Some replies to all your blog comments

I will ask the technicians to look at the configuration of the system to help you all read it easily.

An English Parliament.

I am surprised at how many want a seperate English Parliament. That means more politicians, more advisers, more bureucrats, and many more bills for taxpayers to pay. You are already paying for English MPs at Westminster. Surely the sensible answer is to make us MPs do both jobs for our money – discussing and voting on English issues at Westminster a couple of days a week, and Union matters for another couple of days a week. If Scotland and Wales were sensible they would make their MPs work harder, by asking them to do what needs doing in the devolved assemblies when the English MPs are using Westminster as the correct home of the English Parliament. There is no need for different people to staff the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly. Whilst we are at it, it would also be a good idea to cut the number of MPs. The USA has fewer Senators and Congressmen and women than we have MPs, and they staff two Chambers of a sovereign legislature for a much larger country.

??Can you trust the Conservatives on the EU?

There is no pleasing some people. The Conservative party was whipped to vote against the Nice Treaty. It was whipped to vote against the Amsterdam treaty. It was whipped to vote for??a crucial amendment to the 1972 European Communities Act allowing us to pick and choose which laws we will accept from Brussels. It is against both the Euro and the Constitution in principle.

The disagreement with UKIP comes down to two simple issues. Firstly do you think it helps or hinders the cause of getting back powers to govern ourselves to have UKIP trying to take Conservative votes away, making it more likely Lib Dem or Labour federalists will be elected to Parliament? The second question is, does it make more sense to renegotiate our position with the EU first before asking the people if they like the revised package, or to pull out unilaterally, only then to have to try to negotiate a set of arrangements over everything from the environment to trade with former partners who have no reason to negotiate positively with us? We are much more likely to get a??good deal if Brussels sees there is a chance the UK voters may vote in a?? referendum to stay in if the package makes sense. The UK electorate would be in charge??in such a process, as the decision would be made by referendum.

??

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24 Comments

  1. Kit
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    An English Parliament – plain silly idea but it is the only chance Iain Dale has of becoming a MP. We should be reducing the number of MP's – 500 would be a good start.

    As for the EU. I believe they need us more than we need them. Open ourselves up fully to free trade with all nations and we would thrive. It would do wonders for the environment too.

  2. Bill
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    John, at the moment Europe is more important to me than the English parliament, although I do have some thoughts about it. Which side would win if there were a referendum tomorrow on whether or not to pull out of the EU? I'd like to think the "outers" would win. As an "outer" I don't trust the Conservatives to follow the path you define in your last paragraph. Pragmatism will prevail and it is quite clear that ourselves alone against all the other members would never result in the kind of membership agreement with which you tempt us. I have no objection to a "common market" with common standards. I see no value in the EU or its institutions as it stands. How much value does our market have to the EU? How easily could we create markets with the rest of the world? It seems to me that if the EU wants to do business with us on the outside, it will find a way of doing so. Its political institutions need to undergo some radical reformation before I would be happy being classed as a citiczen of Europe. I'm 50 this year. I've just sent off for a photo-licence, I needed to do this. I've put off doing it because of the European flag on it. You (politicians that is) are trying to make me into something that I am not – a citizen of the EU. Please stop!

  3. Ken Adams
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Happy New Year Mr Redwood, I agree with your comments on the Scottish Parliament and Welsh assembly, do you think however that the Scots and the Welsh would be happy at losing their own parliaments. Is it ever likely to happen would a Conservative administration introduce these cost saving and equalising measures.

    Was not the Conservative party also whipped to force through the Maastricht treaty, did not a Conservative administration introduce the 1972 European Communities Act in the first place, did not the Conservative party also introduce the Single European Act. I could argue that Tony Blair first stood on platform of leaving the EU, but that has not prevented him agreeing to further encroachments on our sovereignty or signing the EU Constitution, which he initially stated he was against. We really do want more than words at this stage, if we are to trust a Conservative administration again would not that trust be misplaced again.

