Nor even an English Grand Comittee a la Rifkind. At least that would have given us the dubious joy of having a subcommittee of the British pariament all to ourselves. No, not even that. Instead we would get a typical parliamenary fob off ie some sort of precedural stew whereby England would be promised certain privileges at the committee stage. Great.

Mr Clarke, comment about you has often mentioned your laziness. perhaps you could actually try reading a typical Bill put before British parliament. eg the Health and Scocial Car Bill/Act 2004 - contains 165 clauses scattered through 6 parts , 6 chapters, 15 schedules and some amendments applies partly to England, lots to Wales though but also is of relevance to Northern Ireland and Scotland which are mentioned repeatedly.
Contrast that to a bill before the Scottish pariament which applies simply to Scotland. Committee stage in the British pariament would degenerate into a physical whirligig of revolving people from different countries all with axes to grind and all conspiring and spying against each other . Ridiculous.

This is an open and highly unsatisfactory compromise designed belatedly and far too late in the day, to deflect righteous English discontent with ongoing British goevernance.
It is now 10 years since Scotland has had a complete parliament and government all of her own and yet all the British establishment can come up with for England is this pathetic insulting rubbish.

One good thing , it highlights the unworkability and injustice of continuing direct rule of England by the British parliament and government. Mr Clarke's examination of the situation in which he meekly accepts the continuing of MP's with celtic constituencies still voting on English affairs shows simply the illogic and assymetry of parliament in 2008. In a way he has done useful work in displaying the sheer exhaustion of the present setup.

Face it Mr Clarke. The only fair and just way to go is for a United Kingdom of self governing nations , each with their own parliaments and governments. The British parliament must accept and embrace its own logical destiny which is as a body dealing with pan British affairs eg foreign policy. It no longer has any justification in interfering into the internal governance of England . That is for an English government and ministry answerable to an English Parliament elected solely by voters in England .

I think this is actually quite an elegant fudge. The comments on here have reflected the English Nationalist element that likes to post on these issues, and I don't dispute that that's a numerically significant component of Conservative opinion these days. But it's nonetheless misguided for all that.

Over the medium term, I'd like to see us move towards having regional assemblies throughout the United Kingdom, so that local government can be similar everywhere and we can neuter the centrefugal forces that the currency assemblies have unleashed. But Clarke's temporary sticking plaster isn't silly, by any means.

Just to illustrate a point. Much of the considerable resistance to English nationalism is based upon an assumption that it is racist in intent and that 'we' are but two goosesteps away from the BNP.

This is a review of englandism.com that illustrates how very far from the truth that assumption is (editor, the following URL directs to the bonkers fringe of white supremacists but it is enlightening):

http://tinyurl.com/4gxoh3

They don't like Englandism very much, do they?

Yes I fully agree Jake, what is staggering is that this is blindingly obvious to all of us, yet these basic facts of democracy, like accountability and representation, eludes our professional politicians, which probably explains why Parliament is in the mess it is, why these 'parliamentarians' sign away sovereignty to Brussels they have no right to, and why we have ended up with this dogs breakfast of a constitutional settlement, and our so called representatives clueless about how to go about sorting out the mess.

God do we need a Cromwell right now!

Clarke is first and foremost a Unionist in terms of England's relations with the world, and he sincerely thinks an English parliament would simply lessen the ties Scotland and NI have with the UK. His stance on this does not surprise me in the slightest.

Unfortunately he's also getting close to 70 years old and I don't think even begins to appreciate how alienated the younger generation is from democracy -- he's disturbed by it, as everyone of that generation is, but does not understand how to deal with it.

Tangent posting above is right. Giving England the same degree of devolution as the rest of the UK would help. Presumably, the quid pro quo for Unionists would be no further devolution of government policies and powers. That's fair enough as Scotland already has more self-governance than US states in terms of policy (if not in terms of raising revenue).

The response to the English votes only for England is a trap laid by the 'devolutionists'

The answer is to call their bluff and have a seperate referendum in each of the Home Countries as follows

1/ Do you want independence from the Union?

2/ Do you want to remain in the Union and abolish the Assemblies?

For those that vote with a 60% majority for independence then they should be allowed to leave, those that vote for the Union would carry on, but without the assemblies.

I would be surprised if anyone voted for independence from the Union.

Problem solved!!

"Clarke is first and foremost a Unionist "

You mean a European Unionist? For Clarke has done everything in his power to sell us out to the EU, which has fundamentally undermined the UK, giving rise to devolution and the break up of the UK. But you must wonder at the Conservatives inability to learn any lessons, for the arrogance of Clarke and his EUpihle friends essentially were the defacto founding fathers of UKIP which has been as thorn in the side of the Conservative party. Now Cameron has given Clarke the position to formulate constitutional policy for the Conservatives, which in light of the lame proposals coming from Clarke looks like getting a fat raspberry from the electorate , and so it would seem that Clarke is also going to be the one to give English national parties the momentum to also be a thorn in the side of the Conservative party.

