Speak for England

The campaign to speak for England has taken off. I am receiving large numbers of emails and web contributions in support. There is a strong feeling that England deserves and needs a fairer settlement. There is a strong surge in opinion in favour of England having a voice and the right to govern herself as Scotland does. Tomorrow I will go to Chequers to present my thoughts on how to take this forward to the Prime Minister.

There is no nasty nationalist movement in England. Most English people do not define their Englishness by expressing dislike or hatred of other countries. There is none of that unpleasant undercurrent that you hear on the fringes of Scottish nationalism that is anti English. There is none of that strident nationalism based on anti Russian sentiment which we see in Ukrainian nationalism.

We English are on the whole glad Scotland voted to stay with us, and wish the UK to be our country representing us abroad and taking the big decisions on defence, war and peace and general economic and monetary policy. We also now strongly feel that if Scotland is to have more devolved power we too need our own devolved government to balance the kingdom. We want a fair settlement over who makes the decisions, and how the money is raised and spent.

We English would like there to be a BBC England which does for our culture and debates what BBC Scotland and BBC Wales do for them. We want to hear our worries and arguments more on our media, and know that our concerns and our public services will be dealt with by English MPs answering to their constituents.

Next week we in Parliament have to take up the task of sorting out a quick and straightforward way of ensuring that in future we have English votes for English matters. I just hope Labour and Liberal Democrats realise that if they wish to be serious contenders for votes in England they too now have to join us in creating justice for England. I could not justify to the electors of Wokingham giving Scotland the power to settle its own Income tax rate, and also giving to Scottish MPs the right to vote on what Income Tax we have to pay in England when they would not have to pay it themselves.

PS The Survation poll in today’s Mail on Sunday shows 65% are against Scottish MPs voting on English issues, with only 19% in favour.

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126 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Clearly Cameron can do little about this now pre-election, other than to make more promises, which are likely to be highly distrusted due to his past record of saying the opposite of what he does. Post election he needs an overall majority, which looks extremely unlikely but just about possible.

    The Tories need to speak out for the English, propose some real limits on the largely malignant EU, promise far lower taxes, reduce waste (the scope is clearly huge), more roads, cheap sensible energy, fracking, promote selective only immigration, no more pointless wars, no subsidies for green crap nonsense, a simpler tax system, no IHT, fewer payments to augment the feckless, a bonfire of red tape & quangos (what happened to that one) …….

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 5:34 am | Permalink

      Cameron’s daft modernising and duff compass, having halved the membership and numbers of party workers at the coal face hardly helps either.

      All is nearly lost but not quite yet.

      I still think we need some sort of deal with UKIP mainly to all some credibility to Cast Rubber Cameron, how else will he be trusted.

      I see Miliband wants to destroy more private jobs with a silly new minimum wage bribe. Does he know what this will do to the cost of nursing homes alone? Can he do simple sums? He did maths, further maths, English and physics A levels but clearly it seems he cannot. You can not lift yourself up by pulling your shoe laces Miliband, try it out Ed!

      • Richard1
        Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        Yes the Labour party wants a min wage of £8. Why not £10 or £12 or even £20 if legislation is the right way to make people richer? Miliband is a 1970s style socialist. We need English votes for English issues to limit the damage an anti business Labour govt would do.

        I hope and assume Cameron realizes what a massive vote winner a robust stance on Fairness for England would be.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 21, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          I am not sure Cameron has grasped the issue properly yet. He looks to me as though he is not that interested in winning the election. He certainly has a great deal to do from his current circa 1 in 10 chance.

          Mind you Cameron too pushes up the job destroying minimum wage and is pushing through the daft & half baked hassle and costs of Workplace Pensions on employers too and his gender neutral insurance, and discrimination nonsense – they are both perhaps 70s style socialists!

          The reasons why businesses often cannot pay the minimum wage is the bloated state sector, the over taxation and over complex taxation, the lack of competition in banking, government over regulation, EU over regulation, daft employment laws ……he should address these issue.

        • ian wragg
          Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Seriously deluded. CMD doesn’t want to win votes. If he declared a referendum on the EU within 18o days of the G.E., he would probably walk it. He will do nothing which will be a vote winner but an awful lot that is a vote loser. The mans a shyster of the first order.

          • Richard1
            Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            That is rather odd. Surely even Mr Cameron’s detractors would agree he likes being prime minister and would like to continue?!

        • Bob
          Posted September 21, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          So who will provide a business owner or self employed person with a guaranteed minimum wage?

          I presume that some people will lose their tax credits as a result of Mr Miliband’s largess (with other peoples money), and will therefore be no better off?

          The public sector payroll costs will increase as a result, so we can look forward to tax rises to pay for it.

          For some jobs the solution could be to require higher productivity, but I guess the eventual result will be more automation like self check-outs in supermarkets and shops, ticket machines in train stations, driverless trains and buses and self cleaning toilets.

        • behindthefrogs
          Posted September 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          £8 is less than 5 percent a year, hardly a huge promise when inflation will probably rise during the period

          • Richard1
            Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            True,but at the margin it could make a difference. Students seeking work experience for example might then find it more difficult.

        • Roy Grainger
          Posted September 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          A minimum wage of £8 in 202 only, which is equivalent of annual increases of 3.4%. Hardly a give-away. Their proposal to freeze child benefit increases to 1% is bizarre – as higher-rate taxpayers had this benefit remove entirely by the present government this is an entirely regressive tax (let’s call it that) which exclusively punishes the low-paid.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted September 22, 2014 at 3:15 am | Permalink

        The thing holding down incomes at the low end of the spectrum is not the decent employers doing their best to compete in a tough environment. It is the illegal immigrants prepared to work for less than the minimum wage, and the employers using them undercutting the decent employers. None of that will be fixed by increasing the minimum wage.
        The thing holding down middle quartile wages is not the decent employers doing their best to compete while employing British workers. The thing holding down middle quartile wages is legal immigration, the masses of uncapped intra company transfer entrants from (abroad ed), the masses of indefinite leave to remain visas printed, and so very much more all prepared to work for less than a middle class Brit with kids needs to live on. None of that will be fixed by anything Miliband or any of the main party leaders are saying.

    • LIfelogic
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Brown (and Darling just now on Marr) both seem keen on keeping the vows (without address the rest of the UK). They had no authority to give these vows nor hold any power to deliver it.

      Furthermore the Scottish voters should have known this when they voted. The rest of the UK has to have a say in the matter and be given a fair deal too.

      Anyway did not Gordon Brown vow not to return to “Boom and Bust” just before delivering the biggest bust for decades?