    This is a personal view, I am not a member of UKIP, I just want to see a situation where the representatives we elect to our parliament are the only ones who make our laws. I want a British government elected by the British people to have the power to decide what is the best for Britian and the British people without having to consider the rules and regulations introduced by people we have not elected, or we have demised. As it stands at the moment every new British government if forced to accept in full the EU agreements negotiated by a previous administration, or break an EU agreement.

  4. Tom Paine
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    There is no reason why an English Parliament need involve more politicians. It should be introduced as part of a comprehensive reform to restore balance (nay, justice) to the UK's constitution. There are many ways this could be done, just one of which I have outlined here.

  5. Toque
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    "There is no need for different people to staff the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly."

    Dual-mandate MPs may have been a sensible proposal back in the 90s when the Conservatives refused to participate in the Scottish Constitutional Convention. However, the opportunity for that has passed. Are you proposing to abolish the Scottish Parliament and repeal 'the settled will of the Scottish people'? Just how are the Tories (and UKIP for they propose this too) going to convince the Scots to do this? Good luck to you, personally I think that you are living in some sort of fantasy land.

    There's only one answer to the the WLQ and that's an English parliament.

  6. Tally
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    "You are already paying for English MPs at Westminster" so why is there no policies for England?
    Why do you all go out of your way to avoid even saying the word "England".Why is there no English dimension to politics? The bbc will not even mention England on the bloody weather forecast.
    please explain what England gets out of this united kingdom? why are the conservatives sitting on un elected regional assemblies? why must England be abolished for the sake of the eu?
    The longer these questions go unanswered by the main stream parties the BNP will take up the slack.

  7. Terry Heath
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    If anyone can get the Scots and Welsh to dissolve their Parliament/Assembly then I'd vote for them, but it's not going to happen.

    We urgently need to create a level playing field and the only way to do that is either…

    a) reverse the devolution process to pre-1998 levels;
    untenable (see above)

    b) devolve power to the County Councils (or Regional Assemblies);
    demonstrably unpopular, (see NE Referendum)

    c) allow only English MPs to vote on English matters
    why should 85% of the electorate put up with a bugger's muddle, part time legislature, when minority nations have full time ones? Why should Scots and Welsh MPs put up with being excluded from 85% of the matters put before them? Could a Welsh or Scots MP ever be PM or even sit in cabinet?

    d) create a Parliament for England that matches the powers held by Hollyrood.
    No one could argue against the fairness of this proposal, it would be a vote winner (68% in favour) and it would restore the constitutional balance.

    The only objection I ever hear is one of cost. Well, in my humble opinion, any other alternative to 'one man one vote' is an expense I'm not prepared to bear!

  8. Ed Abrams
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    John

    What a fool you really are, thank god you didn't win the leadership contest that you went for. An English parliament is the right and proper way for the people of England to be represented. Typical TORY answer is bury their heads in the sand and hope and pray that this question will go away. Well it won't, parties like yours are on the way out. Unionist parties don't own politics, you don't have a devine right, what was right yesterday may not be right today. Politics has changed, it always moves and Unionist base ideals are of yesterday.

    The only way that the people of England can be truly represented is by having our own parliament, it's about culture, identity, tradition, it's also about the future and giving our children a vision.

    Britain is dead ( thank god ) – England and her people are waking up to a new sense of identity, national pride and vision. Let the lion roar for we have cast of the chains of unionism at last.

    Join the ban Mr Redwood or be like 99% of the other politicans in Westminster – Out-of-touch, missing the boat and not representing their people

    Ed Abrams

    JUSTICE FOR ENGLAND.com

  9. John
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    John

    The " cost and more layers of beaurocrats " argument re an English parliament is irrelevant .

    Firstly , were it true we would still on basic democratic grounds need an EP – if its OK for the Scottish nation then its OK for the English nation .

