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If there is no consistency in the supply and cost of core services like prescriptions, school fees etc, then just what *is* the point of the UK?

That is obviously not fair and is unlikely to continue without growing resentment.

The problem with all this is that under these plans, if they were in force today, the English Government would be run by the UK Government when the Scottish/Welsh/Irish Govts are run by their own people.

There current is an England only government - but it is bizarrely carried out by the governing party of the UK parliament. ( Most of Gordon Brown's stated priorities on taking over as PM applied only to England - as that's the only place he has authority on most issues. )

An English parliament and executive would be no more a challenge to the UK Parliament/Govt than its Irish/Scottish/Welsh equivalents.

No extra bureaucracy or even representation is needed. Some department would become English ( as they already are in effect ) like Health and Education (which please can we restore the name on day one of a Conservative govt ! ). MPs could serve in the English Parliament and the UK Parliament on different days ( the same principle applied to the other home nations would save money ).

Frankly England is not going to be palmed of with any half baked proposals, even from someone as eminent and decent (and Scottish) as Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

Really interesting.

This is what ConHome does best -- bringing Westminster events to people like me who can never get to them.

I hope Sir Malcolm is back on the front bench soon.

Wales and Northern Ireland MPs also have an ability to vote on laws that only apply to the English.
And indeed so do Londoners, things in other parts of England that are decided by Westminster, in many cases are now decided by the GLA in London.

Although Regional Assemblies based on areas such as North West England and North East England are hated, ones based on historic areas such as Yorkshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, Mercia, Wessex, Cornwall, Anglia etc... with similar powers to the Scottish Parliament could be popular.

Cornwall could be given a devolved parliament really quite quickly I would have thought.

"An English Parliament would be a "crazy" over-reaction to the problem."

Tell that to the English students being financially discriminated against in Scotland, but finding no Executive to fight their corner. Tell that to the English students burdened with debt because Scottish elected MP's with no accountability to the people they were foisting this policy on, could vote knowing that their constituents couldn't be effected. Tell that to the sick people in England who find they are financially discriminated against, again because there is no Executive to formulate policy for England, defend their interests, and whose policies English people can hold to account.

No it would be crazy not to have an English Parliament, as such its is appreciated that Scots think the West Lothian question is a problem, how big of them, but then it matters not one jot, for the Scots voted for what they wanted, and got it, now its long past the time when English people get to vote for what they want, and if they want to be fobbed off with some rubbish Grand Committee fine I'll go along with it, but English people should also be given the opportunity to vote for an equal settle to what the Scots vote for themselves, unless you are saying Britain no longer does equality?

Yet Another Anon | April 24, 2008 at 12:49

In otherwords give the power back to the counties.

Something Daniel Hannan has been banging on about. (And with which, incidently, I agree) Roger Gale was touting round the idea that the counties be given similar powers to Wales and Scotland, and Parliament then limited to the matters of Foreign Policy and Great National Interest. Big plus point would be to reduce the centralisation of Westminster and perhaps give the MP's more time to spend on constituency matters.

Devolution was the start of a process that will end in the breakup of the Union. The desire for independence in Scotland and Wales may not be "remorseless", but what about the views of the English? I find it astonishing that politicians of all pursuasions always predicate their arguments about the merits, or otherwise, of de-construction without taking account of the latter.

Many of us south of the Border believe that an English Parliament would not be a "crazy over-reaction"; it is the only just way to answer the WLQ. If this leads to the break-up of the Union, then so be it.

Time for the Tories to wake up and start listening, for a change, to those of us who don't live in Notting Hill.

" Roger Gale was touting round the idea that the counties be given similar powers to Wales and Scotland, and Parliament then limited to the matters of Foreign Policy and Great National Interest."

Devolution didn't take place on the basis of Counties in Scotland and Wales it was done on a national basis, why should England be treated differently? Why the racism against England? And anyway, education, health etc is done on a national basis, not County, so we would need a forum to set that policy. So what should we call that forum, I know, lets call it an English Parliament!

The Act of Union between Scotland and England specified one parliament and one parliament only [--the Act's emphasis, not mine] for Great Britain. The reconvening of the Scottish Parliament negated the Act of Union.

By that means, my nationality changed from British to English. I demand an English Parliament accordingly.

