SNP get my Westminster proposals wrong

 

My call for English MPs deciding the matters for England that are devolved to Scotland  has been criticised by the SNP. I have no “resentment” over the Scottish Parliament getting more powers. I just want an answer to the problem of England at the same time.  Their response  is most surprising, as they have stated in the Commons

 

“In the SNP  we have a self denying ordnance of not taking part on English and non Scottish issues. …we believe England is as good as France and Germany and can run itself amply….”

Nor am I proposing tonight second class MPs from Scotland. Labour’s lop sided devolution has created two different types of Westminster MP – those that can talk and vote on all the main issues affecting their constituents and those  in Scotland who cannot because many matters are discussed and decided elsewhere. It was that which changed the nature of a Scottish MP’s job, not my proposals tonight. Under my scheme all Westminster  MPs will be equal on all union matters, wherever they come from in the UK.

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30 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    What will Cameron do in the dying months of this dreadful coalition government, when we get either of the two Scottish results shortly? Have they even thought about it? After all they are 180 degrees wrong on nearly every issue they have touched so far? Cameron having lumbered the country with the Libdems at the last sitting duck election is not really in any position to do very much. The immoral Libdems even prevented fair constituency boundaries across the UK after all.

  2. William Gruff
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    ‘ … we believe England is as good as France and Germany and can run itself amply … ‘

    I’ve read that elsewhere, more than once and I always laugh. No race on Earth can puff themselves up like the Scotch.

    Only an English Parliament can properly represent the wishes and interests of the people of England. Here’s to Independence (for England).

    • David Price
      Posted August 14, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      … For all of England.

  3. Mark B
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Where can I read more of this ?

    In my post earlier on, I stated that, as an Englishman, I do not seek more powers for England, I seek the same as those which have been devolved to other members of the Union.

    I do not consider this an unreasonable position.

    Are you there saying, Mr Redwood MP sir, that the Scottish National Party is seeking to deny me and my MP, those same rights enjoyed by the rest of the Union ?

    If so, on what grounds ?

    If I have misunderstood this, could you please take the time to elaborate a little further.

  4. Mark B
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I have had a look around. They are upset because you labelled the SNP as anti-English. They cannot fathom that, from the perspective of many here south of the border, that independence means just that – independence. That not only means from Westminster, but also from Brussels. But it is the later that they wish to be part of, an organization and union far, far worse then the one they are in. They claim that they just want to be free from Westminster and this has nothing to do with anti-English sentiments.

    But all in all, I think you are just being scapegoated because Salmond and his plans got showed up for what they are – Excrement !

    • David Price
      Posted August 14, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      I think there is more to it than being described as anti-English

      If any aspect of Scottish independence or Devo Whatever requires votes in Parliament then the majority will be English MPs. They cannot afford as unified a group as the Scots but of a larger number, arguing counter claims. This would be a threat to them if the Scots stayed in the UK. This may be why Salmond comes south to argue the breakup of England in to regions.

      I don’t think Salmond and the SNP are anti-English in a rascist way though they may exploit that character of the more extreme Scottish nationailst tendancy. I think they are simply anti-democracy in that they don’t have the degree of influence in Westminster they would like so seek to change the balance of influence.

      All the more reason to keep Labour & LibDems out as they would continue their actions to break up England, move us further in to the EU and dismantle the UK.

  5. Bill
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    In some ways it is a badge of honour to be attacked by the SNP.

  6. David Price
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    “In the SNP we have a self denying ordnance of not taking part on English and non Scottish issues.”

    The SNP carefully ignore that Scottish Labour MPs have no such “self imposed” restraint as was shown with votes on NHS and Tuition Fee matters, an SNP-only ordinance has no weight or bearing. Besides they could change their mind when

    Interesting that for more detail on your proposal the SNP website refers readers to a Herald webpage and not your blog, for example, – wonder why they feel so threatened by another group wanting the same as them.

    • Posted August 13, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      It’s not true to say the SNP never vote on English only matters. They voted on the tripling of tuition fees using good old Barnett consequentials as an excuse for doing so. The SNP only take a vow of self restraint when it suits them.

      • David Price
        Posted August 13, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        So they have changed their mind when it suited them… I am not surprised.

        Clearly SNP cannot be trusted to keep their word so it would be far better to put them out of reach of temptation entirely and reserve all matters concerning England to an English parliament and those matters of concern to the UK, eg defence, to a UK parliament. Whether Scotland is part of the UK or not is up to them but a clear demarcation of financial authority, dependency and responsibility would be a mandatory element. England should not be responsible for bailing out Scottish finances and vice versa.

  7. gjwyatt
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t follow the last paragraph. It is English MPs who cannot vote on Scottish reserved matters (e.g. education and health in Scotland), whereas Scottish MPs can vote on education and health in England.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      MPs with English and Scottish constituencies can vote on all matters relating to England but neither MPs with English or Scottish constituencies can vote on matters devolved to the Scots Parliament such as education and health. These matters are decided by 129 MSPs sitting in the Scots Parliament at Holyrood. So MPs with English constituencies are full time whereas MPs with Scottish (and Welsh) constituencies are part-time and would have very little to do if they couldn’t meddle in English only matters.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      English MPs cannot vote on Scottish devolved matters – but neither can Scottish MPs!