    Secondly , it is not true . Something like 80% of the work of the British parliament would be decanted to the EP and with it pro rata the civil servants , buildings , finance etc . The British government , particularly under Brown , leaks money from every aperture . When it is not leaking it , it is spraying it . It would need an only moderately effective English administration to do a lot better . In fact an English government , shorn of its clouds of Britishness which befogg the mind , would be a lot sharper than any thing we have had for years .
    ( We would still be British of course , at one remove – just as in Scotland ! )
    Also consider – it is likely that regional governments will be abolished . The cost of these is effectively secret and the available figures are well out of date and almost certainly fixed anyway . There's the money for an EP and plenty left over .

    You say
    " when the English MPs are using Westminster as the correct home of the English Parliament. "

    I worry at this phrasing . You appear to be under the impression that the British parliament at Westminster is , in some way , an English parliament . It is emphatically NOT . The British parliament was set up by the Article 111 of the Act of Union 1707 thus :

    Article 3 " That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be Represented by one and the same Parliament, to be stiled the Parliament of Great Britain. "

    That was after the closing down of the old English and Scottish parliaments . I trust that when you use the wording "English MP's using Westminster " your intention is that this is shorthand for "those MP's for English constituencies in the British parliament . " Perhaps you could reassure us on this matter since , sadly , many British MP's , even Conservative ones , can be noticeably confused on this point .

  10. eleanor justice
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    England must have a Parliament the powers that be want England divided up into regions or"MINI"Parliaments indeed they are in place now,will the Conservatives let this happen?well they have up to now,shame on you all.Is there not a Patriot among you?

  11. Don Beadle
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    It is not a sufficient solution to the English question to have Westminster English MPs discussing and voting on English matters while the legislation they would be discussing is formulated and administered by non English ministers or English ministers who have to obtain the approval of a Scottish Chancellor of the Exchequer and a cabinet in which there are plenty of Scots but no minister charged with representing English interests.
    Any "Westminster Solution" must include an English Executive elected by English MPs with devolved powers equivalent to those given to the Scottish Parliament and Executive.When will the Conservative Party face up to the urgent need to find a sensible solution. The Union is being put into grave danger while all parties have their heads in the sand on this vital question.

  12. Ian Campbell
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Sorry John but having an English Parliament does not necessarily mean more MPs – it depends entirely on whether existing MPs are willing to be made redudant or not as part of the rationalisation! I am sure you have already worked all this out and are simply repeating the Party line but we need to get away from stereotyped thinking.
    We could clearly have an English Parliament, with fewer MPs if we want to, in place of the existing House of Commons (using the same building = no extra cost). Even if we kept the same number of English constituencies there would still be fewer MPs at Westminster since MPs from the other nations would no longer be there but we could also take the opportunity to reduce the number of English ones as well- to say 350 or 400? Is this impossible?? If so why?
    Bills passed by a devolved English Parliament would not have to be referred to the House of Lords (as Scottish domestic legisation is not). Not only is this one tier of government less for 80% of present legislative business but it also means that the House of Lords could be abolished (the government is already taking away the Law Lords to form a new Supreme Court as you know) and replaced by a single-chamber British Parliament with say 250 members or less. Initially at least the same building could be used. So no extra cost. Fewer politicians.
    We could also, without going about 250, solve another anachronism by inviting all the remaining British colonies, dependencies etc to apply for union with Britain , sending their representatives to the British Parliament (still keeping within 250 members). This I think was proposed by Tony Benn years ago.
    Thus we could have fewer politicians, and one tier less of government, while solving several constitutional conundrums at once.
    What most of us can't understand is why the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties all decline to offer England the same deal as was offered to Scotland. This democratic deficit is now discrediting the Union to such an extent that more and more people in England are asking why we need the Union at all. We can't understand why so many MPs who represent English constituencies appear to care very little for England as opposed to the United Kingdom and fail to stand up for English interests when British or European matters are considered. Bearing mind the developments in Scotland and the possibility of an SNP-led administration in Edinburgh after May 2007, if the people of England and the people of Scotland lose faith in the Union – it is dead.
    We need all the three main parties to stop spouting their Party lines and to co-operate with the English Constitutional Convention (perhaps extending to a new British Constitutional Convention)to work out a new mutually acceptable constitutional settlement for the 21st century, with nothing barred from discussion – whether it is a new Union,a federal state or four/five independent states (as in Scandinavia).
    If we had a federal state, we could have an elected executive president outside Parliament (so that MPs would not longer depend on HMG and the whips for their preferment, tbus greatly increasing the independence of Parliament)while keeping the monarch as Head of State (on the chairman plus chief executive model). Both the English and British Parliaments would then have a lot more time to debate bills properly and get them right – and could start repealing a lot of unwanted legisation in their spare time.
    We need to have all these matters discussed OPENLY in a suitable forum instead of seeing them batted away into the long grass – before it is TOO LATE!