Devolution cannot be on a national basis for some (leaving aside that Wales and Northern Ireland aren't 'nations' in the Scottish and EnglandmergedwithWales sense), whilst the remaining component has to make do with something less.

Power should be closer to the people but if you want to achieve this whilst reviving the Union, then cancel devolution (in the current understanding of the term) and devolve/localise power to counties etc, throughout UK. Were it not for the EU element lurking behind it, I could contemplate UK-wide regional localism if it included, say, Highland Region, Lowland Region/ South Wales, North Wales,or whatever, but not by nation. Indeed perhaps such regions might might straddle UK borders. E.g. there may well be much common economic and other considerations between Carlisle and Lockerbie folk. Maybe someone would dismiss such a notion out of hand because of differing legal and other systems between Scotland and England. And thus would we return to the central point: if we are two nations then I demand a parliament for mine as well ;-)


As to your comment:
"English Grand Committee ... would meet when the Speaker decreed that legislation introduced by the UK executive would only affect England."
-- I'm sure Gorbals Mick would do his best in England's interests.

The current premise seems to be that UK = England, so the others need their own arrangements. Maybe that is why, for example, the Anglo-Irish Council includes reps from UK devolved admins but none specifically representing England. (Though isn't it odd that foreign affairs are not a devolved function yet those devolved reps get to participate in discussions with another sovereign State?).
That seemingly being the case, then I suggest as an interim measure that the positions of Prime Minister, and Secretaries of State (or equivalents) of any Whitehall departments handling functions that are substantially devolved to the Celtic fringes should be reserved to MPs elected in English constituencies.

On the subject of English MPs, why was someone elected in an English constituency and dealing with an English topic, giving a foretaste of these ideas to The Scotsman yesterday?

Rifkind is spot on - an English Parliament would be absurd.

What the English nationalists fail to see is that England is NOT dominated within the UK by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In fact the opposite is the case.

England is 85% of the UK. It is the overwhelmingly dominant partner in this Union.

Think of the UK as a body. England is the head and torso; Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the arms and legs. Yes, it would be possible for the torso and head to live without the other parts, but it isn't sensible, why would we want to?

Many of us south of the Border believe that an English Parliament would not be a "crazy over-reaction"; it is the only just way to answer the WLQ. If this leads to the break-up of the Union, then so be it.
I can't believe I'm reading this stuff on a Conservative and Unionist party supporting website. If we're not about protecting the Union, what are we about?

The answer to this perceived unfairness is fairly obvious - as others have argued above, give power back to the counties. There are no "English issues" in the sense that there are Welsh or Scottish issues - the problems and concerns of people in Yorkshire are as different from those in Cumbria as from those in Cornwall as from those in Kent.

"What the English nationalists fail to see is that England is NOT dominated within the UK by Scotland "

Well pray tell who is setting policy for England right now?

"If we're not about protecting the Union, what are we about?"

What is the point of protecting a Union which cannot offer equality for all?

"There are no "English issues" in the sense that there are Welsh or Scottish issues - the problems and concerns of people in Yorkshire are as different from those in Cumbria as from those in Cornwall as from those in Kent."

And that is a ridiculous statement, for you will find there are starker divisions in Scotland and Wales than the counties in England, and completely ridiculous to suggest there aren't English issues.

I just cannot believe that the English have not been so complacent about the effect upon us of the Devolution saga.

One wonders whether they really understand how much dominance the non- English MPs have over us when it comes to deciding English issues.

"Englsih votes for English issues"

In otherwords give the power back to the counties
Not just about giving power back, indeed new devolved parliaments would have far more powers than the current Regional Assemblies or than counties have had for centuries, and there could still be Local Government under them - Yorkshire could have an assembly covering all the ridings, other counties such as Northumberland could have a parliament covering the area of the county on older borders which covered a broader area than than currently covered by the county, areas such as Mercia and Wessex cover historic areas but are not currently counties but would unite areas with a lot in common.

Some counties might even cross over more recent national borders - Northumerland for example historically was a Scottish county and included areas now in the Borders region.

Indeed there would be an argument for scrapping the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and restoring ancient regions such as Strathclyde - abandoning national Cardiff or Edinburgh based centres for power.

It is wrong to see this as Scotland V England.

Yes it is wrong. But. The anti-English sentiment did become a bit wearisome and inevitably there was a bite back. However, this retaliation only serves Salmond’s purposes, as Malcolm suggests so I for one, promise to be a little less infantile.