      Looking for a silver lining – if the Scots vote NO, perhaps it will lead to the collapse of the SNP? Their main reason for being is independence for Scotland.

      • William Grant
        Posted August 14, 2014 at 12:49 am | Permalink

        An SNP spokesman once said that the SNP might disband after independence. Many financial contributors to the SNP say that on independence they would stop their contributions to the party. I suppose that UKIP are in the same situation that if departure from the EU was achieved that they would disband.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      It may seem to be nitpicking but it is of crucial constitutional importance – those are matters devolved to the Scottish institutions, not reserved to them. The UK institutions are legally superior to the Scottish institutions, which are in fact the creatures of the UK institutions; certain powers have been reserved to the UK institutions while others have been delegated or devolved to the inferior Scottish (and Welsh and Northern Irish) institutions.

  8. James Matthews
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    No surprise there. The SNP gets pretty much everything wrong (often deliberately), but it really would make life simpler and more satisfactory for England if Scotland votes yes.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      To the contrary, that would be a strategic disaster for England.

      • James Matthews
        Posted August 13, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        The usual flat contradiction, but you are clinging to something that has already gone. The Act of Union was effectively negated when the Scottish Parliament was established. Even if the Scots vote no this time the direction of travel is one way only. It just postpones the (in your view) evil day – at the cost of continuing constitutional and financial (note yesterdays patrol vessel contract announcement) sweeteners for Scotland.

        As to a strategic disaster for England, that is moot. At the moment England has no visible strategy on anything. It just muddles along hoping to buy off the Scots for largely sentimental reasons and for an imaginary better deal with the EU. The United kingdom has already given up on being a serious military power, so the military implications of losing Scotland are not great unless you fear an invasion through Scotland which, to most of us, seems vanishingly unlikely. Meanwhile Scottish votes, both in Westminster and from the population at large, help to keep us in the EU.

        Unlike you I have confidence in my compatriots. We can do without the Scots and will take better decisions without them.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 13, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          “The Act of Union was effectively negated when the Scottish Parliament was established”

          No it wasn’t, that is totally ill-informed nonsense, as you could have found out long ago if you could have been bothered to look at the long list of crucially important matters that are expressly reserved to the UK Parliament and government in Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998 which established the Scottish Parliament, a list which starts:

          “1 The following aspects of the constitution are reserved matters, that is -

          (a) the Crown, including succession to the Crown and a regency,

          (b) the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England,

          (c) the Parliament of the United Kingdom …”

          It’s depressing that after all this time some people are still unable to grasp the concept of a country having a federal structure even though there are so many around the world.

          Does Australia not exist, because New South Wales has its own elected parliament?

          No, Australia exists, and notwithstanding its federal structure it is recognised as a sovereign state among the other sovereign states on the international stage.

          Has the UK ceased to exist because Wales now has its own elected assembly, which could be renamed as a parliament?

          No, the UK still exists, and its supreme legal authority is still the UK Parliament.

          And if, as you claim, the Anglo-Scottish Union was effectively ended in 1998 with the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, please could you explain the purpose of the independence referendum now being held in Scotland?

      • William Gruff
        Posted August 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        A lot of Scots labour under that delusion; it’s part of their consoling fantasy that without them England would be less or nothing. The fact is that almost no one in England who is English cares about the independence referendum in Scotland, except a very few of the many who wish to be rid of the Scotch burden. I am an ardent supporter of independence for England and I am not following the tedious and infantile referendum campaign because I simply do not care how it turns out, and I am far from being unusual.

        Other than to waken slumbering ‘Britons’ (recte Englishmen and women.) to the reality that ‘Britishness’ now means absolutely nothing beyond the right of anyone, friend or foe, who can acquire ‘British’ citizenship to live and prosper in England, or elsewhere at English expense, the outcome is almost irrelevant to us.

        Ideally the Scotch will be given their independence, whether they want it or not, when, and only when, we have an English Parliament to defend our interests and are safe from the depredations of a Scotch dominated, Scotch pandering British government intent on stripping our English assets to feed the voracious parasites in the little nations of this laughably misnamed ‘United’ Kingdom. However, a yes vote next month cannot but focus attention on the seriously disadvantaged position we are in and further increase the demands for an English national government.

  9. Dee
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    On the 18th July 2014 Alex Salmond came to England to discuss English internal politics.

    As the First Minister of Scotland and a Member of the Scottish Parliament, he essentially called for the regionalisation or ‘break up’ of England without the need for England to have national representation.

    If that is the SNP’s greatest wish, why then are the British government wanting to fulfil his desires? Why are the British government denying England the right to a national parliament and equality in the UK (let alone Europe)?

    Why is the First Minister of Scotland poking his nose in England’s affairs? And the SNP do not always refrain from voting on English only issues. Check their records. They are lying.