  13. Phoenix
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Good Lord John
    You worry about the cost of a few MPs?
    Siphon off those who will be in the English Parliament, leave the few that will service the UK, it should not need many as there will be no fiscal or domestic elements, those will be national responsibilities.
    There will be no Barnett formula and job shuffling over the border to administer and no propaganda machine to keep the English quiet. Should reduce current requirements by 75%, strangely enough that is probably most of the Scottish element anyway.
    If money is the criteria, why are we paying

  14. Ian Campbell
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Re an English Parliament, sorry to add more on this, but I don't think you are allowing, John, for the horrible shock that we had on discovering, quite recently, that our country, England, was on the brink of extinction.
    Although Prescott lost the vote in the North East in November 2004, the regional assemblies are still in place and a future Labour government will press ahead with a semi-federal Britain comprising eight or nine English regions plus Scotland, Wales & N Ireland and meanwhile continues to promote its regional agenda by stealth. While your Party would abolish the RAs you have failed to bring them crashing down, as you could, and so we are doubtful of your real intentions.
    The Labour government believes that it is necessary to sacrifice England in order to preserve the British state (and most conveniently its seats in Scotland). Now that they understand this, more and more people in England are saying that the price is too high, that we are first and foremost English, and that if the Scots wish to leave the Union, let them. Labour's asymmetric unfair and undemocratic devolution policy has made English nationalists of many of us who a few years ago would have called ourselves British. Our families come first, but our nation comes a close second.
    An English Parliament, constitutionally established, is clearly ESSENTIAl to protect England from a Labour-led British government. Your Party's policy of leaving it to the MPs from English constituencies to vote on English legislation at Westminsrer does not offer any guarantees for the future. Nor does it provide England with a 'voice' – England is not represented as such in the EU nor in the Council of the Isles, nor in sport (Caborn recently refused to support a bid from an Oxfordshire golf club to host an international women's tournament because he felt he could not oppose as a UK minister a bid backed by the Scottish Parliament and there are many similar examples). Your party would allow a Tory equivalent of John Reid to take the Home Office. You do not provide any 'First Minister' to speak for England (not even a Secretary of State so far as I can see). Your Party has recently rebranded itself as Scottish Conservatives, Welsh Conservatives and – Conservatives. What happened to the 'English' Conversatives? As Professor Starkey said, England is now the 'love that dare not speak its name'for your Party as well.Your leader even made a speech in Scotland attacking 'Little Englanders'. (It did him no good in Scotland, of course, and hardly commended him to the people of England.) He is now pushing 'British produce'. If you visit your local Tesco you will find lots of British produce, including 'British' Cox apples, because Tesco labels its produce Scottish, Welsh or British – as do most supermarkets. Tesco has now, reluctantly, started sticking labels on the UK wrapping for apples saying 'Produce of England'. But your Party did not press Tesco for any change. In other words, your Party too prefers to retain the Union at any cost and does not care what so-called 'Little Englanders' think. Pressed on this issue, they claim that an English Parliament would 'break up the Union' a view recently uttered by that authority on the Constitution, one T. Blair. They say that all the British nations would be 'diminished' if the Union broke up. Well, from the English point of view better to be slightly diminished than to be abolished. The English are in danger of becoming like the Poles in the 18th and 19th centuries – a people without a country. On the evidence before us, how can the English trust the Conservatives?? We can't because your Party just sails blithely on ignoring England – although you have, how many is it, just one seat in Scotland?
    The new home for newly enlightened English nationalists and disenchanted Conservatives is not UKIP but the English Democrats Party, although UKIP will do if there is no local EDP candidate in the next election. I will not be voting Tory again until your Party starts standing up for England.