      All followed on Marr by actress Emma Thompson spouting the usual vacuous BBC line on the global warming (catastrophic exaggeration of) religion. Listening to her one rather rather doubts that she has even a superficial command of O level or GCSE science – let alone some understanding of the history of the climate changes for the past 10,000 years or so.

      When will these BBC priests of quack greenery grow up and shut up? I would not give my views on Beowulf nor the poetry John Milton as I know so very little about them.

      Why do these actresses not take the same attitude?

      • agricola
        Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Yes she was talking none sense following her freebee to the Arctic. She could just as easily gone to the Lake District or the Alps to understand that glaciers have retreated since the last ice age. So what, the Earth in terms of geology/geography and meteorology is a constantly moving scene. Get used to it, at best you will experience 100 years of it. None of these very vocal Emma Thomases can quantify what effect man has on the natural process. Do they think that a few cars and power stations can compete with the sun. I accept that it is best to avoid as far as possible inflicting people with the effects of burning fossil fuel However technical innovation is minimising that, and will take us in future to a time when it is no longer necessary. The luddites will then have to find something else to whine about.

        Reply How does all this travel to remote and beautiful places by climate worriers help the problem? In their own terms they should travel less to cut their carbon footprint.

        • Richard1
          Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          It is rather bizarre the way anyone who questions green crap is immediately denounced for not being a climate scientist qualified to hold an opinion, yet whenever some actor or celebrity chooses to pontificate about global warming that’s fine, so long as they are on message, even if as is the case with Ms Thompson, they clearly have no qualifications or expertise on the subject.

          • Ted Mombiot
            Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

            As usual Richard you get to the heart of the matter.
            Excellent post.
            I detest their use of the abusive term “denier”
            They know what they mean when they spit it out at any who face them down and ask them to compare actual current data with predictions made just a few decades ago by people like Al Gore and the first few IPCC reports.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 22, 2014 at 2:39 am | Permalink

          To reply: It is always a case of do as I say rather than do as I do with these green religion priests. Perhaps we should call it the Prince Charles principal. £1M PA + spent on travel and paid for by taxpayers) huge houses to heat, Aston Martins etc. while lecturing everyone else who perhaps spend just £3000PA each.

      • Bob
        Posted September 21, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        @lifelogic

        “Emma Thompson spouting the usual vacuous BBC line on the global warming”

        Well obviously her opinion is important because she is a celebrity, as is Peter Gabriel. You don’t get to be a celebrity without being an expert on everything you know.

        Witness the line up of actors and sports stars that were put forward to explain the pros and cons of Scottish independence.

        This is a result of the dumbing down of our population by successive governments aided and abetted by the BBC.

        Michael Gove tried to stop the rot but was promptly removed by the Conservative Tory leader.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      From Norman Tebbit’s excellent blog:-

      Mr Farage has suggested that we need a full-scale constitutional convention. Mr Cameron thinks a committee chaired by William Hague could sort it all out. Since neither the Prime Minister, nor the Cabinet have yet done so, I am inclined to think that Mr Farage may be right.
      It is extraordinary that after 300 years of successful constitutional political development during which the United Kingdom achieved unparallelled military, scientific, industrial, social and political progress (including the world’s finest civil service), it has almost all been vandalised in a few decades of “progressive” politics and modernisation.

      • David Price
        Posted September 22, 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

        You have such faith in the Labour party that they will do right by England? The most Milliband is prepared to offer us is more “scrutiny” of bills that affect England. It is clear Labour have decalred themselves against England so what exactly do you think will happen if they get in to power?

        I agree a constitutional convention needs to be assembled to address the UK structure but devolution has already been defined by what has been given to Scotland. We are where we are, the least worst option at this stage is to prevent no-English MPs voting on English matters and have a separate English Parliament which can be the subject of a separate, English-only constitutional convention.

        Or would you advocate taking back powers from Scotland in some way?

  2. Bernard from Bucks
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    “We English would like there to be a BBC England.”
    How very true, but not very likely to happen as the BBC would lose its precious funding from the EU. ‘England’, you see, is not on any of the EU maps.
    I support you whole-heartedly in your campaign for us. Thank you.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      A BBC that was not endlessly all the following would be nice:

      Pro pointless green subsidies, wind farms, PV, bikes and trains and anti car and planes. Also pro daft electric car subsidies when electric cars are worse than normal ones.

      From pro tenant and anti landlord regulation that actually help no one in the long run.

      Pro ever more tax and ever larger government.

      Pro the EU at ever stage and anti English at every stage. For the break up of England in to regions.

      Pro uncontrolled low skill & low pay immigration which clearly is a net loss for tax receipts.

      Pro ever more regulation of everything.

      Pro having the state sector paid 50% more than the private sector with better pay and working condition and more sick days.

      Pro huge pay offs for BBC and other state sector workers when they “resign” due to incompetence.

      Pro the job destroying “living wage” nonsense.

      Pro Brown & Osborne’s endless mugging of private sector pensions.

      Pro daft equality and thought crime and enforced “equality” legislation and other PC drivel.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

        Pay and especially pensions and pay offs at the BBC should clearly be far, far lower. This as countless & far better people would clearly work there for next to nothing anyway.

        Just how do they ensure that everyone who works at the BBC believes in the same lefty, pro EU, magic money tree, green crap, Guardian think drivel? Do they have a sinister brain washing machine somewhere?

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the BBC (like Cameron) have only quite recently learned to say the word England.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        That word “England” maybe the key to help him win the next election LL.

        I hope he understands the passion that is out here among people of very different political persuasions, for a fair settlement for England.

  3. Chris Rose
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Yes, yes, I agree with all that and hope that if any rowdies stand up, they are quickly and firmly told to pipe down. Any further devolvement of powers to the cities and counties of England must decided by English voters. If we have BBC England, it should be a subscription service paid by those who use it, not a licence fee paid by all.

    The sooner Labour wakes up to the reality that, whatever the current representation, the people of England will not put up with Tory rule for ever, the better. The people of England will not want to live in a one-party state. But they will want the other parties to be more in tune with their concerns and aspirations. If Labour doesn’t adapt, perhaps some other party will; no names, no pack drill!

    • Timaction
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      What I find incredible is that it has taken so long to recognise that there is an issue relating to the imbalance and deficiencies in our democracy in England!
      Perhaps the legacy parties will also wake up to the idea that the EU and its regional plans has also been imposed on the English WITHOUT consent. Only one party will do anything about this. The whole English issue has been hidden at the direction of our dictatorship Government in Brussels.
      Still as an election approaches all we have to do is tell the truth and expose the legacy parties for the lies and deceit over 40 years of misgovernment. Hopefully our first MP within weeks!

