Time to think of England

There is a new round of speculation over what additional powers will be granted to the Scottish Parliament assuming a victory for the Union in the forthcoming referendum. Some wish to see much more extensive revenue raising powers resting with the Scottish Parliament. They point out that at the moment the Scottish Parliament has the pleasure of spending the money and the Westminster Parliament the pain of raising it. All the main Westminster parties seem to be moving towards some version or other of devo max, probably what Mr Salmond wanted all along.

If this is true, it is time to think of England. The present system is unacceptable. Underemployed Scottish members of the Westminster Parliament come to debate the Union matters, but cannot contribute to health, education, local government or criminal justice in their country. They retain their vote and their voice over these matters in England. This lop sided devolution cannot survive a further major increase in powers of the Scottish Parliament.

The immediate need is for a rule which says Scottish MPs do not speak and vote on issues and in debates which the Speaker has identified as non Union matters. In purely English matters the same ruling should apply to Northern Ireland and Welsh MPs. If Parliament grants Scotland revenue raising powers, then Scottish MPs should be excluded from consideration of the devolved taxes being imposed or altered for England or the rest of the UK by the UK Parliament.

Many English nationalists want a separate English Parliament to mirror the Scottish one. I see the English Parliament as being at Westminster. Westminster is the sacred plot of English democracy, predating the Union Parliament. Westminster Hall is the scene of many important dramas in English as well as in Union history. The English Parliament should remain or be refashioned at Westminster. We do not need expensive new buildings with no traditions and history in the walls.

I also think a single person can do the job of representing their voters on English issues when we meet as the English parliament, and representing their voters also on Union matters when we meet as the Union Parliament. The last thing I think we need is more politicians and another very expensive Parliament. Let’s use what we have got more intelligently. Above all let’s make sure we now speak for England, as more devolved power goes to Scotland.

I made a speech yesterday about this in the Commons which I will post later today.

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123 Comments

  1. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, the solution you propose is the most practical and cost effective. England needs a voice and this will provide that without the (unnecessary) duplication of salaries and infrastructure that other devolved parliaments incur.

    Your solution does open the possibility of accusations of partiality from both sides unfortunately.

    I read a post elsewhere yesterday that Scotland contributes more tax per head than England (combined), is this correct (with or without oil)? Is Scotland a net contributor to the Union or a reciever?

    • Terry
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Scotland is the richest area outside London and the south east, yet it receives the highest public spend per capita.

      This isn’t right, if they’re part of the UK. They should contribute what they can and receive funding based upon what they need.

      The idea that areas should get back what they put in goes against every sense of justice and social responsibilty.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        The idea that one lot of people should live off the labours of others for evermore goes against natural justice. More to the point it is not even good for the recipients and discourages growth with the wrong incentives.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted June 6, 2014 at 7:42 am | Permalink

          But the problem with your ideal is that we are not all masters of our own destiny. For instance, those living in a National Park live under an administration whose primary responsibility is to the benefit of the nation, and local considerations come second.

  2. oldtimer
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Quite right. Political parties that ignore the obvious truth of what you say will deserve to be punished at the ballot box. The present arrangements are little more than a crude form of gerrymandering.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed and when Labour return in a few month I would expect rather more gerrymandering. But then was not the Libdems refusal to make the MP constituency boundaries fair not a form of gerrymandering too? Incompetence by Cameron too.

      Allowing the government to fix the rules for electing the next government (and indeed there own expenses, salary, appointments to the Lords/quangoes and tax rules) is clearly rather a problem. As honest MP with the interest of the country at heart seem to be rather rare in the government.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        I watched some of the build up to the Queen’s speech, there must have been several thousands of expensive state sector employees involved, numerous horses, guards, endless uniforms, carriages, jewellery, trumpeters, page boys, it was almost endless. Perhaps costing about £1oM to organise the theatricals. All to read a page of A4 with lots of coalition political vacuous catch phrases.

        She then deliver the excellent jokes.

        “An updated Charter for Budget Responsibility will be brought forward to ensure that future governments spend taxpayers’ money responsibly.”

        “My government will also continue to cut taxes in order to increase people’s financial security.”

        No wonder the page boy fainted.

        “Responsibly” Yea sure and “continue to cut taxes” this after 299+ increases and the IHT ratting.

        • alan jutson,
          Posted June 7, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic

          Thought the Plastic Bag comment was priceless.

          Of all of the troubles we have in this Country and the World, we get the Queen to talk about charging for plastic bags.

          We re-cycle ours to use as bin liners, so ours are not wasted but used for another task. if we did not use a carrier bag we would need to purchase a heavier duty plastic bin liner, so which is worse for the environment !!!!!

          • Hope
            Posted June 7, 2014 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

            Alan, I do exactly the same. It is a ridiculous idea. Paper bags could be used by shops at no extra charge to the public.

  3. formula57
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Certainly the hugely privileged position enjoyed by Scotland ought not to be denied to the other parts of the UK and it is an outrage that Parliament and various governments have permitted that. Does there not come a point, however, when devo-max is so maximized that one is left to wonder what remains of the purpose of any union? The next time there is a referendum in Scotland about leaving the Union, would there only be foreign affairs and defence matters left to be transfered?

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      The highly fictionalised and nationalistic Braveheart is what our historical relationship is based upon – the film one Oscars and is highly popular in America.

      The English must, therefore, compensate the Scottish.

    • Martin
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      It is not Scotland that has a “hugely privileged position” but the Scottish Labour due to the first past the post system used to elect Westminster MPs.

      Scotland could end up with a tax cutting parliament in Edinburgh (elected under PR) while Westminster ends up with a tax raising parliament in Westminster courtesy of Labour’s group of first part the post Scottish MPs.

      Identical individual votes in Scotland can lead to very different outcomes!

    • John Bracewell
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Whilst agreeing that the national affairs of England should be discussed and voted on by MPs for English constituencies as Mr Redwood states, you are correct about the progress of devolution in Scotland. The inevitable outcome of devolution is ultimately an Independent Scotland. So, why do our politicians not take the initiative and rearrange the idea of the Union, to define those matters which affect the whole of the Union (to be debated by all current MPs) and to separate out the things that only apply to the individual nations which would be dealt with in the Welsh, Northern Ireland and Scottish Parliaments and on separate days at Westminster for the English MPs to hold their own English Parliament. The same idea could work for the EU, if they defined what is truly EU wide and only had powers over those things (Trade mainly) and allowed those things that are for individual nations to legislate about (local matters, economy, currency, legal system, defence etc) to be dealt with by national Parliaments. The difference being, of course, the Westminster MPs can do something about the United Kingdom, they can do nothing about the EU since the majority of EU countries want a single country not an association of sovereign nation states.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Good points. That is why I believe it would be wise to grasp the nettle on this issue. We need root and branch reform of our system, I won’t call it democracy.

      At the same time, we need to look at the HoL and reform that body. I believe we should convert it into a Senate, with equal number of Senators / Lords & Ladies for each member of the Union, and elected by the people.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted June 6, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        If the election of Members to the House of Commons does not produce enough competent people for good governance than why should the election of yet more people to the House of Lords improve maters.

        I can see ways in which the House of Lords could be improved, but elections is not one of them.

  4. Roger Farmer
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Since the inception of the idea by Tam Dayall many years past it has been ignored by mainstream politicians. On the right because of a possible rose tinted view of the union and on the left because it would reduce drastically their powerbase in Westminster. The presence of Scottish MPs in Parliament dictating English matters has been a long time festering sore on democracy in England. Like the none implementation of the boundary commission report it highlights the pettiness of much in politics that has so disillusioned the electorate.
    Congratulations on waking up to this matter. I look forward to it’s rectification whether Scotland votes yes or no to devolution.

  5. Bryan
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    England has been ignored too long by our politicians, especially as the English vote is the only one which gives a majority to the Conservatives and the Scottish, Welsh and Irish voters give a majority to the other parties.