With a colleague like Clarke, who needs enemies or opposition parties?

This is a typical betrayal of the English by the Common Purpose British liberal establishment. They are terrified of the possible rise of English nationalism because of the threat it would pose to English membership of the EU.Time for the English to get off their knees and get rid of them.

It seems to me that the Rifkind idea is the basis for a way forward. (English parliament and government, civil servant etc., come on.) However, I'm a conservative and believe in evolution not revolution. If the Clarke proposals were carried out and non English MPs kept voting out English MP's proposals from committees then it should be clear that the Rifkind solution will have to be applied.

I suspect that most people would see it that way and be unhappy with most of the hysterical stuff on this site to-day.

"English votes for English laws", whilst obviously the fairest option, just isn't realistic. We would end up with situations where the government of the UK could only carry a majority on UK-wide matters (such as foreign affairs, defence and taxation). At present, it might be amusing watching Gordon Brown unable to get his way on 80% of issues, but it's not exactly a recipe for effective government (not that it's very effective at the moment as it is, I realise!)

I don't see why we couldn't come up with the same solution that was arrived at in the 1920s with Northern Ireland. As far as I can see, the principle is exactly the same. Because it had its own parliament at Stormont, the number of MPs it returned to Westminster was reduced (without looking it up, to something around half of what its proportion of the population would justify). It might not be the ideal solution, but it's better than what we have now, or what seems to be proposed, and importantly it seemed to work from a legislative point of view!

David Sergant (English parliament and government, civil servant etc., come on.)?

Why? The MP's are there, the departments of state are already there and staffed, the Civil Servants are already there, the building is there was well, all it needs is for the the legislation for an English parliament to be passed, and for English people vote in their Government and Exexutive. The cost is minimal.

To David Sergeant

David , the Scots already have their own parliament, government, civil service (yes thats right), budget, ministries and national institutions and have done for 10 years

and you say the English ought to give the British parlament time to see if a clearly unsatisfactory and wholy undemocratic compromise proposal will work just to test it out and see if it doesn't outrage the English too much and also so the political establishment don't have to disturb themselves too much. That would be so terrible for them.

In effect you are praying for another period of English indulgence for the obviously decrepit and unjust present system which presupposes an even continuum of developement. In practice things don't go forward like that. They proceed in a series of jerks and seeming consolidations followed by upheaval. "Seeming" because they only seem to be quiet periods. In fact people are thinking and forming opinions, often radical ones, whilst the poltical class can congratulate themselves that all appears to be well.

So it is for the English question and if you do not believe it just consider if this debate could have taken place in say 1998.

Consider also the history of women's suffrage commenced in 1897 and facing years of contemptuous opposition from the political class yet made law in 1918 - by that same British parliament!
The world still went on.

I think that Philip Johnston's article is a quite astute summary of the situation, particularly his conclusion.

The English Question will still need to be addressed even if Labour loses the next election. This is not about party advantage, nor is it about the Barnett formula, free prescriptions or university fees, however much these issues might rankle with English voters.

It is about identity and governance. Within a Union, it will never be possible for one ancient nation to be satisfied on these matters if the other, bigger, ancient nation feels its claims are being ignored.

Neither Cameron or Clarke seem to understand this.

In recent weeks Kenneth Clarke has talked of the 'political ruling class' and it seems clear now that the Democracy Task Force is little more than a self-indulgent front led by Clarke to promote the Conservative arm of this elitist group. It has offered nothing in terms of democracy to the British people.

No doubt Clarke (and perhaps Cameron) hope to fob the public off with such meaningless drivel. However, the British public are not that stupid and can easily recognise when politicians are playing with each others' navels. Why else has national turnout fallen to 60% in the last GEs?

In the meantime, all this will do is provide Alex Salmond more fuel to throw on the fire of English and Scottish nationalism. He needs to do nothing except to continue to poke sticks at the English and let their reaction further rile his own electorate. Cameron and Brown are doing his job for him. This in turn will bring forward the destruction of the Union.

Further tinkering with the Union will only hasten its demise. Only radical surgery will save it.

I suspect it is time to federalise the UK and as a result reduce the size and responsiblities of the UK Parliament so they only deal substantively with the most critical national issues (National Security, Defence, Immigration, Foreign Affairs etc). Virtually all domestic issues need to be completely devolved to the Home Nations (health, education, transport, local law enforcement etc) Only funding and the economy should be left as a shared matter.

If Cameron accepts Clarke's recommendations then the nationalist movements will grow in size and power and increasingly be a thorn in his side. Rather than mending Britain's Broken Society Cameron could well preside over it's long term division.