    • Bob
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      “We English would like there to be a BBC England which does for our culture and debates…”

      The BBC has already done for our culture and debates, that’s why we’re where we are.

      • Bob
        Posted September 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        I see that Dave made it legally-binding to spend 0.7% on foreign aid, so the amount will automatically increase if the GDP increases.

        At present we are borrowing money to give it away.

        What a guy!

  4. Old Albion
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Good luck JR. “England expects that every man will do his duty”

  5. Mondeo Man
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you.

  6. formula57
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Well said for this is exactly what we think: –

    (1) “We also now strongly feel that if Scotland is have more devolved power we too need our own devolved government to balance the kingdom.”

    (2) “We want a fair settlement over who makes the decisions, and how the money is raised and spent.”

    Whatever is appropriate for Scotland is appropriate for England too.

    • matthu
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      The trouble is, you have all these centralised powers / devolved powers and you still don’t get to decide how bid your vacuum cleaner can be.

  7. Peter Stroud
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Good luck John Redwood. I sincerely hope you will encourage the prime minister to work as keenly for we English, as he did for the Scots.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Little sign of that yet.

  8. Mark B
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    John Redwood MP said;

    Next week we in Parliament have to take up the task of sorting out a quick and straightforward way of ensuring that in future we have English votes for English matters.

    Make in haste, repent at leisure. Just saying.

    What is becoming more and more apparent to me, is the sheer lack of planning and thought both pre and post referendum. And it is not as if one needed to be a great thinker to see this all happening.

    I see Gordon Brown has set himself up a champion of Scotland. He wants to make sure that Scotland gets all the goodies and that England will keep paying to maintain it. At least he tacitly acknowledges what lady Thatcher right observed the fundamental flaw in Socialism. It ends when it runs out of other peoples money stops. So, what better way to keep the ‘Union of Scottish Soviet Republica‘ running along those lines but to get the English to subsidise them in perpetuity.

    Oh, and before I forget, may I just say that this English votes on English issues should be extended both the Welsh and Ulster MP’s as well. I do not want to fall foul of EU Laws.

    Thanks, and have a good weekend.

    • David Price
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Except if England is devolved and all four countries raise their own taxes isn’t it the separate UK treasury that is on the hook for Barnett? What the UK treasury doesn’t receive it can’ dole out …

    • acorn
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Why do I get the feeling that this devo-England thing will end up a “lipstick-on-a-pig” job. Westminster and Whitehall aren’t going to let go of anything involving money and power in the England bit. So, this is strictly a Westminster only game, Local Government needn’t bother turning up; nothing in it for the little people.

      BTW. Local government spends about a quarter of total government spending, it always has, the system just works that way. Circa 717 times 0.25 = £179 billion. Now, when England’s local government, is raising at least 75% of its own revenue locally, I will get interested in devo-England. Until then, assume we are being sold a pig in a poke by the Westminster elite.

      Anyway, Cam did a slick PR type play on the pre-election Punch & Judy snooker table. Cuing up the devo-England ball, like it was his own; snookering Millipede and taking the frame in one visit to the table! You have got to feel sorry for Labour; just think how much more fun 2015 could be with Alan Johnson at the Labour helm, Crikey, I would vote for him.

  9. Richard1
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    What’s really important is that David Cameron sticks to his guns and insists on fairness for England at the same time as more devolution to Scotland. Labour are trying to decouple the issues, so fairness for england can be postponed by years of debate and then avoided.

    How about this: the UK parliament sets a basic rate of tax, say 15%, for income tax, CGT and VAT. Out of this is paid defence, the FO, aid, the EU, the monarchy, national infrastructure etc. The balance is then handed to the 4 national parliaments allocated per capita, with adjustments for poorer areas (ie Wales and N Ireland). A borrowing limit is then also set by the UK Parliament and allocated likewise. The 4 national parliaments are then free to top up the rates to make up their total public expenditure levels. What would need to be clear is the national parliaments need to be responsible for their own budgets in the event of a shortfall. Absent some major factor such as a disaster there can’t be bailouts.

    • Jonathan
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Can I just point out that devolving powers over VAT is a non-starter. The EU requires there to be one set of VAT rates covering all 5 countries of the UK. The 5th country is the Isle of Man which has control over all taxation except for VAT, excise and customs duty.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 22, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        I didn’t know that, I thought the EU just said min 15%. Another item for the list of issues that needs renegotiating.

    • Colin Hart
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Fine apart from the bit about topping up the poorer areas. This takes us back to Barnett. Plus Wales and Northern Ireland are not poor – some bits of them may be or some people within bits of them. Question is whose responsibility will it be to see they will be looked after? Problem is federal UK politicians will not be able to resist promising to do so. So we will soon see a mish mash of top-ups, subsidies, special payments etc and the picture will become as confused as it is today.

      Last point: who will pay the old age pension? Federal or national government?

      • Richard1
        Posted September 22, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        Conservatives should not agree any further devolution unless it is clear there will not be top-ups and subsidies at the expense at the rest of us.

  10. Mark W
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Quite right. Regions favour larger provincial cities. One England allows rural areas to have a combined say. Lincolnshire has much more in common with agricultural Devon and Northumberland than with Nottingham. One England. Don’t let Labour regionalise the market towns into submission.

  11. DaveM
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Good luck.

    Producing a manifesto which promises proper “devolution” (for want of a better word) for all home nations – thus allowing the UK Parl to concentrate more fully on international matters – and which promises a referendum on EU membership, is surely the Con’s best chance of winning the next GE. Maybe also an olive branch to Ukip once this manifesto has been made?

    My only worry is that DC has got an agenda which is somehow related to future power within the EU construct, and which means he isn’t that worried about winning the next election because his friends in Europe will give him a job anyway.

    Again, good luck.

  12. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    The Scots must not be allowed to set and lead the Agenda on the English issues; they are already agitating in that direction. We have heard long enough about what Scotland wants. They cannot be allowed any longer to claim to be victims. We the English have been tolerant and ignored and taken for granted for too long. The additional powers – which should not have been offered anyway of course as there was no mandate – must under no circumstances be granted until the English get a full and just settlement, because we can see where that will leave us, and there can be no compromise on what is already a compromise. The Barnett Formula should be ended in any event. We the English must stop sacrificing our best interests in the favour of others.

    We need to speak out for ourselves and defy those who call us names, and we need a leader who does so. They know they are being false. We the people of England need our identity back. The words England and English must be used, they must not be sacrificed to Britain and British merely to keep others happy.