  15. Derek
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Kit 31/12 do you think that the Scottish Parliament is also silly? What about the Welsh Assembly?

  16. Greg Laing
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Why would an English Parliament mean more poilticians and bureacrats? For a start we could get rid of all the `regional assemblies`. Let`s face it, hell will freeze over before the Welsh and Scots give up their assembly/parliament which leaves England alone with no dedicated political forum. The Tory policy on English votes on English laws creates more questions than it answers. Would a Scots MP ever be able to hold an English minesterial portfolio? Most of Scotland`s are devolved. What about the Lords, why should only English law be subject to scrutiny by peers from throughout the UK. Could a Scot ever become PM when many of their powers would be reserved elsewhere? Power without authority yet again. Why should English legislation, which currently takes up the vast bulk of parliamentary time, be shoehorned into a weekly slot? What would the non English MPs do , shuffle off like so many second class reprobates into the corner?

    The fact is that this Spring elections take place for the Scottish Parliament and according to opinion polls the SNP look set to give Labour a close run. The break up of the UK could be closer than we think, bending over backwards to save a less than happy union increasingly looks a vain hope.

  17. Len Welsh
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Have you never heard of workers being made redundant? An English Parliament would result in redundant MPs as a very large part of the business done by the British Parliament would be transferred to the New Parliament, taking into account the work already transferred to the Scots and Welsh, one would only need a vastly reduced UK Parliament to look after non – devolved matters, clearly the Welsh Assembly would need to be upgraded to a full Welsh Parliament like Scotland's. The proposals put forward in your post would not result in England having an Executive or a First Minister.

  18. Stephen Gash
    Posted January 3, 2007 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    The English have never been consulted, as a nation, about devolution. One area of England was given a referendum about regional assemblies, rejected the idea, so Labour's response was to impose them across the whole of England.

    The Conservative party started regions and gerrymandered the borders to suit its own electoral advantage. Labour then regerrymandered the regional borders to suit itself. Neither of these parties cares about the English. David Cameron gives every impression he would sell the north of England into slavery if it provided half a dozen Conservative MPs in his beloved Scotland.

    All three main parties at Westminster are anti-English

    Welshman Rt. Hon. John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister email quote:-" – there is no such nationality as English as laid down by various acts of Parliament and accession."

    Scotsman Charles Kennedy – to Scottish Liberal Democrats quote:- "In England regionalism is growing as never before, calling into question the idea of England itself."

    No self-respecting English person trusts or respects people like that in Westminster making decisions on their behalf.

    However, when calls for an English Parliament are raised in order to redress the dreadful democratic, social and cultural imbalances between England and the rest of the laugably named "United Kingdom" David Cameron's response was "I'll take on sour Little Englanders who wanted rid of Scotland".

    In other words, don't complain you are a pensioner in England who has to pay for your central heating while those in Scotland don't; don't complain about having to pay top-up fees in England while students in Scotland don't; don't complain about being denied life-saving drugs because you live in England, which are freely available on the "NHS" everywhere else; and don't complain about the growing list of disadvantages English people endure for the sake of the so-called Union.

    I suppose we should be grateful that Cameron actually calls us "Englanders" as we don't actually have the privilege of a nationality in Gordon Brown's "nations and regions of Britain".

    It is nigh impossible to register a company with "English" in its title at Companies House (in England), but very easy to call one "Irish", "Scottish" or "Welsh" and presumably "French".

    An English Parliament is the very least the English people should be provided with. Avoiding and suppressing debate about, let alone the desire for, an English Parliament has merely increased calls for English independence.

    The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties could not have done a better job in "souring" English attitudes to the Union if they had tried.

  19. Matt Clark
    Posted January 4, 2007 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I would like to see Scottish and Welsh MP's barred from voting on English only matters. If that means they have less to do and leaves them struggling to justify their own existence, then tough luck.