    Hereby a conundrum. If only English MP’s were to vote on English matters, and they in the main will be Conservatives, who will bring forward the Conservative manifesto pledges if the government is Labour?

    • Posted June 6, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      I may have missed someone else ask this question, but if England doesn’t justify a separate parliament, why does Scotland or Wales? Surely they could have Scottish matters discussed in Westminster by Scottish MPs acting in two capacities? If not, why not? Why is England a special, less worthy, case?

  6. Andyvan
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    The best solution is to grant England independence from Scotland, Wales and N Ireland. No Scottish MPs in Westminster, no more Gordon Browns wrecking our country, no sending our money north and west for them to squander. According to the EU independence from the UK would mean we were no longer a member so that would sort that problem as well. Repeal all EU influenced law the next day and we could become an English Switzerland (less mountains admittedly). Why can’t we have a vote? Oh, sorry, forgot that as English people we have no right to vote or criticize any other racial or ethnic group except in a politically approved manner, and, should we vote incorrectly, we would have to vote again until we got it right.

  7. The PrangWizard
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    A half-way house will not be satisfactory. England and the people of England deserve more respect than having to put up with some form of a cut-price solution; it may not require an entirely new building, but an English parliament must have it’s own structures and procedures that look and feel like that to anyone who views it and attends. We can’t have a situation where at some moment in time there is a exodus of non-eligible individuals form the existing Commons Chamber – that would correctly regarded as some form of joke – demeaning – sketch writers will have a field day. There must be exclusivity because without it there will be problems with conflict of interest and charges of it, and of course there must be a First Minister, that is to say a Prime Minister of England, and others entitled according to their responsibilities for England.

    Until an English parliament has MPs directly elected to it anything short must be regarded as interim.

  8. Peter Richmond
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Exactly so, Mr Redwood. And, as long as we remain part of the EU I wonder to what extent a subset of the same Westminster MPs could not also represent UK at the European level too. Why do we need another group of people for that body? Is the role of MEP really a full time job?

  9. JoolsB
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    The problem is John, you seem to be a lone voice amongst your colleagues, colleagues who need reminding that without England the Tories would not exist. I watched your speech in the commons yesterday and was disgusted by Cameron’s response which was to wholeheartedly back the need for fairer boundaries but to totally ignore your call for English representation. What an insult. What a vote loser.

    I was also sickened to hear Tory MP after Tory MP begging the Scots on England’s behalf to stay in this so called union. What right do they have to speak on behalf of England when they refuse to ask it? At the same time, not one of them referred to the English Question as you did or even the WLQ. Not one word of protest did they utter on what devo max for Scotland and Wales will mean to an already unrepresented and discriminated against England where the majority of their constituents reside. Do they care? Obviously not. The only MP to refer to your speech (after you had left the chamber) was Scots Lib Dum MP, Malcom Bruce and insultingly but not surprising his support only went so far as devolution ‘within’ England not to it. As for your Tory colleagues, not a peep. So there we have it, Labour and the Lib Dum’s plans, with the aid of their Scottish & Welsh MPs of course, are to split England up into regions and the Tories will stand by and do absolutely nothing. Contemptible!

    Back to your suggestion John, it is better than nothing but it should be for England to decide whether she wants a dedicated English Parliament along the same lines as the Scots and Welsh already enjoy. The extra cost is a red herring. The building is already there and a dedicated English Parliament would mean most of the 650 UK MPs would not be needed (isn’t that the real reason they oppose an English Parliament?) 100 UK MPs at most would be needed for the few remaining reserved matters. Who knows, as well as restoring long overdue democracy to England, it might even save money!

    All of this is hypothetical anyway as Cameron and the Tories to their shame have proved they are every bit as anti-English as Labour and the Lib Dums in their quest to deny England constitutional parity and fairness with the rest of their beloved union and obviously see England as nothing more than a milch cow and in the case of Labour and the Lib Dums, see their Scots & Welsh MPs as voting fodder to help them govern England.

    This insult to democracy is unsustainable.

  10. James Matthews
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The unseemly bidding war in which Labour, LibDems and now Conservatives are currently engaged, in their determination to ensure that the Scottish nationalists get a massive consolation prize when Scotland votes to remain in the Union, as it almost inevitably will, completely ignores the interests of the English (and, to a lesser extent, the Welsh and Northern Irish). Heads Salmond wins, tails we lose, so yes, there is an urgent need for an English Parliament.

    As to where it should be, I agree that Westminster would be best, but I know that many outside the southern half of England won’t. The important thing is that we have a parliament. Location is secondary.

    As to whether a single person should represent his constituents at both the National and UK levels, that is unacceptable for two reasons. The first is the need to restore electoral equality to the English. The Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish are not now going to accept such a an arrangement and an consequently neither should we. Cost should not determine democratic structure for the many, but not for the few. The second is the electoral system. The existing devolved institutions use a form of PR, and so should England. FPTP is profoundly undemocratic and, given the currently varied views of the electorate, no longer remotely defensible. The Redwood solution leaves FPTP in place, presumably because. like other Tories, he wants to cling to a system which in the past guaranteed a Conservative/Labour duopoly of government. It won’t (and shouldn’t) any more. Curiously, it now also greatly disadvantages the Tories, especially in England, but they don’t seem able to get their heads round that.

    The location of the English Parliament should be decided either by the (separately elected) Parliament itself, or by referendum.

  11. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    “Let’s use what we have got more intelligently.”

    This has always been my stance , partly because of the need to conserve money and partly to prevent the taking away of foundations that kept us in good sted.

    England , ; the union is being squeezed out. I ranted about this many years ago and was seen as eccentric , yet our present state of affairs represents the things I feared.
    It was only last week after being put down in my profession that someone said to me that I don’t have the right to an opinion as I am only this or only that. It is assumed that a rank determines the level of knowledge a person has acquired. Similar may happen if we don’t improve the image of ‘little England’

  12. Old Albion
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I’m grateful to you for speaking out on this issue John. It has for too long been ‘swept under the carpet’ by those at Westminster.
    The current system that ignores the existence of England, is un-democratic, unfair and insulting to the people of England.
    I agree Westminster should be the home of MP’s representing the whole of England. But we need to go further than you suggest. Even if Scotland stays in the Union, all Scottish constituency MP’s should be removed along with Welsh and N.Irish MP’s. The House of Commons should become the English parliament utilising the current English MP’s (though a reduction could be facilitated eventually)
    Scottish/Welsh and N.Irish affairs should be run entirely from their own parliaments, this would require a rise in status for the Welsh and N.I. assemblies at the same time as the creation of the English parliament.
    This suggestion would bring about equality for all four nations of the Union at zero cost, in fact some savings.
    The difficulty is how to look after all reserved affairs? My solution is radical but i believe workable. Scrap the ‘House of Lords’ creating a massive saving by the removal of over 800 peers and their salaries/expenses.
    Use the second chamber for the home of a ‘federal’ parliament made up of an equal number of representatives for each of the home nations. These (perhaps i should call them senators?) would deal with all reserved matters.
    It needs a brave approach to sort out the mess created by Blair’s devolution, but it cannot carry on as it is.
    Perhaps a small but significant start would be to insist on MP’s clearly speaking the words England/English when they are referring to us. Rather than the euphemisms currently employed by Westminster. ‘This country’ ‘Our country’ ‘Britain’ If you mean England, say England. For fifteen years now Westminster has hoped the English wouldn’t notice how marginalised we have become in this so called Union. I have news for Westminster, some of us have noticed and more notice every day.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      I have posted much the same as you below.

      I, like your good self, have very strong views on this matter and, wish to see England form a better democracy than the one that currently exists. This can only be done once the Socialists are removed from power.

      Do not get me wrong. I have very little truk with the Liberal Conservatives that currently run our country.