    We need it reflected back to us in our cultural institutions in changes of name as well as in their constitutions, and I believe we must of course have a true parliament. England must not be offered second best. The thought that we should move from ‘the mother of parliaments’ to some kind of ersatz version should be a matter of shame to those who see it as the answer to England’s problems. We need to be treated as a full nation like any other; there will be no renaissance otherwise. Will all the MPs treat such a half-way house seriously, and how does that leave us in the eyes of the world, how do we speak up for true democracy?

  13. Mike
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Good luck in the Chequers discussions, a key priority for which needs to be to come up with proposals that the other parts of the UK would judge as fair, balanced, equivalent and unrushed even if the Labour party doesn’t. But as I’ve said elsewhere you need a settlement for England that helps the Tory brand and offering in the cities and industrial heartlands and I’m not sure that doing everything in Westminster helps this, we need more localism surely ?

    For my part the BBC England channel wouldn’t be a priority as I don’t feel I get my identity from the Beeb, far from it until I’m overseas watching BBC World when I’m proud to be British. But perhaps an English-only public holiday on St George’s Day / Shakespeare’s birthday (and a Welsh one on St David’s Day) might be nice to level the playing field with the Scots and NI and provide some focus for our shared values.

  14. Qubus
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    delighted to read in this morning’s Telegraph that you have been invited to join the discussion at Chequers. Stick to your guns.

  15. David Price
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I feel we need a clearly separate parliament and administration but understand that will take time and actually taking the first step is critical. I would hope you press for such a goal and successfully dissaude the adoption of city and regional devolution.

    Time is of the essence but a proper job has to be done if we are to have a straightforward and sustainable solution and it would be short sighted not to consider how other federated countries have structured themselves successfully.

    Good luck.

  16. agricola
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Pleased to see you have been invited back into the fold. Whether CMD sees this as a way of legitimising the outcome at Chequers or whether it is an acceptance of reality waits to be seen.

    I do not know whether Milliband will be there, he should be or at the follow up. He described English autonomy on English matters as a Tory trap. No Mr Milliband, it is a moral trap for you to answer to. Are you into democracy or is it narrow Labour self interest that motivates you.

    Do not allow the promotion of any Balkanisation to creep into the discussion, it is a red herring. Labour likes it because large urban areas, where Labour resides, would dictate to the country as a whole. The EU and Clegg would like it on the basis of divide and conquer. The North East has already said that they do not want it, and areas such as Birmingham, Rochdale and Tower hamlets have recently proved that they are not fit to wield the power they already have. England does not need a clutch of banana republics within it’s borders.

    Make sure that CMD fully appreciates the message in the Mail on Sunday English poll, and do not allow any backsliding on his part. Remind him that we are all watching for the result in Clacton and real substance that comes out of the Conservative Party Conference, we do not need rhetoric. It could be his last throw of the dice.

    I am happy that Scotland should get all that was hastily promised with the exception of the £1600.00 per capita subsidy. After all they will have the tax raising powers to fill the gap. The only dissent will come from the YES areas of maximum dependency. Most Scots prefer the dignity of standing on their own two feet. Fulfilling the promise is a moral obligation providing it is balanced with what England expects.

    • forthurst
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      “Pleased to see [JR has ] been invited back into the fold. Whether CMD sees this as a way of legitimising the outcome at Chequers or whether it is an acceptance of reality waits to be seen.”

      JR has been invited in his capacity as inveterate suspect and black sheep without the fold, although this does not detract in any way from the value of his advices to someone whose policies are typically made on the cloven hoof.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      ‘Banana Republics’ – indeed – nice one.
      Signed – Northern Urban Provincial Englishman !

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    JR: “Tomorrow I will go to Chequers to present my thoughts on how to take this forward to the Prime Minister.”
    Make sure that he understands that you mean business and that this isn’t the normal consultation to let you have your say after which he goes away and does his own thing. I have little regard for Cameron, other than a nicely spoken mouth piece. Allowing Gordon Brown, of all people, to start making policy announcements on behalf of the UK government and Parliament (who were never even consulted) and then confirming them in a written vow was further confirmation of his unsuitability for office. I have no confidence in him nor his sidekick, Osborne.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    “We English would like there to be a BBC England which does for our culture and debates what BBC Scotland and BBC Wales do for them.”

    Well, JR, on my Sky planner channel 101 is “BBC One Lon” and 102 is “BBC Two Eng”, but these appear to be just subsets of the BBC’s UK-wide operations and there is no separately produced channel for England as there is for Scotland and also Wales.

    Which is rather similar to your concept of an English Parliament as just a sub-set of the UK Parliament, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would each have their own separate and separately elected assemblies.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      It’s not institutions, buildings and support staff that matter. It’s power of decision. John Redwood’s proposals provide all that is needed and are cheap to implement.

      You might usefully ponder how we avoid imposing on Wales and Northern Ireland extra devolution that they do not want. In Wales, people are lukewarm about their assembly and Plaid Cumry is in decline. In Northern Ireland, some Unionists would like Stormont to be abolished.

      English people clearly don’t want devolution. Prescott’s regional government proposal got 22% of the popular vote. Only a minority of cities have opted for elected mayors. In elections for Police Commissioners, only about 10% of people vote. Compared with those numbers, the EU’s popularity rating of 30% is a ringing endorsement.

  19. Amanda
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Redwood, it is much appreciated.

    One thing though – I’m nost sure I do want a BBC England, unless it is a subscription only service, and vast changes are made to ensure it reflects the ‘diversity’ of opinion and is positive and balanced towards our culture and heritage.

  20. Bryan
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I understand that your input is being sought by Mr Cameron and Mr Hague.

    Excellent.

    Let us hope they have their listening caps on.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Mr ‘Billy Boy’ Hague hardly matters – he be a gonna in May next year – at his own volition !

  21. Caterpillar
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Hopefully the main Westminster parties won’t give self-interest a bad name through what appears to be driving the post-Vow choices of each.

    Once more there are three characteristics of the existing devolved assemblies;

    1. Place for Identity => English assembly, probably not in Westminster
    2. Unicameral => no second chamber for devolved powers, effective committees
    3. Not FPP => electoral system of a mixed proportional nature

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    “Tomorrow I will go to Chequers to present my thoughts on how to take this forward to the Prime Minister.”

    Please do mention that one possibility would be a separately elected and separately housed devolved Parliament and government for England, THE SAME AS THE SCOTS HAVE GOT; and please do suggest that if the Scots can have a referendum on whether Scotland should have much more than that, that is complete independence from the UK, then the English should certainly be given a referendum on whether they want the same arrangement that Scots were granted fourteen years ago.

