If Scotland votes Yes… the UK Parliament needs to change the roles of Scottish MPs


I have always assumed Scotland will stay in  the Union. I have defended Scotland’s right to make this decision and have stayed away from their hustings as Conservatives have been advised to do. I would be happy for them to remain in our country.

I have also said we only want them to remain if they are happy to do so and see the value of our union to them. I do  not think it right to threaten them with bad things if they vote for out, nor would I shower them with new promises about what it means to stay in. They know what being in means. They are exploring what being out might mean in this referendum.

Given the narrowing of the polls and the sense of panic in some senior Labour statements, it is now appropriate to offer advice to the government of the rest of the UK in the event of a Scottish decision to leave.

The first thing the UK Parliament should do is pass a short Act. This would say that Scottish members of the Westminster Parliament will no longer vote on any matter  not applying to Scotland, and will take no part in settling the response of the rest of the UK to Scottish withdrawal. It would also cancel the May 2015 General Election in Scotland. Current Scottish MPs would continue for their residual functions until the split of the kingdoms in completed.

There  is no need to delay the General Election in the rest of the UK. The new government for the rest of the UK should be formed from the winners of the election in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The remaining Scottish MPs would be excluded from calculating the majority and would not be eligible to be Ministers.  On Wednesday I will discuss the negotiating position I wish to see from the rest of the UK should Scotland trigger the split.


  1. Mark B
    September 8, 2014

    Good morning.

    But I am not happy being in ‘our’ country (Britain).

    Too late. But I like the idea of marginalising Scots MP’s. Can you get it past your coalition partners ? You have not had much luck so far ?

    1. Robert Taggart
      September 8, 2014

      Not just the LieDims to worry about – what about all those Celtic Carpetbaggers on their own side ? !
      This situation be even worse for Liebore – even after the ‘passing’ of Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton).

    2. clive tackling
      September 16, 2014

      how can we raise now the idea that current mps lose their ‘uk’ jobs and their salaries come 20th september! also immediate dis-association from scotland for all financial trades plus all ‘scottish’ people not allowed to vote because they live south of the mmillliicamm wall are now aliens with no country

  2. Lifelogic
    September 8, 2014

    What a mess Cameron’s Tories will have created if yes if carried. Countless things that need to be considered, borders, currency, defence….. endless scope for yet more parasitic government and taxes should they vote yes, making us all poorer and less competitive again other than the state sector.

    Clearly any deal on the pound (which surely will happen) will have to be agree by the rest of the union who will be underwriting it all. Indeed the English, Welsh and Northern Ireland must get a referendum to approve the whole of the deal.

    The problem is Cameron lost the election and so any hasty such laws will be difficult to get through in a fair form thanks to the Libdems.

    Perhaps though a yes vote will give Cameron an escape route from his current disastrous direction. Rather a heavy price to pay for all of the UK though.

    Reply It was Labour’s devolution settlement which caused the rise of Scottish nationalism and the advent of the platform of the Scottish Parliament. Mr Cameron could not deny Scots a vote once all that had happened and the Scottish Parliament asked for one.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      September 8, 2014

      Reply to Reply–Cameron could and certainly should have said No; perhaps whilst offering to give the Scots Tax raising powers, which for some reason they seem to want. The place we are in is crazy: the SNP wants to retain Queen and Currency and membership of EU and NATO; Scotland already has its own Laws and Church, not to mention its own Parliament now. Taxes on top of that I reckon would have been enough to hold the fort. This is another Cameron misjudgement. In any event, there is patently no significant majority for change and never was (I wrote saying essentially this to the Torygraph an hour ago before reading the above.)

    2. Denis Cooper
      September 8, 2014

      If you recall the position of the UK government was that under the Scotland Act 1998 which established the Scottish Parliament and “executive” those devolved institutions had no legal power to conduct a referendum on whether Scotland should become independent, as anything to do with the Anglo-Scottish Union remained a reserved matter under Schedule 5 of that Act.

      I have little doubt that if Cameron had stuck to his guns on that then the UK Supreme Court would have agreed that any steps by the Scottish institutions to promote independence or hold a referendum on independence would be ultra vires and they would have been ordered to desist, but instead Cameron gave in to Salmond and agreed that the UK Parliament should pass an Order in Council to make a special grant of power so that there could be a referendum.

      Furthermore he weakly agreed that the referendum would be conducted by the SNP-dominated Scottish government under an Act of the SNP-dominated Scottish Parliament, and he agreed that the franchise would be that for the elections to the Scottish Parliament which in EU terminology are “municipal” elections, so including many foreign citizens who happened to be resident in Scotland at the time but excluding many Scottish citizens of the UK who for various reasons happened to be resident outside Scotland at the time, plus younger people who would not be eligible to vote in normal elections.

      The fact that the SNP had won the last elections to the Scottish Parliament on a manifesto which included holding an independence referendum should have been treated irrelevant, as they had promised something which would clearly be beyond their legal powers to deliver under the Scotland Act 1998 and therefore the manifesto was fraudulent as well as having no legal weight.

      However the SNP seem to be able to get away with fraudulent manifestos, which is presumably because their opponents in Scotland are too weak to expose their lies and convince the Scots that the SNP is trying to con them.

      I read here:


      “Looking at how some of the other tracker questions have changed, the Yes Scotland campaign continues to be seen as more positive than Better Together, but now it is also seen as more honest (back in June people thought YES was more positive than NO, but thought NO was being more honest. Now YES leads on both measures).”

      That is a big and now probably insuperable problem, because whatever anybody may say to argue against independence Salmond and the SNP will just say that it is wrong, and most Scots will now give them the benefit of the doubt.

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 8, 2014

        Comment missed for moderation.

    3. Stephen Berry
      September 8, 2014

      Lifelogic is right. If the Scots vote yes, there will be endless acrimonious debates about the fine print of the split and this will in turn engender ill feeling between Scotland and the rest of the UK. The Scots Nats will be further strengthened during this process, of course.

      I don’t think we can blame the present wave of Scottish nationalism on Labour. It goes right back to 1967 when Winifred Ewing won a by-election at Hamilton.

      People on this blog are rightly annoyed when John lists some of the endless meddling and unnecessary laws which emanate from Brussels. I imagine there are many people north of the border who get a similar feeling when Westminster embarks on one of its law making sprees. The Poll Tax springs to mind.

      What are the positives from a Scottish yes vote for the rest of the UK? Presumably fewer Labour governments which always seem to end with the country bankrupt and the other parties cleaning up the mess for five to ten years.

      And will we see a diminution in the meddling in the affairs of other countries? For instance, will Cameron still feel able to tell the government in Baghdad that it should govern more ‘inclusively’? After all, his government will have not been inclusive enough to keep the Scots in the UK!

    4. Anonymous
      September 8, 2014

      Reply to reply: I cannot believe this is happening. Why ?

      Is their no end to Blairist wrecking ?

    5. petermartin2001
      September 8, 2014

      ” It was Labour’s devolution settlement which caused the rise of Scottish nationalism”

      Scottish Nationalism was alive and well before that settlement otherwise there wouldn’t have been any need for it. The settlement has held off independence until now. Whether it can hold it off any longer remains to be seen.

      The Conservative Party, which ought to be the main Unionist Party too, are in the humiliating position of being forced to keep away from Scotland for fear of losing more votes to the yes campaign than they’ll gain for the no campaign.

      How could this have ever been allowed to happen?

      1. Handbags
        September 8, 2014

        The Conservative Party secretely wants Scotland to vote yes – it means Labour will never have a majority again.

        England is Conservative and always has been – it’s the Scots and the Welsh that have supported Labour – the English are better off without them.

        1. Lifelogic
          September 8, 2014

          Well if Cameron want that it is in his hands, he just needs to say he will resign if they say yes and a yes vote will be virtually certain.

        2. Kenneth R Moore
          September 8, 2014

          Indeed it seems the Scots wish is to have a more socialist society. The silver cloud in the referendum is England might have a chance of getting what it votes for a government that acts in a conservative way and makes less concessions to left wing sentimentality.

    6. Sebastian Weetabix
      September 8, 2014

      Hmm. I was born on Clydeside and I have a slightly different view. The most damaging single thing to happen in the last 50 years was imposing the poll tax on Scotland earlier than the rest of the UK when Scotland did not vote for a conservative administration. There was no mandate for it. Overnight the SNP went from a bunch of deluded cranks to getting a sympathetic hearing with their complaints about English overlords colonising the Scots. It was an act of unpardonable folly and it led directly to renewed demands for a Scottish parliament after that had been buried in 1979 (thanks to the very sensible threshold on turnout, inter alia).

      Don’t get me wrong, I am a fervent believer in the Union, but my goodness Westminster does not help itself. Since all the laws now come from Brussels, Scots could be forgiven for wanting to cut out the monkey and deal direct with the organ grinder; additionally Mr Cameron did not help the cause by allowing Salmond to set the date and question, nor by allowing a simple majority with no threshold for turnout. He then compounded the folly by allowing the referendum to be held under European election rules. I was negatively astonished to discover that (for example) Germans resident in Scotland can vote, but Scots living in England, such as me, cannot. How can it possibly be right that the future of this country can be decided by people who are not even British subjects? What loyalty do they have to this country?