    • Posted June 5, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      If you set up full independent national parliaments for each home nation, any single second chamber controlling Defence and Foreign affairs has to have representation based on members from equal sized constituencies from all parts of the UK.

      Yes, that will give England an overwhelming majority but if the other home nations can’t accept that, the alternative of full independence is open to them, singly or collectively.

  13. Bill
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Excellent post. We are in the process of an extraordinary range of changes. Some are technological, many are social and a large number are political. They are all connected in ways that academics will enjoy untangling. The Britain of 2025 will be very different from the Britain of 1975. There are lots of changes I would like to see but one that would really gladden me would be to see the BBC having to compete with other news providers so that the air waves carry proper debate.

  14. Ashley Mooney
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Quite right! It also offers new possibilities to give responsibilities that would not see an elected house of Lords as a competitor to the various houses of Commons.

  15. a-tracy
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Yes and the elected Scottish MPs should vote on the devolved issues in Scotland and the country not asked to pay for a second set of Scottish MSPs. This to me was always about stuffing the English with more costs and the English aren’t getting a say in it. There should be no Devo Max deals if the Scots want to vote for Independence let them get on with it. I support better off together but doing sneaky underhand deals to convince a partner to stay in a business they don’t want to be a part of is an horrendous idea and won’t end well for England.

    Just what is the deal with the oil why do the Scots automatically assume it’s theirs someone told me its only the UKs because the UK Navy fought for the rights to it as its outside the automatic ownership zone. How much revenue is raised from it compared to free education, free prescriptions, new motorway roads, HS2 to connect them to Europe (why should England pay for that if they want separation?) Holyrood, new public buildings, upkeep of the road network in Scotland, provisions for schooling in the outlying areas of Scotland etc. We hear all the talk about the Scots being better off independent but that they want to stay in the EU which isn’t independent for them but how will it all slice up. I’m getting curious now.

  16. Iain Gill
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I think you are too tolerant of the unfair deal the English get.
    If the English don’t get their own parliament, then they should get their own days when only English MP’s are allowed into parliament. They should get their own committees. They should get their own ministers.

  17. Bert Young
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    This “give away” mentality in the run up to the Scottish vote is sheer madness . Of course we must maintain a reasonable balance between what is ours and what is theirs , but the present extent of the fear shown in the favours for Scotland is beyond reason . Devolution in the first place was wrong ; the only rationale left is for us to have Government England . I await details of your speech with great interest – I sincerely hope you stressed how important it is for us to take the lead and not to accept a back-seat position .

  18. Atlas
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Agreed, John. The West Lothian question must be settled.

    • Posted June 6, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      It must be settled, but equitably for England, not in a way that implies it’s less than Scotland.

  19. JimS
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Logically we could then get rid of MSPs and Welsh and NI assembly members too.

  20. David B. Wildgoose
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Your proposal politicises the role of Speaker of the House of Commons by giving the Speaker the right to decide who can vote, who can’t vote – and when.

    Furthermore, it is a procedural matter which means that any incoming Government minded to abolish this as an “inconvenience”, (e.g. Labour with a large Scottish and Welsh block vote), could just do so. As for precedent – just look at the mayhem Blair created by overriding our Constitution whenever the whim took him.

    Then there’s the issue of an English Executive – your proposal doesn’t provide one.

    Ultimately, the only solution is an English Parliament. I happen to agree that Westminster should retain that privilege so that only leaves the question of where to put the Union Parliament. Or, indeed, whether we should even bother. Why not just accept that Devolution (a.k.a. the “Road to Independence With No Exits”) has reached its logical end and assign Independence all around?

    Reply It does not politicise the Speaker and replicates what we already do for Scottish business.

  21. acorn
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    As far as the SNP is concerned, every spin of the roulette wheel, is a winner! If they flip a coin it will be heads they win, tails they won’t lose. Who made up the rules for this game?

    There is no Angel of Death clause in this deal. That is if you lose your bet, the Angel takes you out of the casino forever. These Scottish punters should have been told “there is no going back” to the old ways. You don’t get your stake back from the casino so you can play again next week.

    For a start the Barnet formula goes and Scotland gets the same expenditure per head as England; £8,500 instead of £10,200. The UK Continental shelf oil and gas revenue is apportioned by population until the end of time. (Add your own here …………). These upstarts have to feel the pain of getting it wrong, just like a Judge would say when he passes sentence.

    Yes to an English parliament and yes to a Westminster home for it. It is still a good tourist attraction that needs upkeep. No to dual mandate MPs. I say that from local government experience. You get the same people turning up on Parish; District and County Councils. OK, nice if you can get it and you can boost your state pension by about thirty grand a year if you play your cards right. But it can get incestuous and it is not healthy for democracy and some planning applications.

  22. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    As I suspected the political establishment are assuming a NO vote is in fact a YES vote for DevoMax. Why ? This strikes me as undemocratic – surely that option should have been on the ballot or be put to a further referendum.

  23. Posted June 5, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Scottish (and Welsh & Northern Ireland) MPs should not be permitted to speak or vote at Westminster on any issues which have been devolved.
    For example, both Scotland and Wales have control over the local NHS, why should their MPs tell the English how NHS England is to be run?
    Labour, of course, would oppose such a change, as they would need their Scottish and Welsh MPs to provide them with a majority.
    I could also mean that the majority party at Westminster and the party of the Prime Minister at the time, would not necessary have a majority when discussing some English subjects, such as the NHS which could give rise to some interesting problems, such as the English MPs voting to provide something for England and the UK Chancellor refusing to pay.
    Nevertheless the problem will need to be resolved if Scotland does not vote for independence.

  24. Neil Craig
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I would like to see the rate of Corporation Tax be devolved. There is no tax so damaging to economic growth as Ireland’s 20 year 7% growth boom proved.

    This is sometimes argued as being against English interests because Scotland could undercut them but with English devolution (or regional such) they could do the same. This is what Labour, always keen on higher taxes, call the “race to the bottom” but if low CT is a good thing it is a race to economic sanity, which is a good thing. I think any libertarian minded person would think so.

    Apart form technical problems of 2 Parliaments in 1 building with the same members and 1 government, little discussed difference between a separate English Parliament (with a right but not duty of further devolvement to regions) is that the current body has an undemocratic electoral system while a new one, derived from the Scots/Welsh/NI example, would hgave proportional representation. While I can see why the monopoly parties are drawn to the former I am sure the people, were they to be asked would, as polls normally show, go 70:20 for PR.

  25. Dan H.
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    You know, there’s a quick and easy answer to this whole question. What you have is a Parliament for each region. In each region, an MP is elected for a set head of population, so less populous areas elect fewer MPs. When the matter at hand is local to the region, the MPs sit just in their Parliament; when it is for all of the UK then they sit in their Parliament building with a video link system linking up all of the Parliament buildings.

    This then means we do away with Scotland both electing MPs and MSPs; similar things will happen in Wales and Northern Ireland. Then we simply let democracy happen naturally; we can expect the usual spoiled-child routine from the Sinn Fein lot over in NI (being elected then refusing to sit), which will simply hand power over to their sworn enemies without a fight. Eventually, the electorate over there will realise that their own MPs are the silly ones, and elect smarter ones.

    This scheme is simple, effective, and will not ever be enacted because it’ll lost a whole lot of useless MSPs etc their jobs, and streamline the entire system.

  26. Oscar De Ville
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Well done, Dr JR ! Your earlier apparent support for those pleading for a mean English parliament to match the Scottish was perhaps misleading, but of deep concern. It could have encouraged any who seek yet more fragmentation.
    You are now right to say that we already have our own parliament – located at Westminster having a proud if difficult history, and a beacon for democracy around the world. It must remain supreme and be defended.
    It is perhaps already a bit late, but internal fragmentation via referenda is as much a danger a to the realm (which a government is primarily pledged to defend !) as any threat from outside. And so any plan to make a concession is a matter for ALL of us – and we should ALL have a vote via our parliament.
    Left alone, a treasonable campaign based on myth, emotion and whipped-up hatred may sometimes prevail and undermine the realm itself. No more appeasement please !