    Then the English could decide for themselves whether they wanted that extra layer of government with whatever extra cost that would entail, rather than having the likes of Hague decide for them that they don’t.

    “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”

  23. English Pensioner
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    The main problem is that our political leaders act in the interests of their parties, not in the interests of the country.
    It would have been in the interests of the country and the electorate to equalise constituency sizes, but this would impact on the LibDems and Labour so its a big “No”.
    It is interests of the English electorate to have devolution similar to that in Scotland and Wales, but again, this would result in the loss of LibDem and Labour seats in the English parliament, so another big “No”.
    And so it goes on. Anything that one party wants to do that is considered to be to the detriment of the others is blocked.
    There is also the question of the EU; a cynic like myself asks whether the politicians want to remain in the EU because it is good for the UK or it offers better career opportunities for them than the UK parliament?
    I no longer support the Tories, I haven’t for some time and “gay marriage” was the last straw, but at least I would like to see all electors in the UK being treated in a similar manner even if this does mean, at present, that it would be to the advantage of the Tories.

  24. me
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    We English would like the BBC decommissioned.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Indeed – EBC ? !

  25. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Nevertheless, it will be necessary to be firm. All of you have to be prepared to vote down extra devolution for Scotland if you don’t get English votes for English issues. And the Whips and the Prime Minister must be aware of this.

    It is possible that Labour plus the LibDems will try to force through the extra devolution anyway. We must get ready for a Filibuster in the Lords.

  26. They Work for Us?
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Once again thank you JR for standing up for English interests.
    The greater devolution of powers to Scotland is probably necessary for expediency, although the offers were made without Paliamentary debate and agreement. It must be made clear that this is the last time it will be allowed to happen and that the cost of backbencher support is:
    English MPs only voting on English matters, English devolution as you set out so eloquently yesterday.
    A proper costing of the trade benefits and costs of EU membership. Bodies receiving EU funding to promote staying in to be excluded.
    The referendum on the EU being held.
    Proper balanced debate on Climate change (if it is happening and wether anything can cost effectively be done about it IF it is happening)
    These should be in the Manifesto for the 2015 election and would be election winners. The manifesto should be short so that these major items are not lost in a sea of noise. Many other reforms would naturally follow on from these and could be passed for England.

    Many people see UKIP as the conscience or “jiminy Cricket” of proper Conservatism, needed to stop our leaders drifting off to the left, political correctness, business as usual politics.

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Regarding the Survation poll, I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar majority of people in Scotland agreed with the English that MPs elected in Scotland should not vote on laws which will not apply to Scotland because they are matters which have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament; some years ago a poll in Scotland found that.

    • Ronny
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      correct! It’s only the English that think they are hard done by in this voting issue (I’m told it has only ever been a problem on two occasions in years). I hope Mr Redwood isn’t stoking up the type of Nationalism that he describes above as ‘nasty’ in Scotland and Ukraine. I’m already seeing this on social media. Also if Mr Redwood thinks there are no nasty nationalist movements in England, he needs to start reading the newspapers. EDL? BNP?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 22, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        I don’t know for sure, but I think that all the Bills applying to England but not to Scotland which have only been passed with the votes of MPs elected in Scotland can be counted on the fingers of one hand. That’s not the same as the number of votes taken, as each Bill goes through several stages.

  28. Qubus
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Let’s face it, it would have been better had there been a “Yes” vote !

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    It has pointed out to me that I shouldn’t really take the £68.6 million cost of running the Scottish Parliament in 2013 and use that figure to estimate the running cost of a separate English Parliament as just tuppence-ha’penny a week for each person in England, unless I believe that the larger population of England could be served by the same number of elected representatives, only 129. Well, I take that on board and henceforth I will claim that the weekly running cost of the devolved Parliament for England would be between five and ten pence per head, depending on the number of MPEs, and even that would be more or less offset by savings in the running costs of a federal UK Parliament with fewer members, all of whom should of course be elected in this day and age.

    • acorn
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      The last time I had cause to work it out, which is a couple of years back, I think. The House of Commons cost circa £250,000 per sitting hour. Based on about 1,100 sitting hours per year.

  30. Oscar De Ville
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    By all means be fair to ENGLAND by adapting our historic Parliament, but please don`t demean a long-admired model by adding an unwanted a costly bureaucratic extra layer “to match the Scots, Welsh and Northern Ireland”. Be proud. Hold your head up.

    Mr Cameron has an unusual and undeserved simple opportunity to support the English and avoid more years of a destructive Labour government. He should now, well before the general election, embrace Ukip as a lively annexe to the Tory party and immediately withdraw his past abusive comments on its members – just as the Queen was ready to shake even the hands of past IRA murderers.

    Early constitutional pro-English reform and election victory would both be guaranteed.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Are you saying that people in England should be proud of NOT having their own Parliament and government?

      That’s certainly a novel way of looking at it.

      Presumably it was the shame of having their own Parliament and government that led the English to agree to the abolition of both in 1707.

  31. David Wildgoose
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Well done for sticking to your guns.

    It is simply unacceptable to continue to allow Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs to have any say in England on any matters that have been devolved to their Parliaments.

    And if the Barnett Formula remains then they should have no right to any votes on financial matters within England either. We don’t want foolish financial decisions being taken just so the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish can skim off the top and add to the waste!

  32. David C
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    At long last!

    You are the right MP to express the views of the plain speaking, common sense, fair minded English person.

  33. Tad Davison
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Well I’ll do my bit John, you can absolutely depend upon that!

    I believe in fairness right across the board, and there is so much unfairness in politics especially, it needs everyone to gather behind a cause in order to defeat this inequality and level the playing field for the benefit of all.

    Tad

  34. adams
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I do not want the EU setting our laws either . Why does your Party and the Liebour mob keep passing the Treaties giving the EU more power over Britain and as for the European Arrest warrant that the coalition has just opted back into . . . . . . WELL ? ? ? ?

  35. Bert Young
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    The Survation Poll reveals the sentiment and discontent that exists in the country ; it very clearly shows that any attempt to water down the “England for England” need in the forthcoming constitutional reform will meet with the voter’s wrath . Opening up this can of worms has been a great mistake and has prevented a calm and considered approach to the solution ; the time scale pressure adds to this and will be seen as Cameron’s slippery way of defeating Labour in the forthcoming election ; defeating Labour is no bad thing but attempting to do so in this manner is below the belt . Your intelligence and well-argued approach in the discussion at Chequers is badly needed and will bring forward the strong views that have been put to you over the past week . I add my support to the many who have already given theirs .