    One thing I do know is that if change isn't made soon, the UK will definitely break up. The English will not be treated as second class citizens and our allegiance to the union is NOT at any price. It's being severely tested and for many of us, myself included, it's already gone too far. I don't consider myself British anymore – I'm English. Please try and get this message through to David Cameron before his fascination with preserving the union at all costs means he goes the same way as recent Tory leaders. Perhaps this is one area he could learn from Tony Blair, who commented that there's no point having good ideas if you never get into power to put them into practice.

    The English didn't ask Labour to meddle with the UK constitution – it was their choice and they made sure it was done with their own political gain in mind. So if it's gone wrong and the union is being threatened as a result, we know at whose door to lay the blame.

    England NOT Britain!

  20. David Ford Lane
    Posted January 4, 2007 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    John, you are way off the mark on this one. The English people are starting to realise that they need their own parliament, how can MP's continue to support the current inequalities that exist within the UK at the expense of the people of England.
    Cost is a 'White Elephant' argument aimed at detracting and discrediting the English movement. Perhaps you should get in touch with the grass rooots in England and you will realise that we have had enough of our neighbours from hell and the government that seeks to dilute the English voice through the stealth introduction of regional assemblies. John I ask you, how can England be the only country in the UK and the EU without true representation, it is just not exceptable.

  21. tyke
    Posted January 5, 2007 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Surprised? Where have you been hiding out? Westminster, perhaps?

    Is this the same Party whose leader said the English were ignorant little Englanders who didn't show enough respect to Scotland? The same Party whose leader announced he had "a lot of Scottish blood flowing through these veins?" Why is that relevant? The Scots would rather stick pins in their eyes than vote for a Tory. Yet still they bend over backwards to beg to be elected. Have they no shame?

    Roll on Independence for England, so we can get some politicians with a backbone between them. The current bunch are way out of step with the rest of the country.

    May in London – Come one, come all. Celebrate the anniversary of the cursed Union in style. Make it a day they will never forget.

  22. Alfie the OK
    Posted January 5, 2007 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Re – English Parliament.
    Call yourself a democrat Mr Redwood? What an utter joke. You and the rest of the Westminster 650 should hang your heads.The current constitutional situation would put a Banana Republic to shame… is it any wonder that the general public hold politicians at Westminster in such contempt?

    If national democracy is good for Scotland, Wales and N.I. – then it's good enough for us, the English. We are supposed to be 'united' in a United Kingdom. It will only survive if EVERYONE is treated the same throughout the Union. The fact that the self delusional 'clever people' at Westminster who originally thought up this camel have messed it all up with their assymetric devolution is not anywhere near a valid excuse for denying DEMOCRACY to the English.

    My Sons will not be going to Uni' … they can't damn well afford it – they're English you see – so it'll be top ups all the way for them. And if they did go to Uni' – and chose a Scottish University then the Scottish Executive has brought in measures to effectively fine English students with extra charges to deter them from coming (everyone else including students from the EU can go there for free, obviously)…..

    And over the last year how many cases has there been of English women with breast cancer trying to get vital life saving drugs from their PCT. Obviously, these drugs are freely available to everyone in Scotland – for free. The same goes for bowel cancer testing, Altzheimer's and bone cancer drugs. In Scotland if you're ill – find a Chemist… In England? Better get yourself a Lawyer – you're going to need him.

    I live near the Welsh border Mr Redwood. Do you reckon I will be able to nip across to Wales after April to collect my free prescriptions? Not likely, Rhodri Morgan has vowed to stop 'health tourism' by the English. He is bringing in legislation via the Assembly to effect that commitment. It didn't stop the Royal Shropshire Hospital (in Shrewsbury, England) last year treating a Welsh woman with Herceptin paid for by the Welsh Assembly. Meanwhile IN THE NEXT BED, an English woman was denied the drugs on the basis of costs…. Makes you proud to be British don't it Mr Redwood?