  27. Richard1
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    One correction: the current situation of Scottish MPs speaking and voting on English issues certainly could and would survive a transfer of more powers to Scotland in the event there is a Labour or a LibLab government.

    A vote winner for the Conservatives would be to identify all costs to be borne by the union – defence, pensions etc – and set base tax rates to apply throughout the UK. The 4 different national parliaments should then decide on supplementary taxes to pay for policies applying only to the separate nations (eg no tuition fees in Scotland).

    I see Jersey has issued a non-recourse bond. This is excellent. No reason Scotland shouldn’t do the same to pay for all their state spending. But let’s make sure UK taxpayers arnt on the hook for it.

  28. PayDirt
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Higher taxes raised by a Scottish Parliament will no doubt produce a migration southward of tax-payers, and possibly moves north of benefit-seekers. Potentially quite unsettling, but regions outside Scotland-the-Brief will welcome more tax-payers, thank you very much Mr Salmond. Also is the Scottish Parliament going to be a one-party affair for SNP, or will the MacThis and MacThat be once again at each other’s throats?

  29. peter davies
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    The obvious simple solution for me would be to have double hatted MSPs/AMs who sit in Westminster for UK business and go back to their assemblies for devolved business.

    Why have 2 layers of politicians for some parts of the UK but not others? All parts need of the union need to have the same legislative balance at the end of the day to stop these types of debates.

  30. Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    The fact is we English are sick and tied of having two faced British politicians trying to peddle this notion of a United Kingdom. Free University and free prescription charges in Scotland are just the tip of a huge anti English iceberg. Every single British government since 1997 have undermined the Union with totally biased administrations led by mainly Scots, aided by the occasional uneducated Welshman…(John Prescott…’there is no such nationality as English’).
    With more powers being promised to Scottish votes in an effort to save the dying Union, I welcome theses words from Mr Redwood. At least there is one true Conservative politicians who still appreciates the importance of speaking out in favour of English voters. A valuable lesson the leader of his party should have taken onboard before he declared war upon the sour little Englanders. The only people likely to have given him a majority government. Then again I guess an expensive education, doesn’t always guarantee a person will automatically develop a high degree of intelligence.

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    It’s been a long time since Westminster was the sacred plot of purely English democracy, and not just the 307 years since representatives from Scotland were first admitted but the longer period since 1535 when representatives from Wales were first admitted.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_in_Wales_Acts_1535%E2%80%931542

    And even before that, from about 1372, there were times when a couple of burgesses from Calais sat in the Parliament of England.

  32. Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Whilst Mr Redwood’s solution looks attractive, we could still have the situation where a PM, Chancellor or other minister representing a Scottish constituency would end up making proposals which apply only to England in some cases. One only has to look at the current and former numbers of Scots who have held such offices to see that this could happen. The alternative would be to stipulate that only English MP’s could hold such offices, which is clearly unacceptable.

    Why therefore cannot the English be treated on a equal basis as the other home nations with an English PM sitting with the English MPs?

  33. Terry
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    The last thing I think we need is more politicians and another very expensive Parliament. “

    The first thing we need is equality with our fellow UK citizens, not a fudge or half-way measure.

    The precedent unit for devolutionary settlement is the nation. I’m not a nationalist, but I can’t see how anything else would equate to a fair settlement for England.

    It would also see the end of lowly, second-class MPs at Westminster (the ones who don’t represent anyone on matters of Education, health, social policy policing, etc etc)

  34. Iain Gill
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I see interest rates have gone negative in Europe, something Max Keiser has been predicting for a while…

    • acorn
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      You wouldn’t think you could find a politician who knew less about fiat currency economics than Osbo’. Then along comes Mario Draghi. To be fair, the latter is buggered because the nearest thing the EU has to a “fiscal policy” supremo (a Chancellor of the Exchequer) is; Commissioner Olli Rehn. I think we can safely say that Olli hasn’t got a clue.

      Otherwise, don’t worry, only the “Deposit Rate” at the ECB has gone negative at -0.1%. The overnight rate that the commercial banks lend their “Reserves” to each other at, is still positive at 0.15%; that is assuming the ECB can keep a grip on the only interest rate it can control. The rate that the ECB will lend to Commercial Banks at is down to 0.4%..

      It is a play that has been done before by other Central Banks; it didn’t work then and it won’t work this time either. The ECB is basically telling the Banks that there are no creditworthy borrowers out there, so you either lose your money with those clients; or, you lose it, if you deposit it at the Central Bank.

  35. Bobbyboyce
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid to say that I wrote to Mr Cameron on this issue several years ago and his entirely unsatisfactory reply and refusal to restore the English Parliament has lead us to the prospect of the destruction of the Union. It is for this main reason, along with the EU problem whioch caused me to abandon the Conservative party as a voter.

    So I am pleased that this issue is at last being looked at, I hope it is not too little, too late.

  36. James Sutherland
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    While not a fan of the SNP overall, this is one aspect I do support: apparently, their Westminster MPs do abstain from voting on matters which do not apply to Scotland. I agree this should be made a rule for all MPs, along with a requirement that any Bill must either *all* apply to Scotland, or none of it (otherwise, do the Scottish MPs vote on it, or not?)

    • JoolsB
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      First the SNP only stick to their principles of abstaining on English only matters when it suits them. Think you will find they voted on the tripling of tuition fees to £9,000 even though it is only England’s youngsters that are clobbered by them, using the good old Barnett consequentials as a reason for doing so. And secondly, why should it be their choice to abstain from meddling in matters which do not affect them or their constituents? They should be BANNED along with all the other 117 Scottish, Welsh & NI MPs sitting at Westminster who spend their days poking their noses into English only matters because a) they can, b) they would have very little to do otherwise and c) our supine, pathetic, useless politicians squatting in English seats couldn’t care less when they do.

  37. John Bull
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely right, Mr. Redwood, well done.
    Now, how do we convince your no-brain colleagues of this no-brainer proposal?

  38. Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    The suggestion that a single person can do the job of representing their voters on English issues when meeting as an English parliament and representing their voters also on Union matters when meeting as the Union Parliament has the obvious disadvantage for us in England in that dual mandated MPs such as these may well have conflicts of interest when those of England and the UK do not coincide. Moreover our experience in the Campaign for an English Parliament is that many such British MPs representing English constituencies have neither interest in nor empathy with England. This contrasts with members of the devolved governments whose express mandate is to represent the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish in all matters.
    Apart from this problem it should be also acknowledged that the ever expanding House of Lords only revises and reviews proposed legislation for England and the UK. It does not do so for any of the devolved nations internal matters. This issue must also be addressed.
    Nevertheless 2 cheers for John Redwood

    • Mark B
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      ” Nevertheless 2 cheers for John Redwood”

      +1

    • William Grant
      Posted June 15, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      In the Scottish parliament, I believe that the committees, which meet three mornings a week, scrutinise the legislation coming out of the parliamentary chamber, which meets three afternoons a week.

  39. Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    It seems that John Redwood’s idea is that, at Westminster, English MPs should vote on Union matters and English matters, while Scots MPs will only vote on Union matters, NI MPs and WelshMPs will vote on Union matters plus matters refering to their own area. Is that correct?

  40. tommy
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    It has always been time to speak for England but our British Politicians have ignored it but now that the UK is in the process of breaking up they suddenly discover their Englishness and concern for England. We English are denied a parliament and national anthem of our own, the English have been dumbed down to sing the British Anthem when England play and fly the union jack, we are English and need politicians whom have the bottle to assert our Englishness , English Democrats are that party along with UKIP although UKIP are unionist at the mo.

