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David Maclean MP protests at the "second-class" status of MPs for English seats

Macleandavid David Maclean MP during the Queen's Speech debate: "I am disappointed—this has been commented on already, but it is my turn to say so, too—that there is nothing in the Queen’s Speech to deal with the constitutional outrage we face in the House whereby there are two classes of MP. It is not good enough for some Government Members to say that if Tory policies were enacted, there would be a second class of MP—we have that already, and it is called the Members who sit for England, whether they are Tory, Labour or Liberal. We are second-class citizens in this House. We have no say on Scottish matters—maybe we do not want to have a say on Scottish matters—yet Members from Scotland can participate in today’s debate and vote through measures that affect my constituents in England but do not affect their constituents in Scotland. This Parliament is unbalanced, because all of us in this Chamber should work under the principle of equal pain.

If I vote through higher taxes, I should face my constituents, who can complain about it. If Members from Scotland vote through higher taxes in England, however, they do not have to face their constituents in Scotland... Members from Scotland can vote through measures in England on tuition fees or health reforms that do not apply in their own country. When they go back to their constituents, they do not have to explain or justify one iota why they have imposed penalties on people in Cumbria or London, and they are getting off scot-free... My constituents have no say on health care at Raigmore hospital in Inverness or on what goes on in Dumfries and Galloway, but, by God, they are paying for it. The hon. Member for Dumfries and Galloway (Mr. Brown) and the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Mr. Kennedy) can determine health care in my constituency and that of the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Michael Connarty). They can determine the level of tuition fees for our constituents in England, but we have no say on those matters in Scotland.  I do not want to have a say on Scottish matters, which are up to the Scottish Parliament, but it is therefore utterly unfair for Scottish Members of Parliament to come here with additional rights to dictate terms and conditions on taxes to my constituents that they do not have to suffer themselves.

...In this House, where we should all be equal, Scottish Members of Parliament are using their unequal privileges... We are not equal in this House, because the hon. Gentleman has infinitely more rights than me—he can impose things on my constituents, which I cannot do to his. I think that I have made that point about Scotland, to which we will need to return again and again until we rebalance this House of Commons with equal rights for everyone.

Before someone says that I am in an unholy alliance with the nationalists, I must say that I despise, in the nicest possible way, what the nationalists stand for—I despise nationalism. I respect the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson), as I respect all other hon. Members, but I despise nationalism and separatism. Scotland and the Government are going down a very rocky route, which will lead to the disintegration of the United Kingdom."

Source: Hansard.


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