      1. sjb
        September 8, 2014

        Do you think the “very sensible threshold on turnout” should apply to the proposed EU in/out referendum, Seb?

        1. Sebastian Weetabix
          September 9, 2014

          Yes, I do. I think there should be an 80% threshold on turnout because in my opinion making major constitutional changes without true majority support is very dangerous.

      2. Lithgae Dave
        September 8, 2014

        It was actually Scottish Tories who pushed for the poll tax being introduced a year earlier. They were reacting to a revaluation of the rates in Scotland which did not apply in England. There is no correlation between the poll tax and the support for the SNP and you’ld have to go back to the 1950s before you could describe the SNP as “deluded cranks”.

        1. Sebastian Weetabix
          September 9, 2014

          You make my point for me. Scottish tories had only 10 seats in the 87-92 parliament – in other words, no popular mandate. Many would argue Mrs Thatcher’s complicity in the destruction of heavy industry was responsible for the loss of esteem of Scots Tories (though I’d say that change was inevitable, whoever was in power, given the rise of lower cost steelmakers and new shipbuilding techniques) but the poll tax can’t be blamed on anyone or anything else.

          Reply Scottish heavy industry declined badly under Labour 1964-70 and again 1974-9 and of course 1997-2010. It was a long term trend which no government managed to arrest.

    7. zephyrus
      September 8, 2014

      Agree with John here. The dreadful devolution settlement is what has led Scotland to this point. The nationalists were absolutely nowhere prior to that and the SNP win at Holyrood was entirely a reaction to the disillusionment with what 13 years of Labour brought. A lot of folk who cling to Labour felt it “safe” to lend the SNP a vote for Holyrood not maybe realising the consequences.

      Theres no way that Cameron could deny the electorate up here a referendum on what was a manifesto commitment by the SNP. I actually think Cameron has behaved impeccably throughout.

      And I dont doubt it will be a no vote either. Where Cameron must get things right is in the aftermath, and I fear it will be a patch up job. Scotland should not be treated differently to the rest of the country, its not fair if it is. And I speak as a Scottish voter..

    8. Max Dunbar
      September 8, 2014

      Reply to reply: You are absolutely correct on this point Dr Redwood.
      Labour were determined to divide and rule but the plan did not go accordingly and their evil, selfish and unpatriotic plotting has rebounded. They have created a monster which cannot be controlled and which may yet break our nation. They supplied the gun and the bullets. The SNP are simply the hit-men.

      There has not been this level of danger since 1940. I said some time ago on this site that the Battle of Britain would have to be fought and Glasgow would be the key city.
      The final battle for our country is about to begin.

    9. Marcus Hunt
      September 10, 2014

      I know it’s not a scientific poll but virtually everyone I talk to about this subject is becoming more and more bitter about it the nearer referendum day gets. Okay, I live in the Cotswolds which is heavily conservative but this has nothing to do with the break up of the Union. The government really needs to start listening to the British people.

      If the Scots vote “Yes”, we want a ‘clean break’ – no appeasing them for years on end or bailing them out every 5 minutes; they’re gone and that’s that. That means Scottish MPs go to. They will be foreign nationals and as such have no right to be in Parliament or vote on UK issues.

      No currency union. The SNP bang on about “mutual interests” but if Scotland leaves, I can see no “interest” for the the rest of the UK in having Scotland as part of our banking system.

      No letting Scotland walk away from it’s debt obligations to start afresh. They helped accrue the UK’s debt as being part of the UK and even if there is no currency union they are still responsible for their part of the debt.

      No assuming all the North Sea oil belongs automatically to Scotland either. Assets will need to be shared proportionally.

      This is just the start of things; things everyday English people are talking about and getting very angry and upset about. Scotland (or should I say Salmond and his cronies) don’t realise what a hornet’s nest of bitterness and resentment they are stirring up in England and, dare I say, the rest of the Union.

    10. clive tackling
      September 16, 2014

      perhaps we should think that uk
      government being to gentle to try keep scots happy. How about go do it and we dis-associate come 20th plus an english government takes charge ex all current scots mps

    11. clive tackling
      September 16, 2014

      why blame now tories when problem comes from past governments. How can you blame and not criticise a situation where juniors are allowed to vote (nearly always anti establishment including family), foreigners (non resident for 20 years) and if a scots country exists then those born scots not currently resident are not allowed to vote on what they can go home to

  3. R Davies
    September 8, 2014

    How do you persuade the Lib Dems to vote for that as excluding Scottish MPs would give the Conservatives a working majority with need for Lib Dem support?

    Reply We don’t need Lib Dems to vote for it as we have a majority without the Scottish MPs. We just need to ensure public opinion makes the Scottish MPs abstain.

    1. Richard1
      September 8, 2014

      This is a good point. Both Labour and the LibDems will resist exclusion of Scottish MPs, they will want them every minute they can. They may also not accept not having the general election in Scotland though that would clearly be the right thing to do.

      I wonder whether we shouldn’t bring the general election forward and have it in October this year? Conservatives should stand on a platform of tough but fair negotiations with an independent Scotland. No currency union, a fair division of oil etc, any banks backed by the UK taxpayer to move their HQs to London.

      Scotland will need a Thatcherite revolution very shortly afterwards to have any hope of financial and economic viability as an independent country. Its going to be interesting at least if it happens, even if we must regret the end of the UK as currently constituted!

    2. stred
      September 8, 2014

      But the remaining Scottish MPs would also block it, as would English Labour and the Lidems. Then they will ensure that no proportional constituency reform can take place and that UKIP and traditional coservative voters will have no control, while the Socialist, Liberal, one world, spend and waste, vote buying, politcal class will. The Lords would also block this move somehow, with their appointed representatives of the above.

    3. Colin
      September 8, 2014

      Reply to JR:

      Yes, but it couldn’t be a Government Bill without the agreement of the Lib Dems, and officials would not be able to work on it – unless we end the Coalition, of course.

    4. Lifelogic
      September 8, 2014

      Giving the break up voters a “Yes” answer to the question gives them a large physiological advantage. This as people just like to be positive and vote “Yes”. “No” is just negative and rather suggests the Scottish are inferior and cannot run their own affairs perhaps as much as a 10% advantage.

      Also giving the votes to 16 year old’s who have hardly ever have paid any tax and rarely understand how the things work was a huge mistake. They are so often shocked when they get their first pay packet by the deductions. Raising the age would be a good move until you have paid income taxes for 5 years perhaps!

      The question should have be do you want this A or that B. It was always likely to more their way as the more they move the more positives they are offered as we see in the panic reaction of the government. The dislike/perhaps envy of the often richer southern English is still often very strong I find. Especially with many of the younger Scottish people. It is too easy for the devolved government to blame any lack of funding on the English and for the voters to be taken in.

      It will be far harder for them to pull this lie post the vote, if they do actually vote yes.

      But why on earth they would want to be under the EU yoke if independent?


    5. R Davies
      September 8, 2014

      Thank you for the reply but MPs so often seem indifferent to public opinion that I am less than sanquine about the chances of the Scottish MPs agreeing to abstain. I imagine that there will be arguments asserting the right of all constituents within the existing, legal, structure of the UK to have representation. A failure to abstain would almost certainly enrage a large section of the English electorate but MPs, or their party leaders, may take the view that any rage will have faded by 2015

    6. ian wragg
      September 8, 2014

      Since when have MP’s bowed to public opinion. They will follow the Whips like good children.

    7. Lifelogic
      September 8, 2014

      “We just need to ensure public opinion makes the Scottish MPs abstain.”

      Will Scottish labour MPs respond to largely UK public opinion, I think it rather unlikely. These fundamental details should have been agreed before granting the referendum, not stitched together afterwards.

  4. Andyvan
    September 8, 2014

    In the event of a Yes vote for Scottish independence the first thing the rest of the UK should do is declare a national holiday in celebration. Perhaps every church bell in England could ring, lots of street parties, pictures of Alex Salmond could be worshiped, that kind of thing.
    Certainly we would have much to be happy about. England would be £9 billion a year better off not having to bribe the Scots socialists, RBS and the other Scots banks that virtually bankrupted Britain would no longer have English taxpayer backing, we would never have another Labour government which would save countless trillions of wasted government expenditure, Gordon Brown could be deported if he came south of the border.
    The advantages are endless. Not least of which would be the greatly lessened ability of British prime ministers to through their weight about abroad. Maybe Dave could stop threatening Russia at Washington’s behest during NATO summits. Less menacing sovereign states that have not done anything to us. Maybe he’s even be able to grow a pair when dealing with Brussels given the decimation of Labour opposition to the referendum.
    Come on you lovely Scots, vote Yes to getting away from your cruel English oppressors and do us all a favour.

    1. waramess
      September 8, 2014


  5. Margaret Brandreth-J
    September 8, 2014

    Listening to an interview on the TV in the far north of Scotland a woman said that Scotland is not for Scottish people any more. Who is it for then? Who will become the next highlanders? In a future possible Scottish independence will the Scots be able to cope with the sweeping tide of change and a Europe who doesn’t care about any other than the more powerful?