Not only will he be under threat from the 'Eurosceptic bastards' but also the 'English Bastards' and his own heritage could well become a topic of derision. Perhaps Alex Salmond will call him a 'Half Feartie'?

Unless Cameron moves away from this weak dithering self indulgent policy he could well end up being kicked out office (whatever that may be) way before his time in a more ignominious way than his predecessors and only Michael Howard's has in any way been dignified.

It doesn't take a genius to work out that the English cause is most prominent in Conservative heartlands. The more it grows the more it is likely to destabilise Cameron's authority.

I suspect Cameron needs to learn that sometimes it is necessary to feed the beast to quieten it. Starving it only makes it more dangerous!

Cameron should reject this. There needs to be seen to be parity in the UK. If not then this will cost Cameron votes possibly the election. The age of complex compromises is over. If Cameron wants to win he needs to be seen to be fair.

It follows that any English person, such as Kenneth Clarke, who believes that we should be in the EU is totally against the English being allowed to govern themselves. We might start objecting to what some self interested politicians might like to do with our country. At the moment of course we are totally denied leadership and thus prevented from doing what is good good for England and the English. Rise up St George.

"Not only will he be under threat from the 'Eurosceptic bastards' but also the 'English Bastards' "

Yes the Conservative EUphile leadership of Major, Clarke, Hurd, Howe, Patton, arrogantly ignored the EUsceptic argument and got UKIP for their troubles which is costing the Conservatives parliamentary seats. Yet having learnt nothing from that experience it looks like they are going to do it all over again with the English question, and as you say get the 'English bastards' for their trouble. You might have thought they would have learnt their lesson, but no, they haven't even learnt their lesson from Scotland where they ignored the nationalist sentiment and got totally annihilated.

It looks like its deja vue all over again.

I was going to vote English Democrat in London after their excellent political broadcast and then transfer to Boris. Now I am not going to transfer and waste my vote.
Considering that as Mayor for London, Boris Johnson will not have any power over the constitution of the UK, but also that it is Ken Clarke proposing this report not Boris Johnson and that London is the one part of England with something almost comparable to the Welsh Assembly aren't those rather odd reasons for not giving Boris Johnson your second vote?

Like many others on here, I say David Cameron should reject Ken Clarke’s reported proposal. Only MPs sitting for English seats voting on English-only issues will do, which is what I thought was originally promised. (As for an English parliament, I think this would go too far towards breaking up the union.)

I completely disagree with Andrew Lilico’s (1648) wish for regional assemblies. This would add another layer of Government and bureaucracy, remove power away from the Counties, and further away from the people (so much for ideas for more local power). Some think this is what Brussels wants – to deal directly with these regional assemblies bypassing our national Parliament, which would of course become unnecessary.

'(As for an English parliament, I think this would go too far towards breaking up the union.)Philip 22:28'
I disagree Philip, an English Parliament is probably the only way to keep the Union. You can't have a union where 3 countries all decide there own affairs and only one is not allowed to. Of course it's terribly politically correct to be on the side of minorities but actually if this is taken to extremes, as in the way Blair has left England in limbo, it is just plain undemocratic.

I think that English and Welsh Law needs seperating, there need to be parliaments in all parts of the UK with identical powers - there are arguments for a Cornwall Parliament, Wessex parliament, Mercia Parliament, Yorkshire Parliament, East Anglian Parliament, Northumbrian Parliament etc... These could have seperate law or decide English Law with a Council of England. There needs to be devolution within Scotland, Wales and Ulster as well - Westminster domination has been replaced by South Wales and Scottish Lowland domination respectively in the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament.

Yet Another Anon @21.41

You really do think in 2D don't you.

The only purpose of STV elections like the London Mayor is to niche market your vote to the party whose policies most express your own before finally coming in to line for the least worst of the 3 party fix. However, I propose not to come into line, even though I acknowledge that means wasting my vote, as a small punishment but the only one I can inflict on the Conservatives for refusing to listen to what I want.

Did I ever want a mayor or regional assembly No
Did I vote for it in the referendum in 1998 No
Do I worry that the difference between Ken and Boris is so great or so important that the result bothers me No
Would I rather make a political point on an issue that does bother me; that affects the future governance of this country; that determines the liklihood of a future Labour government in England i.e. where I live; that affects the possiblity of rising nationalist sentiment catalysing a referendum on the even more important subject of remaining in the EU. Yes

You're only capable of going through the motions. "Always played the game and always lost." No doubt if Boris wins the mayoralty you will consider that a great and significant victory the following day. I wonder if it will look like that four years later.

Cameron is still not secure in his chance of victory, despite all that has happened, as today's poll shows in the story above this. The politics of small difference is not enough. Hilton is wrong.
To guarantee victory Cameron has to offer this nation Hope, a plan B. He also needs to excite the voters out of their despair and their apathy. Awaken the beast of English Nationalism; turn it first on the Scottish Labour party and then on Brussels. Ride it to power and victory.