    • Sean McGrath
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Just about nobody in the Wastemonster/Whitehall village has any concern for England. They never have had. Their only concern is keeping their tickets for the lavish gravy-train (it’s a shame Beeching didn’t derail that when he was cutting vast chunks of the Divided Kingdom’s rail network in the 60s).

  41. Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I am not the most astute when it comes to politics however, I know common sense when I see it. This message needs to be shared and explained as I’m sure many of the English Electorate are not aware of the present situation. At the very least it should be explained so that future votes are valuable ones.

  42. Nick Capp
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I fully agree with John, I have been saying this for years – “a single person can do the job of representing their voters on English issues when we meet as the English parliament, and representing their voters also on Union matters when we meet as the Union Parliament. The last thing I think we need is more politicians and another very expensive Parliament”. Great minds think alike!

    • Sean McGrath
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Essentially, Wastemonster has, in the devolution era, been the de facto English parliament (albeit one with over 100 members elected outside England) as well as the British Parliament. Frankly, it’s been rank poor at both tasks. The conflict of interests is clear, and, unfortunately, British interests will always prevail over English ones. If anyone knows of an instance where England’s needs have been put ahead of the ‘Union’, would they please let the rest of us know about it.

      We need England to be governed by people whose remit is explicit in that it covers England and only England. The line that an English parliament inevitably means more people and, therefore, more costs, is a myth propagated by people whose only concern is looking after their seats on the gravy train.

  43. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    The cost of a separate English Parliament would not be anything like as high as some imply.

    There would of course be the initial costs of buildings and so on, but there is no reason why the running costs should not be comparable to those for the Scottish Parliament, £68.6 million for the year ending March 31st 2013:

    http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/help/61877.aspx

    That works out as just 2.5p per week per head of population in England.

    Or, looking at it in another way, the annual cost of a separate devolved Parliament for England would be less than 0.02% of total annual public spending in England; it’s like the loose change that MPs at Westminster allow to slip through the floorboards.

    The cost argument is one of the weakest arguments for denying the English what has been readily given to others in the UK; one can only suppose that the real reason is that UK MPs across all parties believe that the Scots deserve to have their own Parliament, and the Welsh and the Northern Irish deserve to have their devolved assemblies, while the English do not and can be treated as fourth class citizens; and I wonder how long the UK can possibly survive on such a blatantly unjust basis even if the Scots vote against independence.

  44. Stuart Eels
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I agree with the majority of your views, however, my worry has always been that if the Conservatives were to instigate an English ‘Parliament’ made up of English based MPs only, Labour would turn around and abolish it on retuting to power again enabling Scottish Labour MPs to decide matters relating only to England whilst not being allowed to do the same in the country in which they are elected.

    Now that there are Devolved Parliaments and Asseblies for all but the English, surely there is no need at all for a 650 odd UK Government. Lets cut the size of that to a reasonable 100-150 and have an English Parliament with a total of no more than 400.

    This would save the tax payers more money and at last get rid of the democratic deficiency created by labour in the last century.

    • Sean McGrath
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      This is an eminently sensible and fair idea, but, unfortunately, it requires turkeys to vote for Christmas.

  45. Benjamin
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Whilst I welcome any discussion of England’s anomalous position within the union, I do wonder how people think that the policy of English Votes on English Laws (EVoEL) will solve the problem of ‘Underemployed Scottish members of the Westminster Parliament’. Surely EVoEL would require Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to abandon devolution and adopt similar restrictions on the voting of “foreign” MPs.

    A devolved English Parliament, based on the Scottish model, would both enforce EVoEL, whilst allowing the parliament of the United Kingdom to make reductions on the number of MPs, representing larger regions and being fully employed voting on non-devolved matters that affect the whole country.

    I agree with you that there is no necessity to create a separate parliament building to house the English Parliament, but I disagree that Westminster has a uniquely sacred place in regard to the government of England, and it was only in the 16th Century that this became the established location for parliament. Additionally, I worry that sharing the Palace of Westminster with both the English and UK parliaments would add to the illusion that the devolved nations are being ruled by England, rather than the other way around.

  46. ian
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    hi john, I hear that it going cost 5 billion to repair westminster parliament which will end up costing 7 billion. What about rotating the parliament from london to birmingham to manchester to gateshaed back to cambridge, More in contact with your voters. The lords can sit where they like. You will be able to make use of hs2 save it from going broke. Tourist pay good money to have dinner and pint in westminster. It would pay for all your expense because you cost a lot money to keep. If you want your voters back you should be going down to your local council and getting list of they worst people and family in the area and go round and see them,say 10 units a year each. You should not waiting for them to see you. With help from the council you could really make a difference, that would be 6,500 family or people a year. They need people who can cut the red tape at local and government level so they fit in

  47. Bill
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Slightly off message: am I the only one to notice that you now cannot get a picture of Clegg apart unless he is holding a pint of peer and standing in a pub? Presumably he is trying to steal Nigel Farrage’s clothes?

    It tells you something about the chameleon behaviour of the Lib Dems. They don’t believe in anything but they copy others who do in the hope of confusing the electorate.

  48. Sarah Wood
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I so agree with you on this. It is bad enough now that Sottish MPs can vote on matters not concerning their constituents, but if Sotland is given its own tax raising powers it will just give the English an even greater sense of grievance. I agree that the parliament should be left where it is at Westminster, but believe the House of Lords needs some serious reform

  49. Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Oh yes Mr Redwood, your solutions the most practical, Not, One voice .for England not enough to battle against the UK parliament dominating the English while the Scott’s and Welsh go about their business, We the English need our own parliament and to save money for this we can abolish the Lords and 50 percent of UK politicians not needed for English,Scott’s and Welsh matters , . The English parliament we reside in Westminster and the UK parliament move into the lords,. This is a much better and least cost effective Democracy.

  50. Ron Woodhouse
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I think that the big mistake was giving any devolution without it being universal. England has lost out all ways.

  51. John Brennan
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I saw and heard your speech on BBC Parliament and was mightily impressed. The English Question has been ignored by most politicians for too long. Their “solution” far too often (usually proposed by Scottish or Welsh politicians) is to break up England into regions, effectively destroying England as a country. This is not acceptable to true Englishmen, and I am sure that you would be one of the first to condemn it.
    Many thanks for raising this issue, and I am sure you will continue to defend the English cause.

  52. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I’ll ask the question again: Who gave David Cameron the right to promise more devolution to Scotland if there is a ‘No’ vote? Which organ of the Conservative Party authorised that? It’s certainly not being done in my name.

    Question 2: If Scotland votes ‘Yes’ to independence, who selected the date of March 2016 for their exit from the UK? Alex Salmond did. I want an independent Scotland evicted PDQ so that Scots could not vote in our 2015 General Election. Why are Eurosceptic MPs not demanding this?

  53. Daryl Bass
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    If you’re going to create an English parliament it needs to be somewhere else than Westminster, somewhere more central to England not just in the south. I don’t see the point of using the existing parliament in Westminster. Somewhere in the midlands and the north maybe. Westminster could still be the uk parliament. And a fairer system of voting not first past the post would need to be used for elections to the English parliament.

  54. Mark B
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I very much like the last three paragraph’s of your piece. It seems more in line with my thinking. No need for extra layers of government and administration. Just reform that which we have, use that which we have already got in terms of buildings, and look to create a more federal system.

    We cannot carry on this way. Giving more and more powers to Scotland and the other Home Nations, and leaving England out, will create a considerable amount of resentment which, looking long term, will probably end the Union altogether.

    Also, it would teach the Labour Party a very valuable lesson. They started all this. They thought that they could create little Socialist utopia’s in Scotland and Wales. Well, all they have done, is so the seeds of their own destruction. They know it, I guess you Mr. Redwood MP sir know it, and so too do many here I am sure.

    An independent England, as part of a United Federation, will be more conservative in both thought and action. You only need to look at a map of the seats the Conservatives won in 2010 GE to see what I mean. I am more than comfortable with that.