    My Mum is 84 years old and lives in Sheffield. She's getting a bit frail and soon may have to go into residential care. After a lifetime of thrift, she'll have to sell the only thing she owns to pay for it – the house. Naturally, in Scotland, they can keep their homes to pass on to their children. The helpful Scottish Executive will pay for all residential fees of their Scottish aged. All this largesse is only achievable because of the good old Barnett Formula – paid for by English taxpayers. I notice by the way that good old David Cameron has committed even more money to Scotland in a desperate attempt to gain votes from north of the border.

    Perhaps the attitude at the Westminster Ivory Towers Palace is summed up by the first line in your round up "I am surprised at how many want a seperate English Parliament".
    Mr Redwood, do you think you just might be a tad out of touch mate? And how is it going to work when Brown takes over? The ultimate insult – a man in charge of us with absolutely no mandate from the English people. He'll be bringing in legislation on health, education, transport, planning ect – non of which will impact on his constituents…. You just couldn't make it up.

    In the last poll on the subject 63% of English people wanted an English Parliament. They are merely reflecting the outrage and frustration that is growing right now in the grassroots of England. And if you're 'surprised' at that, well I'm amazed. Any democrat worth his salt would SURELY think the current status quo was just appalling. The Tories have only very recently started to make noises about the totally bizarre EVOEL strategy. Shame on you all. It's unworkable and so is your 'solution'. The only way forward is a parliament for England – and politicians better start waking up right now to address it before the union goes completely pear shaped..

  23. Harriet Smith
    Posted January 6, 2007 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    I think Mr Redwood your implacable opposition to an English parliament is not allowing you to see the issue clearly at all.

    WHY would there be any extra bureaucrats, politicians, or expense by having an English Parliament? We are not asking for any more MPs, in fact we could reduce the office space of Welsh and Scottish MPs (as they return to their respective parliaments,) and cut down on the hot air generated at Westminster. The Lords is a shambles and has been so undermined through the use of patronage that it really has to go in its current format. There could be an honours system, but this would not confer legislating rights, but could allow certain specialists to be retained by advisory committees to assist a new structure for scrutinising committees, (going by the dogs breakfast of legislation that is currently getting through is badly in need of updating.)

    We can replace the Lords (and all their attendance allowances etc.) with a New Federal Upper Chamber, which met less frequently than the lower House, paid a pro-rated salary and concentrated on Federal issues and did a better job of moderating between the nations of the UK to minimise differences in public service provision.

    It would be alot cheaper than 9 unwanted EU controlled Regions, each with their mini Parliaments (no one complained about the cost of this, and all the attendant office space, bureaucrats and expense allowances for Brussels)the Tories are still propping them up, why when the Tories said they would withdraw from them?

    Democracy should not be judged simply on cost anyway. No one seemed to bat an eye lid at the obscene amount of money spent on the Scottish Parliament???? Wales's New Cultural Centre???

    Besides, the English already have the location for her Parliament – where it has always been at Westminster – so there is a cost saving for starters.

    No Mr Redwood, whether your idea is right or wrong it isn't for you or the Conservative party for that matter to decide. This is a matter for the people of England. The views are firming up. You know that 68% of a recent poll run by the Telegraph supported an English Parliament – wouldn't you like 68% of the electorate to vote Conservative??? Figures like that would transform the party for years to come.

    Ignoring the rights of the people of England is a big big mistake. It could well come to pass, that all three parties will lose support in England for failing to defend essential English interests – where will Unionism be then? No, the ONLY way to save the Union is to treat the English with respect, give the English the right to debate the subject. Back the English Constitutional Convention and urge the creation of a British Constitutional Convention to debate the wider Federal implications of what Labour has done. To ignore the subject, to stifle debate, or to rubbish the English because they want a Parliament is a dangerous path to tread. It says Tories aren't democrats they are in fact tolerant of undemocratic behaviour and in a world where people don't like their intelligence insulted, that is an uncomfortable place to be.

  24. Idetrorce
    Posted December 16, 2007 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    very interesting, but I don't agree with you
    Idetrorce

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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