  6. Paul H
    September 8, 2014

    Scottish MPs should be excluded from non-Scottish affairs anyway. But I bet it is not tackled even if more powers are handed over following a “no”.

  7. Yorkshire Lass
    September 8, 2014

    Ironic, isn’t it, that the Scots say they want a perpetual Labour government residing over the UK, yet they didn’t even elect Labour for their own Scottish Parliament !

    I would prefer an English Parliament – equality amongst nations in the UK is the way to go. Grumblings that England is too big (you could fit into New York State with room to spare) are nonsense. Keeping England under the cosh of the neighbours has not made the neighbours any happier and is grossly unfair to us. The Scots can go if they want to and if the Welsh increase their demands for independence, tell them the same.
    It’s all very well giving every other nation more power over their own affairs, but when their politicians want to keep their power over England, it just goes to show who are the real victims in this so-called Union. We don’t need friends like these. No thanks.

  8. JoeSoap
    September 8, 2014

    All correct and I think you stopped your hustings when you could see, on here and elsewhere that it was counter-productive and actually wrong for us here in England to say any more than we want you in the Union, but it’s your choice.

    Personally I think there will be a desperate attempt by the establishment first to sway the result in the Union’s favour and then to somehow discredit the ballot, due to the number of ex-pat Scots excluded. But it is really too late. Whether or not the Scots leave, the die is cast.

    The next question is whether we have strong politicians to deal with the fall-out. The answer has to be no. Just from Osborne’s give away yesterday, we can see which way negotiations will go with your guys anywhere near the negotiating button – Have it all and a bit more!

    1. turbo terrier
      September 8, 2014

      You are soooooooooooooo right.

      You will not see the like of JR invited to sit in on the bartering, or any other gifted, experienced politician

  9. Faustiesblog
    September 8, 2014

    Given that the United Kingdom will effectively cease to exist as a legal entity should Scotland secede, surely, our membership of the EU would be null and void and would need to be renegotiated? This is not just a matter of semantics – it also encompasses the people, property and business in the entire UK.

    Furthermore, since Scotland would no longer be part of the new UK, it should have no say in the new UK’s future deliberations with regard to the EU.

    Any bribes / concessions which Osborne might be tempted to wave under the noses of the Scots in order to tempt them to stay, would worsen the already untenable advantages which the Scots enjoy due to the Barnet formula – amongst others.

    Frankly, I can’t wait for Scotland to leave. While I have many Scottish friends, I am sick and tired of the whingeing and whining, the special concessions and pleading, and the socialist sickness with which our association Scotland afflicts England.

    Let them just go.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 8, 2014

      It would be entirely for the other parties to the EU treaties to decide whether they would deem a somewhat diminished UK to still be essentially the same party with which they had originally made the contract, and only demand a few appropriate adjustments to things like voting weight and share of the budget contributions all of which could be made by secondary legislation without treaty change. As far as I’m aware no member state has yet indicated that it would oppose that.

      The position of Scotland would be very different; it would definitely need treaty change to keep/get an independent Scotland in the EU as a new member state in its own sovereign right rather than as just part of a member state, and several member state governments have already warned that they would not be minded to make that easy for Scotland.

  10. NickW
    September 8, 2014

    The reality is that on the recognition of a YES vote, Scotland and England will begin an adversarial relationship that will make them effectively enemies; all that SNP anti-English hatred will achieve fruition.

    As a case in point, it would be negligent not to protect the security of our nuclear submarine bases by ensuring that they could resist an attack by Scottish loyalist military force, and the same would apply to other military bases too. Nobody has thought these things through to the logical conclusions.

    Salmond’s demands would far exceed what would be reasonable and acceptable to the people of England, who would demand extremely forcefully that the negotiation of the separation conditions protected their interests. That factor would absolutely dominate the 2015 election, because at the moment the English have the impression that Westminster is utterly incapable of protecting and promoting the English interest and would give in to all Salmond’s demands and offer even more into the bargain.

    Scotland should know that under no circumstances will the English people agree to give away their heritage without a fight, and the English politicians need to realise that as quickly as possible.

    1. bluedog
      September 8, 2014

      NickW says, ‘As a case in point, it would be negligent not to protect the security of our nuclear submarine bases by ensuring that they could resist an attack by Scottish loyalist military force, and the same would apply to other military bases too. Nobody has thought these things through to the logical conclusions.’

      Perhaps they have, but anyway, right on the money. And it cuts both ways too.

      The northern approaches to the island of Britain are geographically dominated by what we call Scotland. Under no circumstances could rUK devolve responsibility for its northern defence to the secessionist political entity of Scotland. A strategy to ensure UK defence of Britain needs to be devised, with appropriate basing. Its not hard to work out what that entails. Given the emotional baggage and ego of Salmond, one can scarcely imagine Scotland getting itself into NATO. As it is, Scotland needs to be in NATO, but the reverse is not true. Scotland in NATO would be very hard work; all pride and no capability.

      What the Scots fail to realise is that once they are out of the UK their negotiating leverage reduces to zero. One just hopes George Osborne understands this point.

  11. Old Albion
    September 8, 2014

    I agree with what you say JR. If the Scots vote to leave. The Scots need to get out of the rUK business immediately.
    It was indeed Blair’s gov. who gave the Scots Devolution and in doing so put them on the road to independence.
    I have to say it was amusing watching George Osbourne wittering about laying out a new deal on Scottish devolution if they would be good enough to vote ‘no’
    All a bit late George. You’ve had nearly two years to do that. Panic stations i think.
    I hope the Scots leave. Then maybe Westminster will finally address the democratic defecit that affects the country they never recognise …….England.

  12. alan jutson
    September 8, 2014

    Agree absolutely with the action suggested in your post today John.

    But pray tell me who decided that the Conservative members should remain quiet on this subject with regards to the Scottish people.
    Has the Tory brand become so toxic up there it would make sensible comment worse.

    Seems like your wish for the showering of more and more give-aways/bribes if they vote no, is to continue today from all Party’s.
    Not now Devo Max, but almost independence whilst still in the Union if it goes much further.

    I agree we are better together, but not at any cost.

    The Governments usual negotiation stance makes no sense.

    We want to negotiate with the EU but ask for little, Scotland wants to leave us so we promise a huge giveaway not to.

    Has anyone been looking at the negotiation thought process here, or the comparisons to our demands of the EU from Westminster.

    When in negotiations you always ask for more than you want, the threat of leaving is part of that, and then you push to gain at least what you would have settled for, exactly as Mr Salmond has done.

    On our side we look for nothing much from the EU, given Mr Camerons pathetic list of requests. So I do not expect to get much in return !

    1. alan jutson
      September 8, 2014

      Guarantee if Scotland does vote for independence then Westminster will give-away £ Billions (Taxpayer investment Money)

      Westminster has form on this, so do not expect the proper share of the National debt to be settled, for contracts to cease, the removal of government departments back to England, or for the proper leasing agreements to be settled on all government buildings being used.

      It will be like the sale of the Century.

  13. Douglas Carter
    September 8, 2014

    ..’Scottish members of the Westminster Parliament will [or should] no longer vote on any matter not applying to Scotland’….

    It’s also reasonable they’re dispossessed of any powers of scrutiny or representation of treaties or international agreements or settlements to which the remains of the UK will be legally committing to. Including those already in progress or even proceeding to conclusion. Scotland will presumably have its own unique input into such matters independently (with the proviso that non-Scottish MPs will be given the opportunity to settle that in a proper manner which is implied in your piece John).

    …’ and will take no part in settling the response of the rest of the UK to Scottish withdrawal.’…

    That’s entirely fair, however, notionally, those Constituents represented *at that time* by MPs in Scotland still have the remainder of that period in which they have a residual right to proper representation. Should those Scottish MPs wish, they should be given an opportunity to state – on behalf of their constituents – some form of recommended or aspirant set of principles and statutes. No independent Scottish Parliament would be legally bound by that (save any which are already subject to Scottish Law) but in advance of the legislation for Independence, that may serve as a valuable benchmark to progress. Presumably those Lords whose remit is one in Scotland will also need to separate themselves similarly in their own activities.

    I would also be interested – subsequent to a result which might give Scotland independence – to see just how much advance contingency planning the mechanisms of Whitehall and Westminster have put into the matter?

  14. Ian wragg
    September 8, 2014

    I see Gideon was playing fast and loose with English taxpayers money again. Devo Max to appease the whining Jocks. CMD will never introduce legislation to bar Scottish MP’s as he likes the socialist element. The thought of a Tory majority terrifies him.

  15. Nick
    September 8, 2014

    And constituency boundary changes need to be implemented 5 mins after that is passed

  16. Alan Wheatley
    September 8, 2014

    As to “threaten them with bad things if they vote for out”, it all depends on what is meant by “threaten” and “bad’ for whom. I take this will be addressed on Wednesday.

    I hope Wednesday’s post will address the fact that Salmon seems to be getting away with an argument that in the event of a split Scotland will get a benefit from independence AND retain the benefits of Union, such as the currency and defence. While the rest of the UK has no say in Scotland’s decision, we most certainly have a say in determining what will be the new relationship if Scotland votes YES.

