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Sounds good to me. The only thing I don't like is giving each parliament the power to set immigration controls - how would you police this? Also, the idea of restricting residency seems to go against the whole idea of a United Kingdom. But on the whole this is one of the more sensible contributions to this long running debate.

Roy Gillson

Wouldn't it be better to have the English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish MP's in the UK parliament sit as regional parliaments for the nationally devolved issues and as a whole for the UK? This cuts much more cost, since you only pay for one lot of politicians, not two.

The UK parliament could progress to the Scottish, Welsh and Irish assembly buildings 10%, 5% and 2% of the time to get away from the "Englishness" of the UK parliament.

Janice Small

Yes, agree with this in broad principle. However, immigration needs to be a national issue otherwise if Scotland were to be more lenient on immigration numbers, that system could be used by immigrants to gain entry into England if we had tighter controls. Who polices the borders?

While we are having a referendum on a federal parliament we should also be questionning our role in the EU and vote on whether we want to be part of a federal Europe or as a trading nation member.

Matthew Scott

Not a bad idea, but while abolishing the salaries of Celtic MPs, with this policy would you not be creating dozens of new ministers, each requiring a department, and ministerial salary?


An excellent policy. I would probably prefer to keep the UK Parliament in the Commons and put the English one in the Lords. That way the English premier could be called the Lord Chamberlain or something (and a whole load of other fine titles could be redeployed) to avoid confusion with the Prime Minister of England, as the UK Prime Minister is very commonly known, especially abroad. Also, this way the English Law Lords could stay in the Chamber and the tradition of constitutional evolution would be maintained.

Mark Wadsworth

YES, with reservations.

Did Dr Jonathan Munday read my 100 Policy suggesting that the HL (read "UK parliament") be appointed by local councillors. Plenty of respondents didn't like the idea of "politicians appointed by politicians" and the idea (as brilliant as it was) was shot down in flames.

The tax bit is actually much simpler than you think. Tax on profits should be where the profits are made (as is already largely the case under double tax agreements) so someone who lives in E and works in W pays income tax in W.

I'm with Meatloaf on the idea of a common immigration policy for the island of Great Britain (saving on border police, nigh unenforceable).

I am dubious on the idea of a "cohesion fund"; would we net off the amounts that W and NI get from the EU?; the SNP maintain that S could be fiscally independent anyway; NI can look to RoI for money and given the mobility of capital and labour, it should not be too difficult for W to catch up anyway.

Simon Coote

What a dog's breakfast! Conservative i may be, but unionist- definetely not! The break-up of the UK started when the devolved bodies were set up under Blair's first term. Anyway, have we English EVER been consulted as to whether we wish to continue the union?

Yet Another Anon

Yes, although I would favour each national parliament to be a kind of unity of lower bodies - Elected county and Regional bodies could have far more powers and come together to decide English Law, Scottish, Law, Welsh Law and Ulster Law - also if it was to be fully elected bodies what would be the purpose of changing the way that the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments would be elected to FPTP, surely this would probably leave Scotland and Wales with a semi-permanent Labour majority.

If the House of Lords were abolished and the number of MP's reduced to a third of what it is now with external appointments of members of business, churches, police and military to Select Committees bringing in outside expertise.


@Meatloaf and Janice
I would police it with identity cards and not bother with policing the borders. No one's going to come if they don't get free housing, health care, education and welfare benefits. It doesn't matter if Scotland physically lets them in and they come south because they get nothing when they're here.
That is the other way to do it but it means disbanding the current parliaments, which will further inflame Scotland. Also the Scots parliament would have only 59 members and the Welsh 36 and this would leave a lot of very unhappy unemployed celtic placemen to stir up trouble and resentment. I think the national parliaments should be able to decide how big they are for themselves. I envisage all the English parliament Mps going through to the UK parliament to be joined by 59 and 36 reps from the Celtic parliament on a party shares basis. Also a bottom up approach makes the National parliaments more important and higher status than the Federal.

Not in England it will just bring the existing ministries under English control. How they manage in the other countries will be a matter for them.

