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Harriett Baldwin demands to know when the Government intends tackling the West Lothian Question

By Jonathan Isaby

Harriett Baldwin The fact that Scotttish and Welsh MPs can still vote on matters pertaining to English health, education etc, whilst the devolved bodies in Edinburgh and Cardiff have exclusive responsibility for those matters in their jurisdictions riles a considerable number of Tory MPs, especially the 2010 intake.

And at Scotland Office questions yesterday, West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin sought an answer from the Government as to what progress there had been on the establishment of a commission to examine the so-called West Lothian Question.

Scotland Office Minister David Mundell replied:

"The Secretary of State and I have regular discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister on various issues, including those concerning the constitution. The Government remain committed to establishing a commission this year to consider the West Lothian question."

There then followed this further exchange on the matter, which frankly failed to shed a great deal of light on the Government's intended timetable:

Harriett Baldwin: The Deputy Prime Minister told us that the commission would be established by the end of 2010, then the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mark Harper), told us that it would be established in the new year. Does the Minister know on what date in 2011 the commission will be established?

David Mundell: I am not able to give my hon. Friend an exact date, but as she will know, it is a commitment of the coalition Government to proceed with the commission, and I am sure announcements will be made shortly.

This is an issue which Harriett Baldwin has been pursuing for a while. Click here to read out account of the debate on her private member's bill seeking to right the wrongs inflicted on England by Labour's devolution settlement.


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