  17. formula57
    September 8, 2014

    Whom would you contemplate becomes responsible for negotiating the separation with the Scottish government on behalf of the rest of the UK?

    Clearly, a UK government comprising of or beholden to Scottish MPs could not appropriately undertake such a task and therefore your proposal to exclude MPs from Scotland seems proper. Yet the fundamental nature of the separation might suggest some form of special commission drawn from all parties of the remaining UK might be the most appropriate, rather than the government directly, does it not?

  18. Hefner
    September 8, 2014

    So if the Scots vote no, they will be given more of a say in organising their affairs with some kind of discussion assemblies for debating issues of potential impact on them. Quite a fuzzy promise.
    Could this Scottish referendum be a wake-up call for some MPs like John Redwood to stop only representing the interests of big corporations (see his recent post on the EU talking over the UK ports, when these have been in mostly foreign hands for several years now; see his knee-jerk reaction following like a good doggy Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation in the Lennart Bengtsson’s fuss in May 2014). Could these MPs realise that, for most people in the UK, Osborne’s “improved” economy has not changed a thing in our everyday lives. Living standards have not improved.

  19. Richard1
    September 8, 2014

    I think we will all be surprised by the size of the No vote. It will be like 1992. Pollsters thought Labour were on track to win that election but people wernt happy (understandably) to put Kinnock in no 10, likewise Scots won’t want the preening Mr Salmond lording it over them even more than now. But isn’t the Labour run No campaign completely useless? A reminder if we needed it that these were the nincompoops who gave us the tax borrow and spend driven boom and bust, the foolish bank bailout and great recession. Let’s hope labour don’t slip in in the general election due to a split right of centre vote!

  20. Brian Tomkinson
    September 8, 2014

    JR: “I do not think it right to threaten them with bad things if they vote for out, nor would I shower them with new promises about what it means to stay in.”
    A bit late to say that now as that is precisely how the campaign has been run. Most politicians, including you, have been too complacent throughout. You have all assumed that there will be a vote for Scotland to stay in the UK. Quite clearly, with just 10 days to go, panic has now set in – clearly seen in Osborne’s face on Marr yesterday when he blurted out fresh powers for Scotland but no sharing of the pound – which brings me nicely back to your quoted comment.

  21. A different Simon
    September 8, 2014

    I can understand how the Scottish feel .

    If they leave the Westminster govt will still govern exclusively for the benefit of London rather than England and Wales .

    Time to move parliament out of London so the rest of us get at least a small crack of the whip .

  22. agricola
    September 8, 2014

    After the General Election in 2015, you say that the Westminster Government would comprise MPs from England, Wales, and northern Ireland. This would be logical.

    You then say something I find confusing, concerning the remaining Scottish MPs. What remaining Scottish MPs. After a General Election in the three countries left in the Union there would be no Scottish MPs apart from those belonging to the Scottish Parliament.

    After a yes vote slap in the face from Salmond and his mob in two weeks, I would not want anyone of Scottish origin anywhere near an English constituency. Any negotiation should be with the Scottish Parliament and it’s representatives, not a newly bunch of out of work, P45 waving Scottish MPs.

    As to what any negotiation might give Scotland it should be proportional based on the ratio of respective populations and the same should apply to what they owe in terms of national debt.

  23. Richard
    September 8, 2014

    Paragraph 4 :
    I am not at all certain that such an act could be passed.
    I would not expect the Scottish MPs to abstain as their constituents would be expecting them to vote against this act.
    The Scottish MPs will not be taking into account English public opinion now, if they ever did.

    If Scotland does decide to leave then I am certain that the split will be time-consuming, difficult, messy and acrimonious.

    England will be fleeced, especially if Mr. Cameron is involved in any way.

    1. turbo terrier
      September 8, 2014

      Spot on about the fleecing

  24. JoolsB
    September 8, 2014

    “The role of Scottish MPs has to change if they vote yes” and “Scottish members of the Westminster Parliament will no longer be able to vote on any matters not applying to Scotland”

    This should also equally apply if Scotland vote NO and the disgrace is that it doesn’t already especially when all three parties have promised the Scots Parliament even more powers, including tax raising ones, when they do. No mention from any of them what happens when the Scots Parliament are setting tax rates for Scotland but Scots MPs are still continuing to set tax rates for England. Apparently the skewed Barnet Formula will not be affected either. The irony is lost on all three pathetic, anti English Con/Lab/Lib parties that whilst they will do anything to keep Scotland in this so called union, they continue to ignore England at their peril especially when England is growing more and more resentful at being treated as fourth class citizens in this so called union.

    Cameron and the Tories are idiots to give Scotland devo max whilst continuing to think they can carry on ignoring the English Question and the rotten deal the people who voted them in power continue to get. The Tories’ contempt for England (we expect no better from Labour and the Lib Dums) has blown any chance of them winning the next election. UKIP is England’s only hope of getting a fairer deal from this so called ‘union’. The party calling themselves Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves but from their actions, or lack of them, it is obvious they couldn’t give a stuff about England.

  25. oldtimer
    September 8, 2014

    These are eminently sound proposals.

    The last minute rush to pander to devomax is unedifying. It only serves to reinforce the sense that those of us in the the rest of the UK are 2nd class citizens. Whether the vote is for the Yes or No sides, it is imperative that there is constitutional change for all of us in the UK or what will be left of it.

  26. English Pensioner
    September 8, 2014

    And if Scotland decides to stay, we want much the same changes with Scottish MPs only being allowed to vote at Westminster on those issues which have not been devolved to Scotland.
    It is ridiculous, for example, that Westminster has no say on the running of the Scottish NHS other than providing the funds, but Scottish MPs can vote here on matters relating to the English NHS.
    The same argument also applies to Welsh MPs.

  27. Bill
    September 8, 2014

    Completely agree that this is one of the legacies of the Blair years. There was only marginal support for a Welsh Assembly Government since the vote to establish it succeeded by a tiny majority. Again, it was nationalists who pressed for a ‘yes’ vote and then awarded themselves jobs once it was secured. Derry Irvine, Lord Chancellor, was said to be the person who understood what he was he was doing by tinkering with the Constitution…but there is little evidence that he had any idea of the long-term consequences of his actions. I do not know why we were given a Scottish Parliament with some powers over taxation whereas the Welsh only had an Assembly, with no powers over taxation.

  28. Iain Moore
    September 8, 2014

    Scottish MPs shouldn’t be barred for voting Yes, they should be barred right now, and most definitely if they get Devo Max.

    What right do the Cameron, Clegg and Miliband have to act the Santa Claus to Scotland that is going to mess with my constitutional rights? They come up with constitutional goodies for the Scots at the drop of a hat, but for them to consider English people’s rights is like trying to squeeze blood out of a stone.

    Well make no mistake if Cameron and co offer the Scots income tax setting powers, and still allow the Scots to determine my tax rates, there will be trouble.

  29. Alan
    September 8, 2014

    The Scottish MPs might not agree to a ‘short act’ which removed their powers and cancelled the General Election in Scotland. They might well say they wished to remain members of the UK Parliament until Scotland is independent. They might not want to restrict their activities to matters of concern to Scotland only. They might not accept a government based on MPs elected only from the rest of the UK.

    1. Lifelogic
      September 9, 2014

      Surely they would not.

  30. Martyn G
    September 8, 2014

    Omnishambles is an inadequate descriptor of the situation. Regardless of which way the vote goes Messrs C and O will doubtless heap largess and further authority to Scotland at cost to mainly the English taxpayer.
    I deeply resent the way the governments past and present have colluded with the EU to break up the UK and in particular the removal of England from the map so that we, the English alone, have had our country cancelled out of existence at the behest of the EU and with the supine compliance of our alleged leaders.
    Why is it that one can be proudly vocal about being a native of Scotland, Wales or N Ireland yet to do so for England immediately labels one as a trouble-making, jingoistic nationalist best slandered or, better, simply ignored?

  31. Roy Grainger
    September 8, 2014

    If they vote “No” they also need to change the role of Scottish MPs in exactly the same way because apparently the government is taking “No” to mean “Yes” to a whole raft of Devo Max policies which will massively increase Mr Salmond’s tax and spend powers in all sorts of areas.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      September 8, 2014

      Roy–The way I see it, provided the tax and spend is confined to Scotland, let them get on with it

  32. Bryan
    September 8, 2014

    It is a disgrace, worthy of the EU, that Scottish MP’s vote on matters that affect neither their country nor their own constituencies . At least, I understand, SNP MP’s abstain at such times.

    How the Coalition has allowed this to miscarriage of democracy to continue without correction beats all!

    On reflection, ‘disgrace’ is too mild, but to say other would be to upset our host.

  33. Denis Cooper
    September 8, 2014

    I’m sorry, JR, but your proposals are not only totally illogical but tactically unwise if like me you wish to preserve the Union.

    The referendum on September 18th is about whether those voting would like Scotland to revert to the status of an independent sovereign state at some point in the future.