@Mark Wadsworth
A cohesion fund evens out GDP between the four nations. I agree it should be phased out over time but it would cause immense difficulties esp in Scotland to phase out the Barnett formula overnight

@Simon Coote
Read it again! I am proposing a border referendum to see whether we wish to continue as a country together first.

@Yet another anon
I think we should consider with representative MPs Have you met any local councillors I dont think we want them deciding real policy any time this century!
Bringing in life peers as experts on select committees is an excellent idea and way to use the experience of amny of them. I am certainly not proposing to abolish the peerage. I want one too badly!!

Jon Gale

No! No! No! No! No! No! No!

The foundation stone of conservatism is that we conserve things - and favour evolutionary, organic change not radical drastic transformations (particularly to the constitution). This would totally change the entire political system that has developed over centuries - the lower chamber, the upper chamber, the prime minister, revision by a second chamber, being a unitary state, the role of the Speaker(s) (deciding who would go to the UK parliament will make it a partisan prize), referendums on all UK treaties (not workable), political parties, party leadership, conventions beyound counting.

And having a Cohesion fund just recreates the Barnett Formula - except probably even worse.

Separate immigration? Identity cards? National Parliaments deciding their own size?

Just because devolution has buggered things up with the West Lothian Question doesn't mean we should bugger everything else up to match!


@Jon Gale
The foundation stone of conservatism is that we support England , a nation that is strong and prosperous and free.

Issues of immigration and the cohesion fund are optional bolt-ons to the central idea. I don't want to waste the idea in peripheral detail.

Yet Another Anon

I would police it with identity cards and not bother with policing the borders. No one's going to come if they don't get free housing, health care, education and welfare benefits.
A National Identity Database is the main thing along with CCTV cameras, mostly people coming to this country are paying more in taxes than they are getting in benefits, they are far harder working and expect less than the indigenous community in the main, there is a major problem with security though and there needs to be a strong armed ruthless border police & security force to deter and stop by fatal means where neccessary gangsters and terrorists from entering the country.

Yet Another Anon

Bringing in life peers as experts on select committees is an excellent idea and way to use the experience of amny of them.
I didn't mean Life Peers mostly who are cronies of one person I mean't serving military men and policemen, members of the Intelligence Services, the CBI, Church ministers being allowed onto Select Committees to review bills and develop reports - the whole House of Lords should be done away with, Westminster should be sold to be run as a private museum and a new smaller building built in a more Central Location in the UK, higher above sea level and perhaps with stronger security features and facilities for remote voting by MP's and videoconferencing so that MP's away in their constituencies on or fact finding missions and ministers at overseas meetings can still while there participate in major parliamentary activities.

Jon Gale


I accept that immigration and cohesion fund, etc are "extras" but it is really the central idea of abolishing the upper chamber and have a federal UK that I am opposed to. It changes our political system beyond recognition.

Oliver Henry Cooper

For all intents and purposes, this policy would effect the break-up of the United Kingdom. As it would be unelected, the confederal parliament would be considered to be undemocratic, leaving the subnational bodies as the only democratically-legitimised institutions. Hence, in any disagreement over its few competences (defence and foreign policy), the subnational entities would hold the upper hand in public opinion, leading to an inevitable schism and secession.

Simon Coote

Jonathan, i got your point, but i still think your plans are a complete 'dog's breakfast'! A 'four-way' border referendum! That'll keep Peter Snow's swingometer on the go during referendum night! You're swimming against the tide of public opinion ( especially in Scotland and England- recent opinion polls about independence)- but at least you've had a go at trying to fix Labour's asymetrical devolutional debacle.

Mark Wadsworth

Oliver, re "eventual schism and sescession", I thought that was the whole point, this policy is a gentle first step down that road. Or do you want England to be governed by the likes of Brown, Browne, Darling, Reid and, to be fair, Blair, Cameron, Campbell, Fox, Rifkind and so on for ever more?

Mark Wadsworth

Oliver "As it would be unelected, the confederal parliament would be considered to be undemocratic"

..and the current House of Lords? I mean I love tradition and I have nothing even against hereditaries, but members of UK parliament would be elected, they'd be a selection of MSPs, MAs, English MPs and so on. Yes, there would be jostling to get on the list to serve in both Parliaments but so what? That's what politicians seem to do all day anyway. Apart from Frank Field.