    Its because I think Labour can see their demise in England, that they are pushing the idea of breaking England up into semi-autonomous regions. Ordinarily I would not object to this idea but, I do not think that Labour would do it in such a way that would favour the English and perhaps your party. So I would be happy to settle for an independent parliament similar to that enjoyed elsewhere. We can get to the issue of further devolution to the shires of England after and, once outside the EU.

  55. forthurst
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Clearly Westminster is the parliament for the UK, not England. A failing of Mrs. Thatcher was to believe that increasing the central control of local government by replacing the rates with the pole tax and standardising business rates with formulaic distributions of funds to local authorities would be better than allowing local authorities to look after their own affairs. Unfortunately, the net effect has been an explosion of local government job creation schemes and costs to the taxpayer, whilst government ministers fret over matters which should not be within the purview of central government. Would it not be better to return most of the autonomy taken away from local authorities over many years such as responsibility for raising revenue from rates and other sources for the provision of health, education and social services and return them to those who provide services at the local level; there would also need to be a means of raising other local revenue, then people could decide through the ballot box whether they want office blocks full of bureaucrats or functioning services, thriving businesses or boarded up shops and abandoned factories, grammar schools or box standard comps, hospitals that heal, or hospitals that harm; people should be free to choose in a democracy. Local authorities have huge budgets; is it not time for them to learn to spend them more wisely? Would not the Welsh and Scottish parliaments then become redundant and the West Lothian question be answered?

  56. Andvick
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    How long are we to be denied what is rightfully ours,
    The same rights as the rest of the uk, the right to our own decisions, own choices , own dignity and identity , scrapping the british medieval governing system is the only way.
    The unionist seem to be clinging on for dear life to the old system…….. This is the modern 21st century world, Let’s move with it and adapt…. or get left behind in the past.

  57. Eddie Hill
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Agreed, it is high time we put England first, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to do so.

    It is also high time we got rid of the Labour MPs from the Celtic fringe that occasionally lumber us with Labour governments that do irreperable harm to England.

  58. Stuart Saint
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree with your proposals.

  59. Ant
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Surely enough is enough now?
    Scotland demands so much and contributes less as time goes by. If the Union is maintianed (and I hope it isn’t, as the Scots will demand so much more and will never drop the independence “threat”) it is time for England to have some democractic right to manage it’s own affairs.

    By mentioning “English” I have brokem the unwirtten rule of Westminster , who pretend the word doesn’t exist.

    Show some backbone for once, you English MPs (of all parties)!

  60. Derek Butchart
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I was always happy and proud to be British. Ever since the noise north of the border began I have felt ever more English. The Scots are referred to as Scots, the Irish are Irish, and the Welsh are referred to as Welsh. The English are repeatedly told they do not exist. We do exist, and it is time we made our feelings known. The others are happy to live off our beneficence. Enough is enough – let’s make our presence felt.

  61. Lee Ingram
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    A Parliament for England is needed to redress the unbalance of the Union.

  62. Ken Stevens
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    “I also think a single person can do the job of representing their voters on English issues when we meet as the English parliament, and representing their voters also on Union matters when we meet as the Union Parliament.”

    And the same applies to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish reps.

    Just one set of members, sitting part of the time in their own parliament/assemblies and part all together, along with their English counterparts, as UK Parliament. If the idea is feasible for English MPs then it it certainly feasible for the other UK components.

    One less separate layer. What’s not to like about the idea!

  63. The Surrey Mole
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Assuming Scotland does not vote for independence (this time) of course, why not aspire to some form of federal “United States of Britain (USB) ” taking the beneficial aspects of the Canadian, Australian and US state and province models?
    Scotland could have the autonomy that the nationalists desire, yet retain the pound and the monarchy and a USB defence force and foreign policy. An equitable move for England which has been sidelined by the devolution in the other 3 nations, also benefits Wales and NI giving them increased devolved powers but within a strong, yet looser Union than currently.
    Agree that any developments must NOT lead to growth in numbers of politicians.

  64. behindthefrogs
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    We also need equal representation in the UK parliament so that each MP represents an approximately equal number of constuents Itis wrong that the Scots should have more MPs per head of the population than the English.

  65. Martin Ryder
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I am an Englishman, born in England and living in England. I am also a Briton and was, during my youth, a Londoner. I have no problem with the Scots – and the Welsh and the Northern Irish, who should be treated exactly the same as the Scots – raising and spending their own taxes; providing that the English can also do the same.

    I would also prefer to continue with the English Parliament in London, where it was long before we formed the Union with the Scots. I would also prefer to continue with the British Parliament in London where is has been since we formed the Union 300 years ago.

    I accept that the Mayor of London considers London to be an international city, rather than a British one, where everyone from anywhere should be able to reside and work to ensure that it does not become a modern day Sparta; but I believe that London is first and foremost both a British and an English city. It is the proper home for our Parliament.

    What the government and the opposition parties should be considering is: what is the Union for? What does it do that the component nations cannot? The UK is about 65 million people, whilst England is about 55 million people – nobody in government or opposition seems to know or wants to know the exact figures – and a country of 65 million is more powerful, I suppose, than one of 55 million.

    I consider that the British Parliament, with MPs from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, should concentrate on Foreign Affairs (including our relations with the EU), Economic Affairs (especially monetary policy and international trade), Defence and border security. The English Parliament, without Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs, should deal with all else where England is concerned.

  66. bmw1806
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    With Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all having their own parliaments isn’t it about time that England has its own parliament too? I agree with John Redwood, let it be in the existing Westminster Palace, the home of democracy and English political history.
    I support the Campaign for an English Parliament and I believe that I am English before British but I do not like the way the Union of the United Kingdom seems to be breaking up. The only people who should be allowed to debate and vote on purely English matters are the English members of parliament!
    Follow and join the Campaign for an English Parliament!

  67. Ian Campbell
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    It’s certainly about time that the Conservative party and the British government gave some thought to England. An excellent report from Sir William McKay suggesting a robust arrangement for English representation in Westminster seems to have been lobbed into the long grass along with earlier proposals from, among others, Ken Clarke and Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Nothing has been done for the past 15 years. Even ‘left-leaning’ bodies such as IPPR have called attention to Westminster’s neglect of England. Personally, I prefer the solution offered by the current Marquis of Salisbury at least a decade ago, that the House of Commons should become solely an English Parliament while a smaller, elected, reformed House of Lords becomes the British Parliament. That would mean fewer politicians, one tier less of English domestic government and, if present buildings are used would cost very little. It could be introduced within 12 months.

  68. David Grant
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood’s comments echo my own thoughts whic I have expressed repeatedly for two decades or more. England’s Parliament should sit at Westminstewr as it it did for centuries. England’s Parliament I say,no others to sit there but Members for English seats. The devolved lands have their own assemblies, let them stay there. An ad hoc federal assembly drawn from the four parliaments would be needed for matters of mutual and common interest such as coastal and fishing affairs and overseas representation.
    The “Union”will become a federation such as now exists in many lands,USA, Canada,Germany and Australia.It works for them , why not for the peoples of these islands.
    One thing is clear ,whichever way Scotland votes, England must look to herself once again. We cannot tolerate the importunate attitude of the Scots to influence how we govern ourselves. They, and the rest of the moribund”Union” must fend for themselves And so must we. We need our own Parliament back, as we had before we lost our independence to this so-called “Union”.