    If the answer is “yes”, then that point in the future will be determined by an Act of the UK Parliament to terminate the Treaty of Union. There is no reason at all why the UK Parliament should consider itself bound by some arbitrary date specified by Salmond, indeed there is no legal reason why it should even pass the Act at all. Once again recall that at one time the SNP itself argued that the referendum would only be advisory and would have no legal effect on the Union.

    So in the event of a “yes” vote the process of negotiating whatever new arrangements would apply could stretch out over years, and as people in Scotland would have voted in more or less complete ignorance of what those new arrangements would be it could even be argued that the UK Act to dissolve the Union should not come into effect unless and until it had been directly approved by the Scots in another referendum conducted by the UK government.

    Would you be happy for the Scots to vote for independence on the promise that they would keep the pound, “It’s our pound and we’re keeping it”, only to find that by the time Scotland became independent it was legally committed to joining the euro?

    On the other hand the referendum on September 18th is not about whether those voting would like their Westminster MPs to be stripped of powers prior to independence while they were still citizens of the UK who happened to be resident in Scotland, something which of course could have justifiably been done at any time since devolution but which would be seen as an unreasonable and spiteful reaction to their “yes” vote and therefore boils down to just the kind of threat you say should not be made.

    Nor is the referendum on September 18th about whether those voting would prefer not to have the opportunity to vote in new MPs to represent them in the UK Parliament at the same time as the rest of the citizens across the UK; they would still be citizens of the UK in May 2015, indeed potentially they could still be citizens of the UK in 2020 or 2030 or forever, so why should they be excluded from the next UK general election?

    Reply If Scotland votes Yes then it will be binding on all of us and we need to get on with sorting it out as quickly as possible, given the uncertainties it causes in so many areas.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 8, 2014

      Yes, but the UK citizens in Scotland would still be UK citizens throughout that process, which could stretch out over years, and you must surely see that it would be wrong to even partially strip them of their civil rights during that period.

    2. Monty
      September 8, 2014

      “The referendum on September 18th is about whether those voting would like Scotland to revert to the status of an independent sovereign state at some point in the future.”

      Denis the voters have been given to understand that their independance would become finalised within a couple of years of the Yes vote. That is what Salmond has repeatedly said, and that will be what they have voted for. It will be incumbent upon all parties to aim for that general timescale. There will be no mileage in trying to drag the thing out for donkey’s years, the transitions will have to be expedited.

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 9, 2014

        Salmond is the First Minister of a devolved government exercising powers delegated by the UK Parliament, and he has no authority even to promise people in Scotland that a “yes” vote would lead to independence let alone set a timescale; the fact that some people in Scotland mistakenly believed that this would all be in his gift if they voted “yes” is irrelevant.

        Reply Yes will mean independence.

        1. Denis Cooper
          September 10, 2014

          If it’s a narrow Yes then it will more likely mean protracted legal challenges to the result, and rightly so given that Cameron used secondary UK legislation:


          to give large numbers of people who are not citizens of the UK the right to vote on whether the UK should be broken up while denying the right to vote to large numbers of UK citizens of Scottish descent who happened to be resident outside of Scotland at the time.

  34. Man of Kent
    September 8, 2014

    In the late 40’s early 50’s I, an English boy ,attended a co-educational high school in Fife.

    We lived on the coast in a conservative and unionist constituency and schooled in a strong labour mining area. The differences between the families in the two separate areas were huge.

    The’ miners’ were broadly anti-Churchill ,the Monarchy and pro a continuation of rationing on the basis of fairness ,Labour /Communist in politics.

    The teaching at that time was excellent [the staff were not then unionised] and we were warned that ‘if ye dinnee pass yer Highers you’ll go doon the pit ‘
    Many did pass their Highers and went on to great things I met some later ,in the Army and expat life abroad.

    For those remaining in Scotland too many seemed to revert to their basic roots and Conservative MPs became fewer and fewer. There was a time when the Queen was booed down Princes Street.

    It seems to me that so much has been achieved together in spite of the narrow-minded views of the welfare -dependant, Labour/SNP ‘miners’. Surely common- sense will prevail and the Union will continue.

    But I don’t underestimate the deep-rooted anti English sentiments which surface on occasions ,for example when England play football.
    I was in an Edinburgh pub when England played Argentina in the World Cup. I was very much the minority and wondered what the 40 odd soldiers of the Scots Guards lying dead on Tumbledown thought of their compatriots .

  35. Elliot Kane
    September 8, 2014

    Sounds extremely sensible, John. The best solution I’ve seen to date.

  36. Dee
    September 8, 2014


    I think if Scotland votes No…the UK Parliament needs to change the roles of Scottish MPs as well!

    Doesn’t the West Lothian question still apply John?

  37. Sir Graphus
    September 8, 2014

    Whatever happens, please resist the bubbling narrative that power will also need to be devolved to the English regions. This is means of further diminishing England’s influence dressed up as democracy. When ask in referenda whether they want this, the English say no. Just because Scotland administers itself, it doesn’t follow that England wishes to be split into Scotland sized parcels, or that this is the most efficient size for an administrative area. England wants to stay together.

  38. Ron
    September 8, 2014

    If the border areas vote strongly No, should they be allowed to vote on joining the UK?

    1. Leslie Singleton
      September 8, 2014

      Ron–I have been to the Borders five times this year and they will vote strongly No, Thanks.

  39. Roy Grainger
    September 8, 2014

    John – I have asked this questions before but it is now more pertinent. On what basis can comprehensive Devo Max powers be granted to Scotland without a referendum both in Scotland (on whether they want to accept them) or in the rest of the UK (on whether they want to grant them) ? As far as I know they were not in the manifesto of any party at the last election. Isn’t it a bad precedent for constitutional powers like that to be altered without a vote ?

  40. Peter Davies
    September 8, 2014

    Taking your first point I believe regardless of whether or not Scotland says yes or no that an act needs to be passed preventing ANY MP from voting on any legislation unless it applies to their own constituency – that’s what the constituency link is for.

    An MP representing one part of the UK where laws have been devolved has no business voting for laws which don’t apply to them, you would have thought they would have the decency to know this and party whips would behave accordingly.

  41. bluedog
    September 8, 2014

    Excellent summary and recommendations, Dr JR.

    Perhaps you can also point out to George Osborne that offering down your own position, or bidding against yourself, is invariably a negotiating disaster. Thus, Osborne’s bribe of more good things for Scotland if the vote is No simply validates the assertion of the Yessers that Scotland is getting a raw deal.

    One is astonished that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could make such an elementary mistake.

    1. Lifelogic
      September 8, 2014

      Indeed you are saying the more you move to yes the more you will get.

    2. JoeSoap
      September 8, 2014

      This is just a taster for what would happen in the misconceived view that a fair EU referendum might happen in 2017. Can you imagine the lengths Cameron and Osborne will go to preserve the status quo?

  42. Steve Stubbs
    September 8, 2014

    What about the Lords?

    Surely we cannot have a Lord Mick of the Gorbals and other Scottish Lords still in Parliament after separation?

    1. Lifelogic
      September 8, 2014

      Indeed clear out all Cameron’s token women etc. members too.

  43. Robert Taggart
    September 8, 2014

    English votes for English matters.
    Simples. Sorted. Now then – get on with it – while the going is good !

  44. Jane
    September 8, 2014

    I do not think the Labour Party would agree to this proposal. They have so many MPs from Scotland and Ed Miliband wants the keys to No 10. I would prefer to delay the election although realise this would again be unacceptable to the Labour Party. I prefer this option as it was that party that set up the devolved administration and it was apparently water tight to block nationalist ever holding power. A real successful operation! It follows they will want the election to go ahead to include all parts of the UK and I fear for their negotiation skills on all matters. I want to be protected as a taxpayer and feel very strongly about the issues that the SNP want to retain as an independent country.

  45. John Wrake
    September 8, 2014

    Another incoherent response to events.

    No doubt, Conservatives were advised to stay out of the debate quite rightly, since their opinions on Scottish matters have been reduced to near zero by lack of representation.

    But who agreed the terms of this rubbish referendum if it wasn’t a Conservative Prime Minister? Votes given to 16-year-old people in Scotland, even if the have only just arrived; votes denied to those with Scottish ancestry who happen to be out of the country on 18 September; votes denied to the English, Welsh and Northern Irish who represent the others who are party to the Union, choice of the wording ceded to those in favour of a split, the whole exercise reeking of political chicanery.

    They are not exploring what being out might mean in this referendum. They are being led by the nose to vote ‘out’ by cynical leaders who conceal what independence involves, in order to squeeze more bribes to remain from a government without either knowledge or principle.

    Who is to blame for this mess? We all are, for allowing traitors to rule us, for accepting their lies and for embracing the apathy which prevents any correction.

    John Wrake.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      September 8, 2014

      Don’t forget votes given to the 120,000 EU citizens who currently live in Scotland.

  46. Tad Davison
    September 8, 2014

    If the Scots leave the union, the problems for what remains of the UK won’t end there. The call for a united Ireland could and most probably will be resurrected along with all the unrest and civil disturbances of the past. Such a strange irony though, that the fragmentation of the nation state and the partition that has been forced upon other countries, might now affect the United Kingdom itself.

    Tad Davison


    1. Chris S
      September 8, 2014

      Why are so many people getting worked up over Scottish Independence ?