Devolution has changed a lot but far from everything.

Really? Devolution not only moved the goalposts, it moved the entire stadium and rewrote the rules of the game.

Scotland and Wales are not moving remorselessly to independence.

Scotland: That’s not the view from the Guardian and the stats are moving in favour (41%) as fast as the SNP approval rate. Incidentally, 20% of England wants full independence according to the latest poll.

The need for an answer to the West Lothian Question is fundamentally about fairness.

Yes.

An English Parliament would be a "crazy" over-reaction to the problem.

If we want to cure the English patient we need more than the self-evidently flawed and cynical placebo of a Committee whether Grand or Clarke-shaped. We need a cure that actually works:

An English Parliament

England is too big you say? Is the central belt of Scotland too big in relation to the Highlands or Lowlands?

To expensive you say? The infrastructure is already in place a Westminster for a federal solution.

English regional assemblies are also a wrong response.

Yes.

It would be wrong to reduce the number of Scottish MPs any further.

Yes, if status quo. No, if federal system. Reduce to zero.

What an English Grand Committee would be like.

Another piece of confectionary in the fudge shop window.

Scottish voters reject the argument that an ECR would weaken the Union.

Errr…whatever?

Ken Clarke's idea has two main problems.

Yes, Kenneth and Clarke. Wrong man for the job.

We should not agree to a referendum on Scottish independence.

Only if we get one too. If not, why not? You mentioned fairness after all.

EnglandmergedwithWales sense
It's status has been of a principality, it could however be demerged with Wales having seperate Welsh Law, ny any demerged would just have to start with the same law as everywhere else with new legislation and amendments starting from that position.

As a matter of fact Northern Ireland has a seperate legal system just as Scotland does and under the Stormont Parliament had more power locally than the Scottish Parliament does now.

Some of the Parliamentarians who voted for the Act of Union had economic misgivings about, thinking it would financially beggar England, but I wonder in their worst nightmares if they ever thought that English people would be Constitutionally beggared by it, and that our so called 'representatives' would have permitted English people to be made Constitutionally second class citizens in their own country?

Yet Another Anon | April 24, 2008 at 12:49:
Although Regional Assemblies based on areas such as North West England and North East England are hated, ones based on historic areas such as Yorkshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, Mercia, Wessex, Cornwall, Anglia etc... with similar powers to the Scottish Parliament could be popular.

I think most voters want to see less government, not more government (which IMHO is why Blair+Prescott didn't get any serious support for their regional assemblies).

We already elect local councils - why do we need (yet) another layer of bureaucracy at a regional level?

'I can't believe I'm reading this stuff on a Conservative and Unionist party supporting website. If we're not about protecting the Union, what are we about?'

We are about 192 MPs one of whom represents a Lowlands constituency.

Please. The Unionist bit refers to Irish Home Rule and has diddly squat to do with Scotland.

Thanks for the body analogy. In reality, Scotland is the head and England forms the legs:

We are told what to do but we are the only things keeping the bl##dy thing upright.

Devolution was the great NuLab experiment that was going to keep them in power for ever, there was no real thought put into its potential for the abrogation of the union. Indeed it can be argued that NuLab quite callously implemented the Europe of the Regions knowing that devolution was a jolly good smokescreen.
NuLab now having been wiped out in Scotland and Wales are desparate to salvage something, anything. Alex Salmond in the meantime has made no bones that he will use SNP MP's at Westminster to get his way, even if it means sabotaging the process and business of Westminster.
That's a great legacy for NuLab, the destruction of the UK, the implementation, via the back door of the ultimate EU regionalisation policy and the loss of independance and our Parliamentary ways.
Yes the UK is in danger, in fact its on a life support system with the imminent removal of the plug. It can only be saved with extreme measures. The revocation of the devolved assemblies in Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland can go away. {Perhaps we can ask Goldmans or some other financial whizzes to place a value and demand same from Dublin.}
Half measures are no good, they are no less than appeasement, Westminster as it stood must be recovered or all is lost. In the latter instance we can look forward to being split up into regional pieces and ruled piecemeal from Brussels, with all the sleaze and corruption out in the open and with no real controls in place.
I must disagree with the Mr Rifkind.

The EU wants to break up the UK in to their version of different regions. Let's keep the UK together and not start the process for them!