  36. Richard Cavin
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Right behind you, John.

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Here is my outline scheme for new constitutional arrangements for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, henceforth abbreviated as “UK”

    At the top there will be a Parliament and government for the whole of the UK. As now it will be based in London, both in deference to our own tradition and because the rest of the world is accustomed to look to London as the voice of the UK in international affairs. These will be the “UK” or “Union” or “federal”, or in some contexts the “national”, governmental institutions.

    The UK Parliament will continue to be a sovereign Parliament and the supreme legal authority for the whole of the UK. However it will have passed an entrenched Act recognising that its sovereignty ultimately derives from the people it represents and requiring its elected members to seek the direct approval of the people for certain decisions. As a part of the Parliament, but politically impartial, the monarch will guarantee that when the existing law requires that the citizens must be directly consulted in a referendum then the law will not be changed to prevent that happening.

    The UK Parliament will comprise the monarch and two Houses elected by the citizens of the UK, and only the citizens of the UK. The first and superior House will be the House of Commons, each of whose members will be elected as the representative of a geographical constituency as now, and they will decide on the composition of the UK government. To minimise the frequency of coalition governments, those MPs will be elected by FPTP as now. The second and inferior House will have powers to scrutinise and debate and object to and impose a delay on both primary and secondary legislation passed by the Commons; except that on certain specified matters, mainly of constitutional importance, they will be able to not just delay legislation but exercise a veto over it unless contradicted by the people in a referendum. To provide a fairer distribution of parliamentary representation without resorting to any conventional method of proportional representation the members of the second chamber will be those who came second in each parliamentary constituency at the last election, and those persons will be known as Second Members of Parliament or SMPs.

    Because some of the present work of the UK Parliament and the UK government will be devolved to four Parliaments and governments within the UK the present numbers of UK parliamentary representatives and government ministers will have been reduced, probably by about a half.

    Inferior to the sovereign UK Parliament on all matters reserved to that Parliament there will be four non-sovereign, devolved, Parliaments for the four components of the UK, each separately elected and separately housed. Three of those already exist, and two only need to have their titles changed from “Assembly” to “Parliament” and have their devolved powers increased. A fourth, the Parliament for England, will have been belatedly added under the new constitutional settlement for the UK. It will be forbidden under UK law for any person to simultaneously be a member of more than one of the five Parliaments, and if elections to more than one of the Parliaments are taking place simultaneously then no person can be a candidate in more than one of them. If a member of one Parliament is elected to another then he must resign from the first.

    These four devolved Parliaments will pass domestic laws for their respective jurisdictions and hold to account their respective devolved governments. They will have broadly the same devolved powers on domestic matters, including powers over local authorities within their areas; the UK laws setting them up will be very carefully and clearly written so that there can be no possibility of any of them claiming the right to even hold a consultative referendum on independence from the UK let alone pass a law to that effect, and they will be strictly forbidden from acting in any other matter reserved to the UK authorities without the express approval of the latter, and in particular they will not be permitted to take any action which could be construed as the operation of a foreign policy distinct from that of the UK. On the other hand the UK laws setting them up and defining their powers will be entrenched, so that none of the devolved institutions can be abolished or have its powers diminished by the UK Parliament without the direct consent of the citizens within its jurisdiction. Disagreements over the marginal interpretation of the UK law will be settled by the UK Supreme Court.

    Because these will explicitly be non-sovereign assemblies they can each be unicameral, as with the three which already exist, and elections will be by a form of proportional representation to be determined by the UK authorities, as now. The electoral cycles of the four devolved Parliaments will not necessarily be linked to each other, or to the electoral cycle for the UK Parliament.

    To provide an element of direct democracy the UK law will provide that each of the five Parliaments, and also local authorities across the UK, must hold a referendum on any matter that is within its legal power of decision if a sufficient number of citizens in its jurisdiction sign a petition or requisition for a referendum to be held. The results of such referendums will be legally binding on all the non-sovereign assemblies but will be only consultative for the sovereign UK Parliament. In addition, all elected representatives at all levels will be subject to recall at the sole discretion of those they are supposed to be representing, without any other person or body being able to prevent that happening but within detailed rules prescribed by each of the Parliaments.

  38. Paul Rivers
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I don’t get why we have to complicate the English voting issue so much. If a party does not have a majority of English MP’s it has the option of forming a coalition with others to ensure English interests are addressed.

  39. alte fritz
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Ed miliband warns the PM not to write constitional change on the back of a fag packet. Did he warn Blair and Brown likewise? As yesterday’s post demonstrated this is not rocket science. There will be detail to address but the overarching principle could not be clearer. The ten percent tail has no right to wag the dog.

    Scotland is entitled to a fair settlement as are we all.

  40. APL
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    “I could not justify to the electors of Wokingham giving Scotland the power to settle its own Income tax rate, and also giving to Scottish MPs the right to vote on what Income Tax we have to pay in England when they would not have to pay it themselves.”

    The devolution settlement provides the Scottish parliament with the authority to vary the National rate of income tax by +-3%.

    Are you aware of this?

  41. CharlieThe Chump
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    1. The Barnett Formula must go
    2. No more Scottish Labour votes on English questions.
    3. We can live with faster implementation on enhanced Scottish devolution powers (excluding Barnett) but any foot dragging by Cameron (Form) or Milliband (self preservation) can not be allowed.
    4. Who speaks for England? You are but one – given very important English Voice – we need a coherent and powerfully led campaign – Better England? And the leader must be better than poor Darling.

  42. Michel d'Anjou
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    So far little has been said of Wales, the focus being the cost to England of Scotland and it’s privileged status. Having taken my son to university in England this week, I discover that if he were Welsh, no matter where in the UK he went, he would be asked to pay no more than £3,685 per year. The difference of £5,315 per annum would be paid by the Welsh Government. Presumably this in reality means the English Taxpayer.

    Please ask the PM what is is going to do about that.

    I can see why the BBC tells us very little of what is going on in Wales and Scotland.

  43. Max Dunbar
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Large numbers of people in Scotland who voted for devolution came to regret that decision bitterly. One only has to look at the referendum results for 1997 and compare them to the results of 2014.
    Many of these voters naively believed that they were voting for a ‘fairer’ settlement for Scotland and many of them were Tories. They did not appear to understand that this set a precedent and that they were effectively digging their own graves. When, to their horror, the SNP won an outright majority they then realised that what they had voted for in 1997 was leading to their own destruction. In the past few months people expressed a desire to leave Scotland if the SNP achieved ‘independence’. Many of these people voted for devolution in 1997.