  69. Terry Walsh
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I am very naïve politically, so please be patient with me..
    I am disgusted really at the overall disinterest in England for a number reasons.As a individual in 50+million people who live in England I can only talk about the publig I know personally and the side of politics I try to read about.The apathy shown among people is shocking and by that I mean the same people I know will all have flags out for England in the world cup..i do not suggest they permanently wave them but I don’t know if they could still do this when all part of the EU…I know I will be corrected and I am happy to be…1st I respect Scotland and wales have their votes..and I believe they would also keep their identity? regarding England and the 9 zones replacing identity I do not respect..i honestly believe that with the underhanded way from Heath to present day gave this country to Europe with not the blessings or the votes tells me they have to go.Is it so hard to see that they are in no way doing this for us? so how can you trust a traitor? you remove them..i do not think I want my children growing up in the environment these ‘people’ have in mind..please tell me you actually do ? I know pretty much for certain that the breakdown of family was a EU order,rule whatever you call it and it really ruined the lives of a lot of good people, and swept under the carpet (I know this as fact) to the point of people sick of hearing you mention it! all this I say because had this not happened I would not have researched so hard and opened up a can of worms that is impossible to me to explain the size of and in a sufficient condensed way to do it justice and get attention..whichever way I look at it I come back to England, for all the bad times is there a better place on earth? I despise the new labour and and the gradual demise of England..i had to write to my own bank because in the language option, it was Wales.Scotland,UK ..when I tried to point this out and online where we are asked birthplace or similar we cannot put England …so it goes on and on and so will I, im not unhappy to be put right, by facts. A English Parliament is necessity not choice, because some people have to be led for their own good..these are the people who enable the likes of blair in for a eternity and any human-being knows the cosequences are still ahoy!
    where was John Redwood’s stance on anything England previously?

  70. Edward Higginbottom
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Well done, Mr Redwood, it is about time senior Conservatives take up this issue. There should be no more powers granted to Scotland until England stands in equality with regard devolution and having its own parliament.

  71. chris
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    England is on par with that of the Basque people, we are not recognized, we don’t have equality in the UK, we are the least democratic people in the entire Western and Free world, the English are treated as Second class citizens by Westminster, The EU and the Roywal family. There are 117 unelected unaccountable MPs who we can do nothing about plus and entire EU, not to mention that Westminster is under no obligation to put England firsts or has no department for us, Westminster places the needs of Scotland northern Ireland and Wales over us as does the Royal family who also are NOT on our side, or treat us as equal thus rendering them and Westminster as redundant. We need a Voice, full recognition and a Full English Parliament, without it the Union will dissolve if Scotland goes or not. Most of us want Scotland gone so we can have our Country back.

  72. Terry Walsh
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Please is their anyone who can bring me up to date on the EU and where things stand at this time? where we will be as a part of Europe and run totally by EU self appointed leaders.
    also how we got this stage with no voting ?
    can anyone tell me if it is a democratic union? and if it is ,where we had the elections to vote in the present heads of the union?
    is it true a law has been passed that no criticism of a decision from a EMP is allowed..and is punishable?

  73. BobE
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Its probably too late to get this put into the blog but Newark looks like being fun. Tory Mps all over it. I really did hope that the rise of UKIP would scare the pants from the Tories. It has too. Its on BBC 1 tonight. Very worth watching I bet. :)
    With luck we will see some policy changes.

  74. Eleanor Justice
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Well done Mr Redwood, lets hope Cameron “with all the Scottish blood flowing through his veins” listens… but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  75. Dee
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Too right and well said, that man. This Yorkshire lass agrees with you 100%

  76. Elphi
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you Mr. Redwood. The English desperately need a voice. The current situation sees Scotland at a “win-win” fork; either more devolved power or separation. The rest of the UK must bend to their desires but have no say!

  77. ian
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    You don”t need new buildings. You only used parliament on wednesday or when you have a vote. With today technology you can have virtual parliament which you can log on to and have your say and vote. People can log on and see what going on. You can have meeting round the country with companies and people because you are all ways in contact with the virtual parliament. You can spend more time with your votes. When going around to see your votes you should not be canvassing votes you should have cheque list to see what they think and if you can do anything for them. They do not want to hear about big i dears that are not to happen. they can see that on the news or virtual parliament. As for scotland your concern is GDP. They concern is, can alex keep the money rolling in like you do.

  78. pauline Jorgensen
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    As a proud UK national born and brought up in Northern Ireland with Welsh and English parents and grandparents from Wales, England and Scotland I find this all very sad and rather confusing. We are truly better together, all these local parliaments deliver is additional cost for the taxpayer and more gravy trains for the politicians. What is wrong with subsidiarity achieved not by more layers of stifling government control but by real localism where regulation is rolled back and people have more control over their own locality. We do not need layers of government to gives freedom!

  79. ian
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    i agree with you john, but i do think virtual parliament is way to go, so you can change as you go because we cannot now what is going to happen in the future.

  80. Stephen O
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    I very much like the idea of restricting Scottish MPs from voting on English only matter.

    I am wondering what will happen if different parties have a majority in England and the UK, so the Chancellor in the British government will not have the votes to support the finance bill (which currently means the government can not continue and a general election is called for).

  81. Christine Constable
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    With the greatest of respect John the Tories should have been thinking about England over a decade ago when the flawed and deeply damaging asymmetrical devolution was inflicted on England and BEFORE the scandal over Scottish MPs inflicting Tuition Fees on English students (and then rejecting it for Scottish students) which simply exposed the discrimination against England nodded through by the Tories.

    The Tories are very belatedly realising that they have (essentially) abused their only support base by failing to act in the interests of England, in the meantime the English have demonstrated that their support for the Tories is probably terminal as the Euro elections demonstrated and as future elections will reiterate.

    The complete abject failure of the Tories to produce policies that appeal to England by redressing the democratic deficit; that need to halt anti English discrimination in such areas as education funding; elderly care funding; access to NHS drugs; the absence of an English Parliament etc and the general contempt with which the Tory party have treated the English electorate lies at the heart of the decline of the Tories.

    Led by an unashamed Scot, we wait to see how much of the English birthright he gives to Scotland in what will surely be a YES vote to depart from the Union. The English too want a YES vote to leave the wealth sapping fiasco that is Europe and the poorly performing Tories who have treated England with breathtaking contempt and some in England also want to leave the Union which many consider to be a burden – let Wales have independence too and free England from the financial burdens we have to bare, both Wales and Scotland demonstrate ingratitude to England and frankly we are fed up to the teeth with it.

    As you consider yourself to be an active backbencher and you have been approached on many of these concerns with no real action ever taking place you call in this article to address the needs of England is too little too late – frankly it cries desperation that after ten years of devolution and failure to address the needs of the people of English you (and perhaps the Tories) FINALLY agree something needs to be done.

    It is clear our politicians are too slow, too unconnected and too interested in the Westminster bubble to deal with the situation on the ground in England and to ignore the changes in the political landscape caused by decent English people fed up with being treated as a third class citizen until the Tories become a foot note as their support ebbs away, is a salutory lesson that you (and your Tories colleagues) should have treated those who came to you for help with sympathy for their genuine concerns and should not have dismissed their grievances as the stirrings of a right wing rhump – rather they were the cries of a whole people betrayed by the only party who should have represented their views. I think we can all say the future for Conservatism looks bleak and those who never lifted a finger to help the Tory voters get back their democracy and rights are the ones who deserve to be justly criticised.

    • Emily
      Posted June 9, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Excellent post Christine

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Great post Christine, what is wrong with the English electorate that we just sit and let this all happen with no say. Why are we just allowing the Scots to give majorities to taxing our children but saving their own from the same graduate taxes. It’s time for a change.

  82. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    If English MPs can be double hatted, dealing with English and Union matters as appropriate, then I would have though the same argument could be applied to the other three parts of the Union.

  83. Tony Weaver
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    This is the most sensible comment on the role of England in the union from a mainstream politician for a long time. The success of UKIP in the recent Euro elections I believe is the result of working class English voters demonstrating their nationalism and disillusionment with the political status quo. Unless the mainstream parties start to address the demands and concerns of the English working classes then the parties at the extremes of politics will continue to garner this vote.

  84. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    All well and good, but none of the above addresses the heart of the problem, which has two parts.

    Firstly there is no widespread feeling within the UK of being primarily BRITISH (which in this context includes NI).