A parliament for Cornwall is a tempting answer as suggested by Yet Another Anon @12.49

Not many people seem to know that Cornwall now has a 'parliament'. It is a unitary authority replacing 6 district councils and was created despite near overwhelming Cornish opposition.

The EU requires 3 tier local government. We now have the 9 regions in England plus Scotland, Wales and N Ireland.

Heath started to create the sub regions or unitaries but didn’t get far because of the public outcry.

This government is carrying on where Heath left off. 16 sub regions or unitaries have just been set up at breakneck speed, all against the wishes of the majority. More will no doubt follow.

So let us first get rid of the EU from our lives. Maybe then we have a local government system which people want.

Until then Sir Malcolm Rifkind has proposed an elegant riposte to the creation of the Scottish region in the EU – but one without teeth.

"The EU wants to break up the UK in to their version of different regions. Let's keep the UK together and not start the process for them!"

Don't fool for it. The EU wants to break England up. Terminating a broken union of four countries leaving a strong and prosperous England is the last thing the EU wants.

"There are no "English issues"
I think you'll find the resentment against uni being free in Scotland but not in England, for example, is as strong across England as a whole, and is therefore very much an 'English' issue.

"It can only be saved with extreme measures. The revocation of the devolved assemblies in Scotland and Wales."

That ain't going to happen though, for the Conservatives couldn't make a case for the Union in the Scottish devolution referendum, for they lost that referendum, and in the intervening years I haven't heard the Conservatives make a telling case about restoring the Union, in fact they have thrown in the towel on them, for they now say they want to keep them. As a result the question is about England, and the basic fact that nothing less than an English Parliament will defend the interests of English people, and as such its about time the ostriches in the Conservative party pulled their heads out of the sand, realised the Union as they knew it has gone, there is no restoring it, and make a commitment to put the institutions in place to look after the interests of English people, because right now nobody is, which is a disgrace and shame on all those MP's who get to plonk their backsides down on the green benches from English Constituencies who have spent more time filling out their dodgy expenses claims than bothering about the parlous constitutional position English people find themselves in.

This bloke is in denial.

English taxes for England
English law for England
Home rule for England.

English Parliament now.

If, as Iain has just said, the Conservative Party has 'thrown in the towel' on the Union, then has the Conservative Party also thrown in the towel on the UK as an independent sovereign state?

We havent heard much about that either.

Is this the same Mr. Rifkind who was willing to resign if Scotland did not get their own Parliament

"It would meet when the Speaker decreed that legislation introduced by the UK executive would only affect England."
-and of course we can trust the speaker to be evenhanded...?

"It would not introduce its own legislation."
-why not?

"The Committee of all MPs from English constituencies would then amend and debate the legislation. A convention would be instituted that would mean that the Commons as a whole could not over-ride the EGR's decisions."
-Like the convention that says the speaker alternates between the parties?
-Or the convention that says MPs are honourable members and will police themselves properly?

It seems to me that englandism has a point. An English Grand Committee would be just "another piece of confectionary in the fudge shop window"

We need a proper democratic solution, not just a pat on the head and a promise that those in power will look after us.

"then has the Conservative Party also thrown in the towel on the UK as an independent sovereign state?"

I think the Conservatives want to delude themselves that the Union as they knew it is still there as long as they deny English people their own Parliament, even though with the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and NI assemblies the Union has gone. Trouble is this denial is going to cost them the opportunity to put in place any revamped Union established along federal lines, for by the time they wake up to that, the opportunity to establish it is going to be long gone as well.

But you really must wonder at the stupidity of MP's for years they have voted through any EU legislation that has been put in front of them, oblivious of the fact that they have been signing their P45's and giving the EU the powers to pull apart the fabric of this country. Yet even with this staring them in the face, Cameron can't even get around to honouring his leadership election promise to withdraw Conservative MEP's from the EPP. So what hope is there of Cameron renegotiating the Lisbon treaty when he won't do something over which, as the Conservative Party leader, he has power to order to be done. .

There is no demand for an English parliament from the people of England. Don't project the desires of a fraction of the Tory party onto the rest of the country.

"There is no demand for an English parliament from the people of England"

Well check out the polls, for they say something very different...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/11/26/nunion26.xml

Should England be independent of Scotland Wales NI ? 48% for / 43% against.

Are you for or against England having its own Parliament?