      If the Scots vote to leave a massive drain on resources will be gone as will a largely socialist group of people.

      England, standing alone without Wales and NI would still be the fourth largest country within the EU by population, the third largest economy and the only one that is currently growing. We will also remain more than capable of looking out for ourselves with the most flexible and capable armed forces.

      When it all goes horribly wrong and the Scots ask to be let back into the UK we must insist on a Referendum in England to decide the issue. My guess the answer will be no !

    2. bluedog
      September 8, 2014

      At some point a statesperson will hopefully arise within the British Isles who can think beyond the vanity of small differences self-evident in your own post.

      The original union of the British peoples (includes Ireland) was undertaken somewhat forcibly by monarchs who could think strategically. These individuals had an appreciation of the geo-politics of western Europe, sought to secure both sides of the Channel with their own land-holdings, and negotiated an enduring alliance with Spain to mitigate the power of France. The only thing that has changed is that we have finally made peace with France, the geography remains the same.

      England also remains the hegemonial power in the British Isles and has in fact increased its position on a relative basis. But England has vulnerabilities, and needs the goodwill of Ireland and Scotland to be secure and prosperous. The first Union of the four nations of the British Isles failed in 1916 with the Easter Rising. The Scots sneeringly talk of rUK, but they have been a key part of rUK for 98 years. What we need now is a political leader who can offer a federal political structure to the four nations and re-unite them under a new constitution and with a new federal capital. The symbolism of a new capital is important, because a new capital is neutral. London suffers by being the capital of England, so that implicitly the UK has seemed to the smaller nations as an English empire.

      The UK needs to end that point of contention in order to regain the support of Scotland and a united Ireland within a new political entity. Everything else is secondary importance, including membership of the EU. It is essential for the British government to remain focussed on a solution to the disaster that is the fragmentation of the Union over the past 98 years.

      1. APL
        September 10, 2014

        bluedog: “The symbolism of a new capital is important, because a new capital is neutral.”


  47. Richard
    September 8, 2014

    Sometimes a clean break is better for both parties.

    Personally I would prefer Scotland to remain part of the union, but it’s really up to them to decide and us to deal with the fallout.

  48. a-tracy
    September 8, 2014

    The divorce would certainly mean a lot more to English people than is being considered, it will be more than just a new flag and I cannot see how we can continue as the United Kingdom if we are no longer united and I don’t think ‘Britain’ is a suitable alternative. The newspapers say their won’t be border forces and passport control but how can there not be if the Scots chose open immigration policies and no nuclear protection for our island from the North? Divorces are always so messy when finances are entwined as for saying they will walk away from debts if they can’t keep the pound what do they think the rest of the nation think about that “oh, ok Scotland off you go with your pot of gold”. I’m beginning to think the rest of the union is being treated as mugs and I’m a better off together person, we were the first to bail out Ireland another country that crows about their independence but runs to us with their pockets out when they’re broke.

    In your article about the spare room subsidy, how many of the MPs that voted against were Scottish and if they weren’t in the vote would there have been a majority? The biggest mistake the government made in that was by not having enough smaller homes for people to move to within their neighbourhood. I know three people that downsized all happier now for various reasons: lower bills, more company and friendship of their own age, less gardening and cleaning. If the Scottish don’t have a problem with waiting lists for larger homes for families that are overcrowded as we do in England then let them make their own decisions over their social housing, but also ask them to pay more taxes than we do in England to pay for the excess housing payments and B&B payments for families.

  49. Bob
    September 8, 2014

    If Scotland leaves the UK and join the EU, how much independence would they achieve?
    Any changes would be temporary as the EU continues it’s hegemony, Scotland would soon become a minor region of the EU. It’s influence within the EU would be negligible, as is ours.

    I find the whole thing quite puzzling. They seem to be driven by a seething hatred of the Tory Party (something I’m not unsympathetic to!)

    1. Lifelogic
      September 8, 2014

      Certainly there is a hatred of the Tory Party everywhere, with its current defective compass leadership. Also a proven election losing direction to boot.

  50. John Traynor
    September 8, 2014

    As soon as the Yes vote is calculated, independence exists. No need for your petulant bitter little bill. The Tories will be out of Scotland, for ever. Good riddance.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 8, 2014

      “As soon as the Yes vote is calculated, independence exists.”

      No it doesn’t. Whether the vote on September 18th is No or Yes the Treaty of Union will still be force on September 19th, and on September 20th, and so on, unless and until it is terminated by an Act of the UK Parliament.

      Frankly I’m staggered that there are people who still don’t understand this.

      Reply We are surprised you cling to the legal texts when clearly the whole position changes the moment it is announced – if that is their will – that Scotland wants to be independent. The will of the people matters and will be enforced.

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 8, 2014

        And how would it be enforced? By an Act of the UK Parliament, that is how; otherwise the Treaty of Union would continue in force.

        It’s not a matter of wanting to “cling to the legal texts”, it’s a matter of the legal procedure which would obviously be required to dissolve the Union.

        Or do you suppose it would be OK for Salmond to stand up the day after a “yes” vote and make an illegal unilateral declaration of independence?

        Reply He has no need to, as the UK Parliament will set about repeal the Act of Union on completing the negotiations. They will be honour bound to negotiate in good faith for separation.

        1. JoeSoap
          September 8, 2014

          “They will be honour bound to negotiate in good faith for separation.”
          I don’t think life will be quite that simple…. perhaps absent ex-pats could raise a case that their wishes according to their birth rights are being ignored?

        2. Denis Cooper
          September 8, 2014

          And would the terms of that new Act to repeal the Acts of Union and for many connected purposes be put to people in Scotland for their approval in a referendum, and also to people in the rest of the UK for their approval in a referendum? Because it is unlikely that the final terms of separation would much like the scenario that has been presented to the Scots by the SNP – for starters, no continuing currency union with the rest of the UK but instead a legally binding pledge to join the euro – and surely the people in the rest of the UK should also have their direct say on whatever the UK government and Parliament was proposing to give to the Scots?

        3. acorn
          September 8, 2014

          This is Question 4 in the “Sixteen Questions” document.

          “Both the Scottish and Westminster parliaments may have a role to play in giving a legislative footing to the negotiations and both would have a key role in scrutinising the process. This creates an ambiguous position for those MPs representing Scottish constituencies who would still be sitting in Westminster until the point of independence. There would be strong pressure to curtail their rights to participate in any part of the scrutiny process – and to curtail their right to participate in and vote on other matters not directly affecting Scotland. The parliaments would also have to ratify the outcome of negotiations, including passing legislation to give effect to independence, as well as any legislation required to put in place agreements related to shared institutions between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

          http://www.futureukandscotland.ac.uk/sites/default/files/papers/Scotland%27s%20Decision%20final%20ebook.pdf .

          My legal person tells me separating the Law is going to need some thinking about. English Common Law is separate to Scottish Common Law. UK Statutes like The Human Rights Act 1998, the Scotland Act 1998 and the European Communities Act 1972 have been absorbed into the Common Law by the Courts. Apparently, this means parliament could repeal those Statutes; but, the Courts in both countries are unlikely to remove them from the Common Law.

          That sounds like a winner for the little peoples’ protection from a megalomaniac government.

        4. cosmic
          September 8, 2014

          Reply to reply.

          How much good faith do suppose there would be when Mr. Salmond has assured his followers that there will be a currency union with the UK and both Mr. Cameron and Mr. Miliband have categorically ruled that out for perfectly obvious reasons? Mr. Salmond has dismissed this as “bullying” and suggested that his response will be to renounce the Scots’ share of the UK debt.

          Generally, it appears that Mr. Salmond has encouraged people to believe that there will be brought about a sort of independence (creating a separate sovereign state) where only those things they find it convenient to change will change, and then on their terms; really a sort of Supercharged Devo Max.

          There appears to be a widespread belief that the new Scottish state would suddenly appear as an EU member with hardly a ripple, and any attempt to point out that this just isn’t so, and would anyway involve joining the Euro, is “Tory scaremongering and bullying”.

          Also note that the UK government would also be honour bound to negotiate solely for the best interests of the remaining UK, not for a quiet life, which would be tempting in view of the amount of disillusionment bound to set in in Scotland and Mr. Salmond’s view, which seems to be uncritically accepted, that anything less than full compliance with his wishes is “bullying”.

          This whole thing looks set to be positively oozing good faith.

        5. APL
          September 8, 2014

          JR: “We are surprised you cling to the legal texts when clearly the whole position changes the moment it is announced.”

          This of course is nonsense, it’s probably CCO talking, hoping to scare Scots into voting ‘no’. I wonder who the ‘we’ might be?

          The desire to be independent may or may not be expressed on September 18, but the actual legal instrument to dissolve the treaty of union will still need to pass through both houses of Parliament. Until then the two kingdoms of England and Scotland will still be united.

          Reply All MPs will feel bound to pass the legislation by the vote of the Scottish people, so it all changes the day after the vote. This is not a line I have taken from CCHQ but my line.

      2. Lifelogic
        September 8, 2014

        What about the will of the English?

      3. John Traynor
        September 8, 2014

        You can blather on about procedure if you wish, but if there is a Yes vote then independence exists; political niceties of the London parliament are irrelevant.