    Likewise, there is now a momentum growing in England to be on an equal footing with Scotland and have an English Parliament. And, likewise, you will live to regret it. It is a race to the bottom. England is the major power in the UK and always will be. Why would you wish to be on an equal footing with a subordinate? And who will run England? The First Minister or the Prime Minister? We only need one parliament for the nation because you can have only one head on a body.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      Because we had and have a ‘subordinate’ (your word not mine) I’d prefer three independent national councils in Scotland, Welsh and N Irish MPs who voted on devolved issues for English students who got lumbered with £9000 pa tuition fees and a crazy coalition who are used by the Conservatives to blame when nothing the English voted for gets implemented, and things we didn’t vote for like a tripling of tuition fees get through, if we had an English MPs voting on English issues only we could hold our MPs accountable better, we are only looking to separate that which has already been devolved and unlike the other nations most of us expect our MPs not another level of EMPs to do their jobs properly. The high numbers not voting in a England shows a system that is failing because their isn’t a box for none of the above.

      A cabinet with 40% Scottish MPs, a Scottish Prime Minister and a Scottish chancellor voted in tuition fees for English students only, how would you feel about that Max if you were English. When Scotland’s independent parliament was allowed to say NO! For their own children.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      The Australians seem to manage OK with a multiplicity of Parliaments.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliaments_of_the_Australian_states_and_territories

      But then as we know the Australians have no true democracy, which we are told can only be based on the simple FPTP system while they use devilishly complex baby-killing preferential voting systems which would too difficult for the British to understand, except that is the British outside England who seem to be able to cope with it perfectly well.

    • cosmic
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Max, but this one’s a goner. The course has been set and the ship can either be steered towards an English Parliament and possibly a reversion to the way things were pre-Blair much later, or a nasty fudge done by Labour for devolution to cities which would take more unpicking and much worse results. Then of course there are various fudges in between such as EVEL, which you can argue for, but these things take on an emotional impetus.

      I know that a lot of people in Wales see the Assembly as a useless waste of money which hasn’t gained them much, but generally I doubt there’s a sentiment to scrap it.

      It’s a shame Labour mucked it all up in 1997, but they did.

  44. John Wrake
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Conferences at Chequers sound important and will give opportunity for numerous voices to suggest ‘the way forward’.

    What is really needed is recognition that we need to find the way back – back to our written constitution, back to leaders who keep their word and their oath, back to government under the Common Law and under the precepts of the Christian Protestant faith – those qualities which have given this United Kingdom 300 years of progress and mutual respect for all our peoples.

    Unhappily, it won’t come from a conference of those who do not respect the people they claim to represent and who are intent on changing what they do not understand.

    God willing, the change will come next year, when the stables get cleared out.

    John Wrake.

  45. Bart
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    The ‘pledges’ or ’vows’ made the other day seem to include:
    1 The Barnett formula will be maintained. That is, out of all tax that is raised for the UK as a whole, some will be allocated to certain matters such as education, justice etc; and that money will then be apportioned between England and Scotland in a certain way, namely by the Barnett formula.
    2 Scotland will raise its own tax to pay for certain matters such as education, justice etc.
    These two things are contradictory.
    A pledge containing two contradictory things is impossible to fulfil, and also impossible to break.
    It would be good if you told the PM this very clearly.

  46. ian
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Have you got the votes in parliament to push what you want and win, if not you should go for a refernedum and not leave it till the election to be used as a political football hoping like dave is thinking, another reason to vote conservative.

  47. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Johnny – you can add our name to this campaign.

    Just a thought…
    If English Constituency MP’s are defeated in their wish to vote exclusively on English only matters within the Westminster ‘gas works’ – could a de facto English Parliament not be set up in another building ?
    If he only solution be a directly elected English Parliament – would it need to be in Lundun ? – Birmingham or north thereof would perhaps make it more acceptable to those ‘disenfranchised’ Provinces.

  48. Douglas Carter
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Just stepping aside from the actual dogs-dinner aspect of the past three weeks and looking at the structural situation we observe, it’s an excellent lesson on why unambiguous clarity is an obligatory facet of any referendum process to which the electorate commit to.

    Clarity, arguably a fairly constant attribute of the Scottish referendum even until relatively recent times, was irrevocably muddied at the culmination of the campaign. A straw to cling on to was offered, pocketed and (rightly) cashed as a cast-iron guarantee on behalf of the ‘Yes’ side. What had hitherto been a straight ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ became – with the foolish panicked interventions – a vote upon ‘Independence’ or ‘The Gordon Brown Package’ – which had never once been identified prior to the commencement of the campaign. The referendum the Scottish actually voted on was not in whole part, the same campaign that had begun some weeks previously. Postal votes cast in advance of that promise refer to the earlier campaign, where in terms of procedural evidence, it has to be seen as a given that those later votes were cast solely on the nature of that which had been unwisely promised. The intervention cannot be scientifically quantified, so it has to be assumed it had an electoral weight on the day.

    So – we’re left in a limbo in which what is now the losing side having been presented with a legitimate route by which – under convenient circumstance – will be seen as a justification to perpetuate demands for a future referendum taken in a much shorter time in the future than ‘A Generation’. Where the argument could have been put permanently to bed without that intervention.

    It’s a seminal lesson for any future EU Referendum. That which is offered to the electorate MUST be possessed of absolute, unshakeable unambiguous clarity. No dodges, no weasel-wording disqualifiers. As Nick Clegg and Alistair Darling both have requested this year, the electorate have a right to see all small print in advance of any poll which will determine the terms of reference for a legitimate and lasting choice. It means all those definitions, terms of reference and details be made available to the electorate prior to next year’s General Election. If – subsequent to any theoretical Conservative majority – pro or anti-EU campaigners discover that what they previously had been advised of the nature of the Campaign did not actually represent the campaign that would occur – or indeed that campaign metamorphosed into something quite different halfway through – then why on earth would either side recognise the final result if it didn’t go their way?

    In the ‘lessons will be learned’ ethos we hear so frequently, this is a lesson which needs to be learned in advance. On the EU referendum, we need to see the settled and accurate detail by June next year. All of it, and without evasion.

  49. eeyore
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Truly a week is an eternity in politics. Last Wednesday, who would have given £50 for the Prime Minister’s survival? Today, who cannot see he has the opportunity of a lifetime, with good things to be picked on every side? He just has to reach out and close his fist. And all handed him by his most derisive and determined enemies!

    Good luck at Chequers, Mr Redwood. I am grateful and relieved to have you speaking for me and for England. I hope that your courtesy, moderation, generosity and calm good sense will achieve more for every part of the UK than all the passion and froth we have heard (sometimes with distaste, occasionally with feelings close to nausea) over the past few weeks. After what must often have been a rather weary wait, can it be that your time to do good service to your country has come at last?