68% for / 25% against.

passing leftie | April 24, 16:28
"There is no demand for an English parliament from the people of England."

This brings to mind an old joke--
Chap goes into pub: "Pint of real ale please"
Publican: "Sorry, no can do."
Another chap goes into pub: "Pint of real ale please"
Publican: "Sorry, don't stock it."

... and so this sort of exchange proceeds through several customers until the publican finally explodes "How many times do I have to keep telling you people. There just ain't no demand for it"

Analogy, dear chap, analogy.


Poll commissioned by The Daily Telegraph.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/04/23/nday123.xml
"Around one third of those questioned wanted to see an English parliament along Scottish lines. Another 20 per cent wanted England to be an independent country. Just one third thought that England should not have its own parliament either inside or outside the UK."

Rifkind is a scot. The speaker is a scot, the chancellor is a scot, Cameron is a scot, Blair was a scot, the defence minister is a scot, and the greet Broon is a scot even while he extols Britishness on an hourly basis,
On a question of an English parliament we should not ask any of them for an opinion since their home country has a parliament which I have no doubt, they all strove mightily to obtain. Only Alex Salmond is worth an English audience, since he offers us independence by default. No English MP existing offers anything but supression of Englishness, for fear of losing out on the Brussels feeding trough.
On the Barnet formula, spare a thought for the Cornish, poorest county in England, which recieves no such largess as Scotland or Wales. The poor dears lumbered themselves with a straight flush of Lib-Dim MPs, about the worst political situation of any county in England.
All these scots are soooo busy recommending anything except equality with Scotland. The Union was finished by the Scots, let us joyfully affirm their choice!

I stand corrected. Demand is much higher than I thought. Serves me right for not doing my usual research.

Devolution was a typical Blair measure (like the HoL and what to do in Iraq after the war); it was not thought through.

I believe that there are two fundamental points: as a party we are for - and should remain - for the Union and,secondly, it is patently unfair for Scotland to have its own parliament, while England, by far the largest and most important constituent part of the Union, does not.

I suggest that the proper answer to this conundrum must recognise those two points.

Personally, I am not sure that we need an English parliament, as some have argued, but I am certain that we must at the very least have purely English votes on purely English matters.

@Lynsey Jenkins
then has the Conservative Party also thrown in the towel on the UK as an independent sovereign state?

The resurgence of English Nationalism is one of the best hopes of those of us who want to quit the EU. The political storm necessary to do the one creates and eases the conditions for achieving the other. English Nationalism is the Trojan Horse for EU withdrawal.

"but I am certain that we must at the very least have purely English votes on purely English matters."

That might work if our MP's weren't such lobby fodder, that they march to the beck and call of the whips, and that Ministers setting policy in England aren't necessarily English elected, its a policy that won't work. The fact is the very feebleness of our so called representatives is the flaw in the policy, for they could have voted down much of the discriminatory legislation that's been enacted to the disadvantage of English people over the last 10 years. They didn't, for they put their party before their constituents. No we need an Executive that English people can vote in or sack, and that requires an English Parliament.

An English Parliament would require an English government and covering 85% of the UK population it could easily become a rival to the UK government - endangering the Union. It would also amount to gross over-government at excessive cost to the taxpayer.

It was successive UK Governments and Parliaments that have handed sovereignty over to the EU. An EU who now plan to carve the English nation into political oblivion.

It was successive UK Governments and Parliaments that created this constitutional mess that has left English Based voters as second class citizens in terms of their democratic representation.

We need an English Parliament to protect us from the UK Parliament with its Brussels flunkies!

The English Claim Of Right

"We declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations the interests of the English people shall be paramount.

We further declare and pledge that our actions and deliberations shall be directed to the following ends:

To assert the right of the English people to live in a sovereign nation state of England, free of foreign control;

To agree a scheme for a Parliament for England;

To mobilise English opinion and ensure the approval of the English people for that scheme;

and to assert the right of the English people to secure the implementation of that scheme."

The English Claim Of Right Website

Rifkind may have the best of intentions but he should realise that the betrayal of the English by his countryman Brown and the rest of the Scottish Labour Mafia means that few English are going to take any notice of what he (Rifkind)says. To be honest silence on this matter would be more sensible.

Brown's sad attempts at 'Britishness' soil the memory of what is was to be British. The Union is gone in all but name. All we have left is our English identity and the EU have undemocratic autocratic designs on that!