  51. Vanessa
    September 8, 2014

    What a sensible, measured response to all the hype on the Scottish referendum. I agree with all you say.

    I think Cameron is showing his panic by constantly offering so much if they vote “no” which makes me cross. They should already know how lucky they are to be part of the UK and not need bribing.

    The problem is if they do vote “yes” and insist on using the pound sterling and a Scottish bank gets into trouble in future, the Bank of England will hardly be able to stand on the side lines and let it happen so our taxes will inevitably AGAIN be used to bail them out. Not an ideal situation, we are not Germany !!

    1. JoeSoap
      September 8, 2014

      Oh yes we will, unless the bank moves its HQ South, and then it will have to tidy up its liabilities first…. courtesy of Mr Salmond’s Scottish government…

  52. Martin C
    September 8, 2014

    John, you are absolutely correct about the need for the short act that you describe and the urgent need to circumscribe the ability of Scottish MPs to affect the way in which rUK addresses its approach to Scottish devolution.
    There is however no way that Scottish Labour and Lib-Dem MPs would allow such a short act to be passed. You would need sovereign intervention, I should think, to get that act through parliament.

  53. Dan
    September 8, 2014

    And why would the Scottish MPs abstain?
    Honour, as we all know, is in short supply in the House of Commons.

  54. Tad Davison
    September 8, 2014

    Posted here because of its relevance to today’s topic, but essentially in reply to something Richard 1 said yesterday.

    Just as an aside, and hopefully an interesting one. Ageism is frowned upon, but it usually only applies to the higher end of the spectrum. One strand of thought suggests that if sixteen-year-olds can now vote in the Scottish referendum, shouldn’t they also be entitled to such things as equal rates of pay?

    If Scottish sixteen-year-olds are considered responsible enough to help to decide their nation’s future, should they not also have an equal stake in it?

    Tad Davison


  55. Demetrius
    September 8, 2014

    And what about the House of Lords? An Act or clauses for there should also deal with the question of subsidiary titles in England for persons who are essentially Scottish peers.

  56. A Konstam
    September 8, 2014

    Errant nonsense. As a Scot, I”m be voting No. I’m already hopping mad that thanks to the separatists I might be stripped of my passport, and my British citizenship. If David Cameron was taking legal flak for threatening to revoke the passports of a few British-born jihadists, how much more outrageous is it to strip millions of British citizens of theirs, just because their fanatical neighbours vote for it? We already face being stripped of national identity and passports. The last thing we need is a former cabinet minister Tory chipping in, threatening to deprive us of our vote as well!

    Reply If your country votes to be independent then these changes follow naturally from the Scottish wish.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 8, 2014

      No, they do not follow naturally from a vote about independence at some point in the future which is purely consultative and has no legal effects at all. You are very much jumping the gun and making a patently unfair proposal, which if noticed in Scotland may make it more likely that the vote will go the wrong way.

      Reply What is unfair about it? The vote will be binding.

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 8, 2014

        The vote itself will have no legal effect, as you know.

        Reply It has a crucial political effect. Politicians are elected to change laws and in this case will do so.

        1. Bob
          September 8, 2014

          “Reply It has a crucial political effect. Politicians are elected to change laws and in this case will do so.”

          These things take time, there’s a lot of complex issues that need to be considered. It can’t happen overnight. Maybe the two parties will be unable to agree terms for the split and it will need to be put to another vote.

          Reply I doubt it! Yes means Yes.

          1. Denis Cooper
            September 8, 2014

            Even if it proves to be Yes to a false prospectus?

            The SNP assures the Scots that they would keep the pound and there would be a continuing currency union, and they are voting on that basis. You assure us that there would not be a currency union, and as a new member state of the EU Scotland would have to pledge itself to adopt the euro. So would you vote to dissolve the Union even though you knew that the Yes had been obtained by false pretences?

          2. Lindsay McDougall
            September 9, 2014

            I can remember a French Referendum that approved the Maastricht Treaty by 51% to 49%. Pro-EU Leon Brittain was quickly out of the traps: “A yes is a yes.”

            The problem with referendums is that they are repeated until the ‘right’ answer is given.
            – Will there ever be a 4th Irish referendum on divorce?
            – Will there ever be a 3rd Irish referendum on the Lisbon ‘Treaty’?
            – Will there ever be a 2nd referendum in Northern Ireland on the Good Friday Agreement? One that asks for a back door amnesty for murderers?

          3. Bob
            September 9, 2014

            Reply to reply: Yes to what though?
            A series of negotiations towards greater independence.
            It can’t possibly happen in an instant. It takes time.

  57. Monty
    September 8, 2014

    I support your proposals concerning the Scottish members of the Commons. I would also add that similar prohibitions should also be applied to all members of the House of Lords, and senior ranks of the civil service, who qualified for a vote in this referendum.

  58. Bert Young
    September 8, 2014

    I have been away for a couple of weeks and have missed much of the news concerning Scottish independence . I am saddened that the polls now give the “Yes” vote a lead and at the views expressed by the various pundits indicating the economic decline that would follow were this to happen . Devolution was a bad mistake in the first place ; equally Cameron should never have allowed the referendum to occur – he should take the hit whatever happens . While away I was heartened greatly by the defection of Douglas Carswell to UKIP and I endorse strongly the views expressed by Lord Tebbit and Rees Mogg . I have no doubt that a major shift is now required in the political scene to more accurately reflect the disatisfaction that exists in the country . I most strongly object to the “giveaways ” now being promised to the Scots ; as for the distribution of North Sea oil resource and income , I want to see an immediate reallocation to reflect geography , investment and ownership .

  59. James Matthews
    September 8, 2014

    In this context what the main UK parties should do, sadly, seldom bears much relationship to what they actually do or will do. As they panic and, quite unnecessarily, prepare to shower more powers on Holyrood and Alex Salmond , not even a nod from their leaders towards the need for balancing powers to be given to the English electorate. For the record let me express my outrage at this (much good will it do anyone).

    You at least acknowledge the Problem Mr Redwood, though you do not go far enough, but you are one voice amongst more than 500 MPs sitting for English constituencies. Where are the others?

  60. Peter Stroud
    September 8, 2014

    A very sensible idea, that should be heeded by the government.

  61. Iain Gill
    September 8, 2014

    You need to be very careful about the vast numbers of people Scotland will hand passports out to who would not be entitled to British citizenship. These are all going to be able to pass over the border freely. And many will make their way to South East England where they jobs are. This needs rapid action, or we will have another immigration crisis on our hands to add to the countless ones we already know about.

  62. qubus
    September 8, 2014

    I find that the fact that, just for example, a Chinaman working in Scotland could have a vote in the referendum, but not someone born and bred in Scotland but now living and working outside Scotland should have no vote appalling.
    Incidentally, I was in Cyprus recently and told by a usually reliable source, that the Chinese are now eligible for Cypriot citizenship if they buy a property in Cyprus. Does that mean that they automatically become EU citizens with the right to settle in the UK? Surely, that cannot be correct?

  63. Paul
    September 8, 2014

    The question is if Scotland votes to leave will Cameron be forced to resign? It is extremely difficult to see how he could carry on having lost Scotland, as well as a range of other failings, such as being forced into an EU referendum pledge, reducing Conservative membership by half since taking over and failing to meet his net migration target pledge.

    1. Duyfken
      September 8, 2014

      Much damage has already been done, greatly due to incompetent handling by Cameron’s government. Whichever way the vote goes, Cameron should be forced out.

  64. forthurst
    September 8, 2014

    “Current Scottish MPs would continue for their residual functions until the split of the kingdoms in completed.”

    I could not agree less. Sitting Scottish MPs should be deported immediately or at the very least barred from entry to the Palace of Westminster on a Yes vote; the same would apply to members of the Lords who are resident in Scotland.

    The first motion for debate following a Yes result should be a confidence motion to get rid of Cameron’s government and replace it with a government of English patriots. We should also remember that Salmond’s Infantry are a lot closer than Vlad the Bad’s, so perhaps rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall should take priority over HS2.

  65. Denis Cooper
    September 8, 2014

    This is just the sort of thing that raises hackles in Scotland and over decades has led us to the point where the country may break up to the detriment of all concerned.

  66. Tad Davison
    September 8, 2014

    I see Gordon Brown is in Scotland today, trying to change the minds of Scottish Labour voters who have indicated they might vote for independence.

    Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel! The ‘No’ side must be really desperate if they wheel out this failed politician, who probably did more than anyone to wreck the Scottish as well as the British economy. I stopped short of calling him ‘gormless Gordon’. There was nothing stupid about what he did when he sold our gold at a knock-down price, he knew EXACTLY what he was doing, and who was ultimately going to benefit from the sale. It sure as hell wasn’t the UK tax-payer!

    Unless the ‘No’ campaign really WANTS to lose this battle, they’ll need to do better than Gordon Brown! I used to hear Brown speak as Chancellor and then as Prime Minister, and my reaction has always been the same, and I’m afraid I let my working class roots show through!