  10. William Grant
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    The SNP used to be called Tartan Tories but nowadays they have an aversion to anything said by a Conservative. Also,the last I heard the SNP were in the lead in Scotland in voting intentions for the Westminster election in 2015, so may be hoping to have a larger (more troublesome) Westminster cohort then. It seems that If MPs from english seats did get the right to vote on england-only issues that members from Scottish and Welsh Westminster seats might want the same rights for legislation for their respective nations. Which would leave the problem of Northern Ireland, where giving powers to their Westminster representatives on some devolved issues might affect the stability of their assembly If the Conservatives want to correct Labour’s error, they would first have to put Ev for El in the manifesto and then, on winning the election, hold a referendum in England to have total equality with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. And then there is the Monarch. What is she supposed to say at the State Opening of Parliament if there is Ev for El?Very federally little, one presumes.

    Reply English MPs would vote on matters for England that the Scottish Parliament settled for Scotland. Scotland already has the rights you talk about!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Why not put the referendum in England into the election manifesto?

      If the aim is equality for England with the other parts of the UK, then that can only be achieved either by abolishing their devolved assemblies, which while legally possible would doubtless speed the total disintegration of the UK, even a illegal disintegration, or by belatedly granting the English what the others have already been granted.

      The Queen would still have plenty to say regarding the extensive list of important matters still reserved to the UK Parliament, some crucially important; as I have pointed out before most of the Bills being passed by the UK Parliament still apply to all of the UK, it is only a minority which do not apply outside England.

      • Martyn G
        Posted August 13, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        I agree with your sentiments but it seems clear to me that England will remain off of the EU map – there are altogether far too many people in our government and across the EU that are absolutely determined that it will remain that way. I wonder what would happen if, say, Belgium was suddenly removed from the map, like England, airbrushed out of existence.
        As for most of the Bills applying across the UK, I can think of at least one that does not i.e. gay marriage, which although Mr C immediately claimed made the UK the fairest nation on earth, he failed to point out that when passed it applied only to England and Wales – not that he could bring himself to say the dreaded word England!

    • William Grant
      Posted August 14, 2014 at 1:42 am | Permalink

      I meant, Mr Redwood, that the Scotland Act could be revisited and powers currently residing with Holyrood MSPs and the extra powers now planned for them by three UK party leaders could (partially) be delegated to Scotland’s Westminster MPs. Denmark is roughly the same size as Scotland, by area and population, and their parliament has 179 members compared to Holyrood’s 129. What if the devolved institution can’t cope with the new, heavier, devo-max workload? Your plan is a bit sly, in that it benefits your party. The devolved institutions of Scotland and Wales both rely on Proportional Representation. Which if Westminster had, too, to make devolved England, within Westminster, the same as Scotland and Wales, would mean UKIP breaking through, on present voting intentions. Continuing FPTP limits their progress.

  11. nigel
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Does that mean that Scotland would still be disproportionally well represented in the Westminster Parliament?

    Reply No

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Here we go again … Scotland is not disproportionately well represented in the Westminster Parliament now, and hasn’t been since 2005 when the number of MPs elected in Scotland was reduced from 72 to 59. The same electoral quota, that is to say the average number of voters per constituency, is used in Scotland as in England. On a strict application of that quota there should be 57 seats in Scotland, there are a couple extra because of geographical difficulties.

  12. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    It always annoys me when politicians talk about not wanting “second class MPs”.

    The consequence is that instead of “second class MPs” we have “second class citizens”.

    But, no, they are not actually the UK citizens resident in England because we are fourth class, the pecking order amongst the citizens of the UK being:

    1. Those resident in Scotland, who elect their own Scottish Parliament with powers over an extensive range of devolved matters, plus they elect Westminster MPs who can vote on all of those matters as they apply to England.

    2. Those resident in Wales, who elect their own Welsh Assembly with powers over a less extensive range of devolved matters, plus they elect Westminster MPs who can vote on all of those matters as they apply to England.

    3. Those resident in Northern Ireland, who elect their own Northern Ireland Assembly with powers over a less extensive range of devolved matters, that is when the Assembly is not in a state of suspension, plus they elect Westminster MPs who can vote on all of those matters as they apply to England.

    4. Those resident in England, who apparently do not deserve any form of devolved assembly for England but should instead count themselves lucky that England has not been completely broken up into EU regions, and who apparently need to have MPs elected outside England helping to decide laws which only apply to England.

    Of course the absurdity of this situation is that the fourth class citizens in England are by far the most numerous class of UK citizens, and they each have a vote in elections to the UK Parliament where 82% of the MPs are supposed to be representing them, and which as the supreme legal authority for the UK has the power to rectify this blatant injustice; so if they are sufficiently bothered about their present lowly status within the UK then all they have to do is buck their ideas up and decline to vote for parliamentary candidates who refuse to recognise the problem or promise only half-baked solutions.

    And there is only one way to find out if people in England are sufficiently bothered about it that they would like to have their own elected assembly, a Parliament for England with devolved powers comparable to those of the Scottish Parliament, and that is to ask them directly in a referendum.

  13. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I suppose the stare in your face, divide and rule tactics has not occured to anyone?

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    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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