Give us an English Parliament!

Once we have an English Parliament, then and only then should we talk about rebuilding the Union on a fairer more equitable basis from a position of strength and parity.

Aside from the pros & cons of the argument, I feel very disillusioned that long-experienced political notables like Messrs Clarke and Rifkind can only manage little mice of proposals, without any blue-skies thinking or deep intellectual rigour. Even at a pragmatic/politically cynical level, these don't constitute sufficient of a sop to damp down the masses' discontent.

If you are a staunchly Unionist party, then where is the bold proposal to reconstitute and then strengthen the Union?

You could start by co-opting Yet Another Anon | April 24, 13:49 to a proper review commission, building on:

"..Indeed there would be an argument for scrapping the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and restoring ancient regions such as Strathclyde - abandoning national Cardiff or Edinburgh based centres for power."

No, I know there's no prospect of conviction leadership along such lines from you or the other major parties. That is why an English Parliament has to be the solution to the present inequitable mess.

is this the same Rifkind who signed the Scottish claim of right but now tells the English that they do not and will not get their own English Parliament?

"the very feebleness of our so called representatives is the flaw .... they put their party before their constituents."

That is the root of the problem at Westminster.

Cameron is a scot
He was born in London and grew up in Berkshire - his father is Scottish I believe, certainly the Cameron family is Scottish, his mother is not Scottish though, in fact his mothers family is English.

As for Tony Blair as I understand it he is mixed Lowland Scots, English, Irish and Manx although he was born in Edinburgh. Both though elected for English seats, and Malcolm Rifkind is MP for Kensington and Chelsea.

I don't recall anyone objecting to IDSs Scottish ancestry - he is after all 3/4 Scottish and 1/4 Japanese.

Much better than Ken Clarke's reported proposal. I totally agree with Sir Malcolm's comments on the English parliament idea (governing 85% of the population, it would be a rival to the UK Government, threatening the union), and on regional assemblies - these would centralise power away from local councils. Exactly. Don't let advocates of 'regional government' kid us with talk about devolving power from Westminster to the regions. I understood regional assemblies would get most of their power from the counties, not Westminster.

England should be given that which was given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Equality is an absolute prerequisite for any union and central to any stable liberal democratic system. Right now the English are not constitutionally equal to the other three nations and it is this inequity that will ultimately threaten the union.

The only way we can be Britons of equal status again is to roll back the devolutionary settlement (unlikely) or complete the process: and that means an English Parliament.

I am foremost a Conservative and Unionist. And as a good constitutional conservative see anomilies as all part and parcel of our evolving, unwritten constiution. On those grounds I have never had a problem with hereditary peers voting in the House of Lords, unlike those 'theorists'.

And by the same token do not have a problem with Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland MPs voting in the House of Commons. They are fellow British citizens. And let us not forget Scots make up about a third of the British Army.

As a Conservative I see no problem with anomolies. A meeting of people may agree that solutions need to be found for the House of Lords and the West Lothian Question. But the 'bun fight' then begins over what the solutions are. Keeping things the same is often easier.

Incidentally I would like to see the Conservative Party rekindle the links with the Ulster Unionists. - A people who have really stood by the UK.

"...and that means an English Parliament".

Posted by: Terry | April 25, 2008 at 06:08

I agree with your argument, Terry, but not necessarily your conclusion. As Rifkind points out, as England constitutes some 85% of the UK, an English parliament would compete with the UK parliament. Also, as most of laws come from Brussels (at the moment), to set up a parliament might be rather unnecessary.

If you concluded that we must have English votes on English laws, I would agree wholeheartedly with you.

"Cameron is a Scot" [..etc]

It is not the nationality of the individuals that is at issue in the debate. It is the nation in which their constituencies lie.
Thus, for example, Mr Rifkind was formerly a 'Scottish MP' and is now an 'English MP'.

"Thus, for example, Mr Rifkind was formerly a 'Scottish MP' and is now an 'English MP'."

If he put his English constituents first and foremost, with Rifkin giving Scottish newspapers first viewing of his proposals, and other such matters, one gets the impression his English constituency is just a constituency of convenience, and that his interests and the people he identifies with lie North of the border.

I broadly support Sir Malcolm's position, with a few minor variations, I am not going to bother to detail them here.