    He’s got zero credibility. etc ed
    Tad Davison


    Reply The No campaign wanted Mr Brown to act for them because he is revered by Labour heartland voters in Scotland who have a different view of his achievements to you or me.

  67. a-tracy
    September 8, 2014

    ok John, having just watched the news and Gordon Brown promising more Devo Max on behalf of all Westminster party leaders, what are those same Westminster party leaders offering England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

    Why are they suddenly a special case, are our teenagers going to get free tuition at university, as we going to get free prescriptions or do we need to start to vote for nationalist parties to get our fair share?

  68. Iain Gill
    September 8, 2014

    Listening to Gordon Brown tonight I have to say if I lived in Scotland I would vote for independence. When exactly did the English people agree to all this extra stuff Scotland is being promised if they vote no? Its exactly the reverse of democracy to have the Scottish minority dictating to the English majority what goes on.

  69. Chris S
    September 8, 2014

    I hope Scotland votes to leave the UK for all the reasons others have said but I don’t think it would be right or fair to exclude Scottish MPs from parliament or to cancel the GE in Scotland.

    Scottish MPs should only be excluded from the chamber when MPs from the rest of the UK are discussing and voting on English matters and, most important, when debating and voting on the English negotiation position.

    The GE is a tricky question. I am a Conservative, but for reasons of fairness, I believe that the election should go ahead as planned including Scotland. We should then hold a second election on the date of Scottish Independence comes into effect.

    That new Government will be tasked with sorting out Devolution for England Wales and NI with English MPs sitting as the English Parliament.

    My only concern in the negotiations is that if Labour win in 2015 they will have a vested interest in being over-generous to Scotland as they will want to win power in the newly-independent country.

    We have ample proof that they have no idea how to run an economy, so they are more than capable of selling us down the river.

    Reply I disagree strongly. You leave out Welsh and N.Irish MPs who have every right to help English MPs govern the remaining country and settle our join negotiating position with Scotland. Scottish MPs should play no part in non Scottish matters after a referendum Yes.

    1. Chris S
      September 9, 2014

      I made a slip : I should have said “British” negotiating position. Of course NI and Welsh MPs should be involved in deciding our negotiating position with Scotland.

      We must not forget that England will remain the only Nation within the Union without an assembly to decide purely English affairs.

      This has to be it right, whatever the outcome on the 18th.

  70. ian
    September 8, 2014

    Scotland voting yes is a nation committing suicide, why would you do that when you all ready collecting a ransom of 1500 pounds per person, which will only go up. I think there a small risk of scotland voting yes, that why they call them the canny scots. If they vote yes they will be call the canny scots no more.

  71. ian
    September 8, 2014

    Only two vote for you yesterday john, I was not pleased with the result, how about you

  72. They Work for Us?
    September 8, 2014

    Why oh why is it that if the English at long last try to stand up for themselves, there is immediate criticism that we are terrible people and not nice. The only way we can be accepted as nice is when we let people walk all over us.
    The other day I naively asked why we paid steep tuition fees, and prescription charges when Scotland and Wales did not? Devolved powers are not a proper answer. What is it we get in England that is so good, that Scotland and Wales do not get, that compensates for these charges. The answer I suspect is NOTHING. Why did Westminster MPs vote to inflict these charges on England. The answer I suspect is because they could and it was needed to balance the books so that Scotland and Wales could receive extra subsidy.
    ? Any answers someone ? Who protects English interests?

    1. a-tracy
      September 9, 2014

      This is what the rest of the United Kingdom should be debating openly in the next week and a half that our weak leadership is throwing sweeties to the Scots to stay. This is causing bad feeling down South. If the Conservatives don’t hear it then they are deaf to their voters and they will not only lose Scotland but lose their seats in the next election when someone starts to stand up for the reluctant divorcee.

      Just why did the UK have to jump in and bail out the independent Ireland? How is the repayment schedule for the £8 billion going. All I hear on the news is what the Scots are going to get, well who is going to outline what our response will be because they need to know they aren’t going to walk all over us and if they divorce us don’t expect a nice clean break because if the rest of the UK government don’t stand up for us we have an election coming up when we’ll choose people who will.

  73. ian
    September 8, 2014

    Up date on fracking in the usa. 60 companies, debt so far 190 billion and counting, peak fracking will come in two years time and then the debt will pick up, all down hill from 2017,a handful of companies have made a bit of money. Maybe they will switch to newyork in 2020.

  74. APL
    September 8, 2014


    How do you think an individual will be treated when hitherto issued by the British government, after partition – will the citizen be given a choice to be British, English or Scots?

    Glancing at my Passport, at the top it has the European Union, next the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    So, ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’ means England and Scotland in this context*, if the United Kingdom is dissolved, that’d suggest to me, ( contrary to my previous thoughts ) that the United Kingdom would no longer exist, and we’d be England and Scotland … which further implies that the UK is out of the European Union on a ‘Yes’ vote.

    *Neither Wales nor Northern Ireland are considered Kingdoms.

    1. Monty
      September 9, 2014

      APL, the position of member states after secession of a territory of that state, is covered by one of the EU Treaties, and it’s fairly clear that the rUK would become the continuating member state after Scottish Independance. Scotland would then be brand new state, most likely applying to join the Council of Europe, the EU, and ultimately the Eurozone, and the Schengen zone.
      It would seem logical that post split, entitlement to citizenship should be predicated on whether the individual was qualified to vote in this referendum. If you did, you would be Scottish by default, if not, you would be British by default.

  75. Max Dunbar
    September 8, 2014

    I find this article very depressing. You start it by referring to the Scots as if they are temporary guests in the UK by saying ‘I would be happy for them to remain in our country’.

    Who has advised you to stay away from ‘their hustings’?

    And then to list all the things that will need to be done with what’s left of the UK after a YES result smacks of defeatism at this critical point. Poor judgement on this occasion Dr Redwood and bad for morale.

    You have just over a week to get yourself up here and show face. This is your country too. You stand to lose 10% of the population and a third of the land mass. 400,000 people voted Tory here. You owe it to them. Don’t let us down in the hour of need.

    1. a-tracy
      September 9, 2014

      Max a heavily Scottish cabinet (40% Scottish) ran this Country for ten years from 1997 to 2007 and its brought us to this, what seems to be half of the Scottish people still feel they’re not represented in Westminster, even though your individual subjects benefit far greater personally than English students and from prescriptions etc. which our elected representatives don’t think they have to offer us!

      The rest of the UK does want to know what is in the plans for a none-united Britain even if you don’t want to hear it and this is what the Scottish people need to hear too, just what are all the implications because this won’t be a nice shake of the hands, it is Scottish representatives on our news every night distastefully referring to their Country as a separate entity and wanting to decapitate the nation to me ‘our Country’ is the United Kingdom because in English schools our identity as a separate people was not encouraged, our differences not highlighted and we were not encouraged to celebrate our ancient cultures, dances and costumes, so we grew up as one Country whilst many Scots grew up nationalistic.

  76. David Price
    September 9, 2014

    If this situation has arisen because Westminster has neglected the needs and wishes of Scotland then you may want to think very carefully how you proceed as England has been neglected even more. You have asked before who speaks for England yet in your precis there would still be no-one speaking for England as part of the separation process.

    Even if Scotland votes no but especially if they vote yes then there will need to be major changes in how the country is represented and governed or there is no soultion just another delaying action and eventual dismal failure.

  77. Lindsay McDougall
    September 9, 2014

    The consolation prize if Scotland votes ‘Yes’ is a rapid acceleration of the process of exiting the EU. The English Conservative Party is a Eurosceptic Party in a Eurosceptic nation.

    Even if the Prime Minister survives, he must no longer be in charge of Conservative policy on Europe. The Conservative Party should immediately form an organisation called ‘Conservatives for OUT’, to contain as many MPs as possible. Initially, this will simply mean that the existing relationship with the EU cannot continue. After all, the Foreign Secretary has already effectively signed up.

    Once the organisation is up and running, it can begin to define ‘red lines’ in our renegotiating position.

  78. Robert Henderson
    September 10, 2014

    It would be dangerous to allow Scots MPs to sit in the Commons after a YES vote because who would decide which matters did not relate to Scotland? Best to exclude them altogether and let any discussion about new Westminster laws or government action which would effect Scotland to take place at the level of the Westminster and Holyrood governments.

    Reply It is already decided by the decisions on the matters the Scottish Parliament handles.

  79. John
    September 10, 2014

    I have have discussions with Welch Irish and Scots, I hasten to add I have ancestral links with all countries. I am fed up of their vilification’s if they want out let them get out make it plain. Afterwards do not give them a penny. Cancel Navel contracts and get our precious gear out of their at all cost. Yes many jobs will be lost their financial institutions ruined, but let them get on with it. I am sure it will save the English a lot of heartache and money in the long run.

  80. angerstein
    September 15, 2014

    I find it curious that there has been so little discussion on the various media channels of the impact upon the English Parliament of a ‘Yes’ vote – maybe this is the reason for Cameron’s Crocodile tears ?

  81. Mag
    September 18, 2014

    Cameron must surely be honourable and RESIGN if there is a yes vote for Scottish Independence. From all the debates it was obvious that what the Scots wanted to separate from was the Cameron government.

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