Mark Wadsworth

Simon Coote, you have posted twice, still not clear to me whether you are in favour of gradual separation of UK into four separate countries or not. If there were referenda, and that only seems appropriate given the gravity of the suggestion, and people vote against (which I think is unlikely) then so what, then at least we could scrap Celtic assemblies and start again.

Presumably, for e.g. W to remain part of E&W, both W and E would have to vote in favour.


Mark Wadsorth @ 03:05pm

I wonder if you've really thought through the implications of what you're saying.

First of all, England isn't "ruled" by Cameron, Campbell, Fox or Rifkind because they are all opposition MPs and opposition MPs do not form the government.

Secondly, Rifkind and Fox aren't "Scottish MPs", they sit for seats in England (for a similar situation see, for example, the English Mark Lazarowicz who sits for a seat in Edinburgh, or Shona Robison, the Redcar native who sits for the SNP in Dundee).

Do you also consider David Cameron to be a Scot? He might have a Scottish sounding name but so do many English people and as far as I am aware he was born in Oxfordshire and sits for an English seat. He doesn't have much of a broad Glaswegian accent either.

What you seem to be proposing is that anyone with a hint of Scottish ancestry should be denied the right to sit in Parliament in England, regardless of whether they were born in England, their parents were born in England, or if they moved to England eighteen years beforehand. Seems a little strict to me. Do you also favour stripping Khalid Mahmood of his seat because his father was born abroad, or Michael Portillo because his father was Spanish? Or does your strict racial purity test only apply to those with Scottish connections? Do you not think the UK would face international condemnation and sanctions for denying parts of democratic life to certain people based on their racial origin?

The funny thing is, the Campaign for an English Parliament says that an Englishman is anyone who appears on the voter roll in England. Some people here certainly don't seem to agree.

Let me also declare my interest before anyone asks. I'm English!


@Mark Wadsworth
Your cynicism is one step ahead of mine. I regard this as a fair and equitable constitutional response, rebalancing the constitution after Blair's devolution mistakes, that treats with and accepts the heightened national sentiments in the the four parts of the UK, giving the maximum amount of freedom whilst respecting the value of an United Kingdom as an international face.

If the compromise doesn't hold or if the border poll shows that nationalism is already too far advanced, then it provides a template for the break up of the UK.

I dont think that there is any real public will to dismember the UK, IF the current unfairness is addressed. The longer it takes for the political class to address the unfairness the more difficult they will find it to meet the concerns increasingly expressed.

Mark Wadsworth

Meatloaf, perhaps I was being flippant, I never said English MPs would have to be born in England or pass some English ethnic test, that would be a plain stupid rule.

I was just pointing out that there is a pre-ponderance of Scottish MPs on Labour's front benches (and in the interests of fairness, mentioned a few Scottish names from the opposition) who have no interest at all in England's wellbeing. And this throws up all the constitutional issues on EVFEL of which I am thoroughly in favour, Dr JM's suggestion is a perfectly satisfactory solution to this.

Conversely, it seemed to me that the majority of Lady Thatcher's cabinet was either called Norman or was Jewish. This raised no constitutional issues whatsoever, it was just one of those quirks of history.


And there would also be cost savings from abolishing 'indirectly elected' regional assemblies I presume.

David Belchamber

Mark Wadsworth @ 4.56:

"I was just pointing out that there is a pre-ponderance of Scottish MPs on Labour's front benches".

Mark, to be a bit pedantic we must always make clear that it is MPs from Scotish constituencies sitting in the HoC that we now object to, not the fact that they are Scots.

There is no doubt that something has to be done to clear up the mess left by Blair's ill-thought out devolutionary process, if only in the interests of equity where England is concerned.

Jonathan's policy has a lot going for it, though some of the thinking in other posts might cause him to tweak it here and there.

Whatever is finally proposed should be put to the country in a referendum, as suggested, together with a vote on our membership of the EU.


My response in more depth.

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