The mess that is the current UK democratic structure clearly needs to be dealt with and protected against easy future tinkering.

I can't see a problem with different state benefits (ie uni fees), provided the funding for such expenditure comes solely from the area which benefits. I don't believe that is the case now and I do believe its the root cause of much of the feeling of (very) rightous injustice.

I think we should be reducing and simplifying the number of government layers; and as for an English Parliament, it would be an unnecessary indulgence, "English only votes" at Westminster would be far more straightforward as we are 85% of the UK.

any body that does not see the need for an English Parliament is playing the eu long game of wiping England off the map.
The ukip are eu stooges.

"I can't believe I'm reading this stuff on a Conservative and Unionist party supporting website. If we're not about protecting the Union, what are we about?

The answer to this perceived unfairness is fairly obvious - as others have argued above, give power back to the counties. There are no "English issues" in the sense that there are Welsh or Scottish issues -
Posted by: E Gadsby | April 24, 2008 at
13:10 "

Well you'd better go and read a bit of history! It was the Tories of the day in 1706 and 1707 who were generally sceptical or anti the idea of union. Which is why the English government of the day, in league with the Scottish government, ruthlessly bounced the whole thing through the English Parliament with virtually no discussion, carefully sidelining English protests in the process.

All this discussion of counties is irrelevant. Yes, counties and boroughs are important to England. No,they do not and never have been in any way the equivalent of a national government.
Scotland was given a parliament and government specifically as a nation. England will accept nothing less.

"There are no "English issues" in the sense that there are Welsh or Scottish issues "
- Utter tripe. There are plenty of English issues. Your comment reveals an anti English mindset. At the least you do not accept that we should exist politically . An absolute classic of what can only be described as the blank bias of the British political class towards the England and the English .

And a very good demonstration of why England urgently needs her own parliament.

The Scots and the Welsh elect their own members of their national forums, and so should the English. If English MPs will not represent the English voters let us rid ourselves of them. A new English parliament with elected English MEngPs would make a British parliament unecessary and a Federal body of 85% English members with 15% assorted N.Irish, Welsh and Scottish representatives restricted to federal matters would seem equitable. Problem solved.

Have to say Rifkinds comments regarding the snp are wrong. The snp mps already do not vote on english only matters.

Many of the comments above, show an ignorance of why devolution has happened in scotland. Devolution was the result of England being far bigger than scotland and wales and dominating the uk parliament. A parliament that is very centralised. If england wanted one thing and scotland and wales wanted something else, everyone did what england wanted.

To a large extent duing the tory rule in the 80s and 90s there was no real democracy in scotland, with no democratic accountability. No matter how poor the tory party were seen to be by the public they could not be removed from office. The tory party were largely seen as an english party (rightly or wrongly).

If u take education. In the 80s, major education reforms took place both in scotland and england. These reforms were different as the 2 countries had different education systems. So england votes tory, and the tories imposed a different education policy in scotland to that of england depsite being rejected at the polls in scotland.

Even if u take a small issue like national parks. Both the tories and labour supported national parks. However the tories decided in power that they should only be for england. So we had a situation where both countries voted for 2 different parties with the same policy. But the party voted into power in england (and thus the uk) decided that they should not be brought in, in scotland.

The big problem, is the tories did all they could to stop devolution, despite overwhelming support for this policy. As such they have not come up with a policy that is fair to england. The lib dems wanted regionalisation of england but england does not appear to want that.

English votes on english matters, while appearing attractive is actually much more complicated. Firstly labour made a mess of devolution giving different powers to different devolved areas.

To bring this policy in with regard to scotland 3 things need to be considered.
1)more power needs to be devolved to scottish parliament (this is going to happen anyway). Currently there is a muddle with bits of policy at westminster and bits devolved. eg trains. Trains are devolved to some extent but not track and its regulation.
2)scrap barnett. Money always causes problems. The scottish government would gladly support fiscal autonomy for scotland, so now would be a good time for the tories to support this policy. This would mean scotland would raise its own taxes and give westminster money for shared services ie defence.
3)u effectively create an english parliament within westminster using the same mps. No need for a new body, just allow the mps to double up as english mps and uk ones. Time would be set aside for for uk matters. And a first minister would run engish matters.

Personally i would go one step further and have Westminster the english parliament and have a president for the uk that would deal with uk matters like currency, foreign, defence and european policy, with everything else largely devolved.

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