No doubt if Boris wins the mayoralty you will consider that a great and significant victory the following day.
I won't, partly because London means little to me, I have no links with it and no more care what happens there than what happens anywhere else, equally I won't think it is great because I think that all 3 main candidates are a waste of space for that role, but on the other hand the Mayor of London is not a position involved in taking decisions on the constitutional settlement of the UK any more than for example local councillors there.

If I was voting in London I would vote for Gerard Batten first and probably the English Democrats next, but not because of anything to do with the EU or whether or not there should be an English Parliament because I know that even if they won a Mayoral election it would make little difference on those issues, but simply because I would think that they would do a better job as Mayor than any of the other candidates.

Toque,

Ideally, I would have like to have seen just such a split in Scotland. But English regions, on their own, given their population, should be a match for Scotland - and can form a common front on any issue where England's common interests demands a common response.

Tangent, why do you think regionalism is a good idea, given 1. it has been soundly rejected in the only referendum held in England and 2. the devolutionary settlement for everyone else in the UK is nation based?

If you really want to save the union, you should call for constitutional equality for everyone in the UK.

I'm suspicious about the motives of those promoting unequal treatment for England. I understand what Labour is attempting to achieve by it, but I can’t for the life of me workout what is in it for the Conservatives.

Tangent, you say "English regions, on their own, given their population, should be a match for Scotland"

This would mean that your "regions" would be twice the size of Wales and four times the size of Northern Ireland. The precedence is set: this is a national devolutionary settlement! The only options are to undo what has been given to three nations, or complete the process for the forth.

"should be a match for Scotland - and can form a common front on any issue where England's common interests demands a common response."

Are you going to give English regions seperate NHS, education, etc? If not then you will need a forum to set these policies for England. Isn't that the same thing as an English parliament?


 
A fudge allowing of only English MPs to discuss English legislation at the committee stage would not have stopped Scottish MPs providing the Government's majority on  such matters as fees for English universities ( while knowing that it would not affect their constituents). More importantly, it would not even address the  English Question about why an Scottish PM and Chancellor should be able to decide all the priorities for English expenditure while having no say in the priorities affecting their own constituents, since they have devolved that responsibility to the SNP in the Scottish Parliament.
 
The Conservatives are foremost in wanting to preserve the Union but are failing to produce any realistic answer to these two questions that threaten its breakup, particularly at a time when the end of economic prosperity is making even more people of England ask "Who is governing Us?"
 
While the simple answer is to devolve power to an English Parliament one can understand the dismay of English MPs in Westminster of the prospect of being reduced to the status of the Scottish MPs who have little influence over decisions affecting their constituents. But, doing nothing will lead to the end of the Union as the people of England realise how unfairly they are being governed. 
 
Has not Ken Clarke and his team not thought about the better solution of accepting the Rifkind idea of an English Grand Committee but adding to it the idea (once put forward by Lord Baker) that it should be able to elect an English Executive with powers to govern England (similar to those accorded to Scotland) devolved to it? This might not satisfy the growing number of English constituents who want a separate English Parliament but it would provide  a solution to the English Question without having another tier of politicians - even though that was no obstacle to setting up parliaments and assemblies for the other nations of the United Kingdom.
 
All who wish to preserve the Union, whilst finding a solution to the unfair way  in which England is being governed, should bend their minds to producing a real solution. It does not seem that the Conservative party is likely to do so. Nor any of the others in Westminster. Am I alone in sadly thinking that the Union is doomed to break up?
 

"Am I alone in sadly thinking that the Union is doomed to break up?"

No, the light weight politicians we have at Westminster is going to guarantee it, for they have set in motion the forces to rip this country apart, like the EU, something they signed us up to that’s unravelling this country, but something they won't un-sign, its like a slow motion train crash, with the Politicians in the drivers cab all seeing the wall we're going to crash into, yet none of them will apply the break, all because they don't want to admit they were wrong.

In regards to the English question, in light of Clarke’s lame proposals its clear that Westminster is clueless in how to sort out the mess. So as our useless politicians are incapable of coming up with a reasonable proposal, they should let the people decide, put the various options to a referendum vote, and as I say let the people decide.

Stupid! If this is accepted as policy then it will be a huge vote loser. The English have had enough of the Scots having a say in England when we don't in Scotland. What is so difficult to understand about this being undemocratic.

"Regionalisation", what a dirty word to suit the dirty deeds being done by our so called politicians. You should all know by now that this is an EU inspired action and is being carried out by those who are supposed to represent you, the people, not themselves. But so corrupt has the whole political scene become that they can get away with anything. The EU rules and if Cameron wins an election, which is no certainty, he will only be a clerk with a rubber stamp. Thank God you lot were not around when it was us against Hitler, you would have been speaking German now.

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