    Secondly there has been a sustained failure of governance to govern, and been seen to be governing, equally for the whole of the UK.

  85. Derek Butchart
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Looks like UKIP and John Redwood have opened a can of worms bursting to get out.
    It has always been what the others want – the English, (British), were never considered, didn’t count. Let’s make it clear we do count – let’s campaign for an English Parliament.

    • Derek
      Posted June 7, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      You could try joining the Campaign for an English Parliament which has been active since 1998,

  86. Mark Lancaster
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    A very good piece by John Redwood and if his speech to the house was along the same lines then it may be the most significant with regard to our uneven devolution since Tam Dayall spoke all those years ago. I find it very difficult to argue against the points Mr Redwood has made so well.
    I do have one concern; without establishing a constitutionally defined English Parliament that is enshrined in law then Mr Redwood’s proposals do have one flaw:-
    If a Conservative Government is returned in 2015 they will no doubt be pleased to follow. Mr Redwood’s plan. If however, a Labour Regime is returned (God forbid!) then to rule over England where the Conservatives will have a majority of MPs they will require their underemployed Scottish MPs to vote with them. I have no doubt that they will with the help of their Scottish MPs dissolve any England only arrangements in order to effect that rule. I have no doubt the Lib Dems will be of a similar mind set. I would trust neither of these parties to use democracy as their guiding light.
    I am delighted to see a politician with Mr Redwood’s record identifying with our views and would encourage him to take that final step towards the establishment of a true English Parliament.
    I will be forwarding my comments and this E mail to my local Conservative MP, may I suggest that all CEP members who have a Conservative MP do the same?

  87. The PrangWizard
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Around six months ago, I asked Michael Portillo in a public meeting if he supported the idea of an English Parliament; he said he didn’t as he did not think there was any demand. Daniel Hannan responded in the same way on his blog. These expressions sounded to me to be something of a ‘party line’ response. I trust both of them will read the comments here. It is quite clear there is a considerable demand. Let the media take note too. The issue can no longer be ignored and denied.

  88. I. Toldemso
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood’s comment – “If this is true, it is time to think of England”. Well I have been emailing David Cameron and my own MP to draw attention to the economic favouring of Scotland (TSB Bank the latest gift) compared with neglected regions of England for several years. No Mr Redwood, a decade or more ago was the time to think of England. It is now too late for England to recapture for itself even near the 90% of the economy it should be generating. Too long the industrial power houses like the NE, Birmingham and the W Midlands have been neglected – and before you say it. Yes, we know they make Nissan cars in the NE. But the complementary observation is that the English Student Loan Company is based in Glasgow and the National Savings is hosted by the Bank of Ireland and ….. Doh

  89. alan jutson,
    Posted June 7, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Yes you are correct John, Mr Salmond has got his way and won no matter the result of the votes.

    Mr Salmond has played his cards well.

    Yet again we have proof that most politicians do not have a clue when setting out on any negotiations.
    The leaders of the Conservatives, Labour and the LibDems have already given away any possible chance of a sensible stance on any future negotiation by offering goodies way in advance of a result.

    So heads Scotland (Mr Salmond) wins, tails The UK (England, Wales, Northern Ireland) loses.

    The simple and fair solution is to have exactly the same powers for all four members of the Union, with joint powers only where required.

    This give-away pre negotiation farce does not give me much confidence about renegotiation with the EU !

  90. Deek
    Posted June 7, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    As you know, government is not just about parliament John. What would your proposals be for an executive for England? Would England have a First Minister? Who would formulate, promote and steer legislation for England? Would there be an English cabinet? Would there be a separate Leader of the Commons for English matters? Could a Scottish Welsh or N.Irish MP constituency MP ever be PM given that he or she would be excluded from vast amounts of the governments business? What would be the role of the House of Lords in English matters given that their lordships have no second chamber responsibilities for Scottish Welsh and N.Irish matters?

  91. Emily
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    No Mr Redwood.
    Westminster is not enough for the English.
    What you propose is nothing more than a little bit on the status quo.
    I do not see why the Welsh who have an assembly or the Northern Irish ditto should have any say over English affairs either.
    And then there is the one crucial point.
    I am sure you are much to smart, much too smart not to be wide awake to it.
    The system of voting.
    We in England should have equality with the other three parliaments/assemblies.
    They are all voted on under the system of PR.
    Now here is the little rub – isn’t it Mr Redwood.
    why people like you are happy to pander to the English with the old trite mantra of Westminster is good enough for you.
    It isn’t.
    But the reason we don’t get a parliament folks is simple.
    You have just watched PR give UKIP a historic victory.
    You see the SNP breaking the stranglehold of the lib/lab/con in Scotland thanks to PR.
    We want a Parliament for England with proportional representation so every vote is worth something – each vote counts.
    Not the First post the post that wil,l in Englands case, fiddle a Tory majority for at least some time.
    Stuff Westminster.
    650 rotten MPs – interested in the back pocket not the country.
    We want a proper parliament – we want equality with the Scots and we want PR.

  92. David Maslen
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I would like to see an English Parliament made up of directly elected leaders of local councils, situated in Liverpool or somewhere similar, with a First Minister.

    However, the fear that would strike in to the hearts of the unionists in Westminster…….!!!

    So, JR’s solution is a start – but a First Minister is essential to make it meaningful, and if Westminster is used, it has to be the old hall, not the Commons.

  93. William Grant
    Posted June 10, 2014 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    If mps for constituencies in England are to have two roles within Westminster, as you propose, Mr. Redwood, then the same should apply to members for Scotland and Wales who should meet separately in Westminster Hall. The extra powers being proposed for Wales and Scotland should be delegated to those Westminster mps. The Scottish Parliament does not have enough capacity to be a devo-max parliament, nor the Welsh assembly.

  94. MGR
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Does parliament not have the power to delegate English affairs to a committee of the House which excludes Scottish, Welsh and Irish members?

  95. J Roberts
    Posted June 15, 2014 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Interesting.

    So in “purely Welsh matters” that are before the UK Parliament should only Welsh MPs be able to vote on it?

    E.g tax powers to Wales, more powers to Wales?

    Thought not!

  96. L. Tanner
    Posted June 17, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Well said John.
    But why have MPs let this injustice fester for so long? Simply to preserve the union at the English people’s expense? Tell me, what have we, the English, done to deserve this? May your fellow MPs all agree to this process – and quickly for the sake of justice!
    I agree that the English Parliament should reside at its historic site of Westminster and thereby save a vast amount of money, and, though I am completely against any regionalisation through assemblies, I do believe there should something like a ‘Council of the North’, consisting of northern English MPs meeting every couple of months, perhaps at York, or indeed several locations by rota (Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Newcastle…?) to give a boost and continual assessment of the North of England’s status. Perhaps something similar could be done for the West and East Anglia too, with meetings at say Bristol, Plymouth and Norwich. This way the whole of England would be invested in the political process, the government less Londoncentric.
    I would also favour more power being devolved to already existing county councils. The English do, generally, have a strong identifications with their county and/or city.
    I am utterly flabbergasted that we have reached such a state in England, where we are treated so appallingly by the political elite of all parties… but our patience will not last forever.
    So, John, well said again, but you need to do something about this, for these are words only, even though they are music to my ears.
    The time for constructive action is now.
    We need an English Parliament which is de jure, not merely de facto! All the history and tradition, of which we are so fond, would thereby be preserved.
    Put something constructive in the manifesto for next year – please, before it’s too late. It might just save many Tory MPs skins to boot!

  97. Rob
    Posted September 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Im Welsh and live in Wales, I agree that England should have its own Parliment. However, when it comes to Union matters the MPs from other countries should have the have more votes per MP as currently the shear majority of English MPs to that of Welsh will always mean that Wales is not farily reprasented in Westminster. Its should be equal votes per country so that what is best for the Union can be a decision made by all its countries not just from one.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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