  50. ian wragg
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Good luck John but I can’t help feeling CMD and Vague will stitch you up. What’s the betting that a 9 region policy is agreed by the 3 stooges and they will tell us this is after wide consultation.
    The last thing Winking, Blinking and Nod want is a voice for England because they may not like what it says.

  51. Eleanor Justice
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Best of luck Mr Redwood as a member of the Campaign for an English Parliament who’s members have worked hard since Devolution to bring this about .We salute you! (but watch your back)

  52. Frances
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for taking England forward to a more fair and just government. For too long we have acquiesced and paid up. Fairness is our watchword. Good luck!

  53. James Matthews
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Not much I can say that I haven’t already, except that you are quite right about the absence of “BBC England”. The BBC structure serving the “Nations and Regions” implying that the Scots and the Welsh are nations while the English don’t really exist except as a bunch of heterogeneous regions is a national insult reflecting bias by default.

    Not the most pressing issue at the moment but not one to be forgotten.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      ‘Not the most pressing issue at the moment but not one to be forgotten.’

      It might seem so, but it has a significant effect on English people being represented. The BBC has imposed its self between the electorate and the political class. To a great extent what the political class are held accountable for is through the prism of what the BBC sees as important. As the BBC doesn’t recognise an England, then they don’t go chasing after the politicians to answer the English Question.

      Some years ago the BBC asked people to send in questions that Nick Robinson, Evan Davies, and Martha Kearny would put to the party leaders. Labour Party leader and PM at that time was Gordon Brown. Two questions came to the top by a long way. Pensions and the West Lothian Question. If the BBC had chosen to they could have really embarrassed Gordon Brown on the WLQ by insisting on getting an answer out of him. They didn’t , we got one half hearted question on it, a non reply , then Martha Kearny stepped in and said ‘lets move on to more important issues’.

      The BBC issued a document in 1998 ‘ Devolution, The BBC’s program response ‘ here in a 20 page document it mentions Scotland 83 times. England 3 times and only in a Regional context.

      In 2001 election the BBC gave Scotland Wales, and NI nations a message board to debate their election issues. They did not give English people the same curtsey, if the moderators permitted it, which they mostly didn’t, the English national debate had to be done under the NHS messageboard. I tried to tackle the BBC over this. I was put in contact with someone in BBC New medi , who was tasked with building a BBC England wbsite, who asked me if I had any ideas on what should be on a England website, for being Welsh he didn’t have much of an idea. On further pressing I was put up the chain of command and to the Diversity Editor, BBC English regions. And she was only willing to engage on English regional issues.

      The only way we are going to get the BBC to give English people a fair hearing is to get the BBC to institutionally change by making them have a BBC England.

  54. Mike
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    John, people keep asking me what on earth would English MPs need to vote on that non-English MPs wouldn’t or shouldn’t vote on. Would these be examples below ?

    In practice MSPs could decide to set a different income tax rate, up or down a few percent from the HMRC norm in the budget. In the fullness of time the new Scottish settlement may even include Corporation tax so they can attract inward investment and promote jobs growth. The English, in return may well want to, or need to, do the same. That would be a decision for English MPs only. The full house of MPs would have previously voted on the overall budget in the Finance Act.

    Similarly Scotland may well wish to make changes to unemployment and disability benefit, or get rid of the spare room subsidy, the English may wish to change it too as it’s been unpopular, but there’s nothing to say they’d both want to make the same changes, only that they’d have to commit to live within their respective overall budgets.

    And likewise changes to the NHS where Scotland already has scope to vary the use of the budget, and indeed what the budget is; this again could create scope for differences north and south of the border.

    Isn’t this how it might all work??

    Reply Yes. At the moment most health, education and criminal justice is devolved to Scotland so England might want something different which we need to decide for ourselves.

  55. Christine Constable
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    John, how right you are. We also have to prevent Labour’s plans for city regions ever taking off.

    England should have a democracy worth of the name. An English Government (only English MPs approving English legislation) and devolution to the Counties. That is a devolved power structure that not only works but has the affection of the people. Unitary Counties who are ready to take on devolved powers can take them and this will encourage Counties have are not in a Unitary state to streamline and become Unitary. We can reduce the cost of government by eliminating borough and local councils and reduce the expense of Whitehall which is no longer justified given a devolved model. We can use the existing premises at Westminster for English MPs to sit on English matters and look to have British issues officiated by UK wide County Representatives (much like the US Senate represents the States).

    The role of the Lords does need to be reviewed.

    There are many people who have already worked hard to look at the process of English Devolution and academics who have worked on solutions over a number of years. Let’s hope the Conservatives invite those with an interest and with ideas to come together to get the fairest solutions for England and when we have them then let’s put it to the vote.

    Labour and Lib Dems both want to deny England her right to choose – the Conservatives need to stand up now and defend England – we are the only part of the UK that vote Conservative in any number and reneging on change for the English as well as confirming the change for Scotland will have the country in uproar.

    I do not see the Barnett commitment as an issue. In a truly Federal State where each is paying for and contributing to their proportion of costs there should not need to be a Barnett Formula in which case the debate becomes academic.

    We also need a renaissance in English culture. Labour saw it simply as betting and all night drinking, many of us would have preferred to see a flowing of the Arts; Music and English Literature. The BBC has blanked England we even had to campaign to the BBC top put England on their website as a nation (they preferred regions!) Damn cheek!

    What we must have is parity of esteem and a fair deal for the people of England and leadership in support of a revival in English culture.

    We all hope John you can push the Conservatives to do what is right and that you will keep us informed of discussions so we can see how this great change will affect us and avoid our country being let down and betrayed yet again.

    Many thanks for your efforts and courage, we need more people like you!

  56. Feodor
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    “There is no nasty nationalist movement in England. Most English people do not define their Englishness by expressing dislike or hatred of other countries. There is none of that unpleasant undercurrent that you hear on the fringes of Scottish nationalism that is anti English. There is none of that strident nationalism based on anti Russian sentiment which we see in Ukrainian nationalism.”

    If you think English nationalism is exceptional in this regard, you are kidding yourself. Indeed, your very use of the prefix ‘most’ shows that not even you believe this to be true, else you would have simply used the categorical ‘English people do not…’.

  57. David Kemball-Cook
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    “a quick and straightforward way of ensuring that in future we have English votes for English matters.”

    Yes, but how can it be quick and straightforward if, as you said in reply to me on the other post, that this will involve abolishing British domestic ministries and replacing them with English ones?

    Hardly just a matter of replacing the nameplates on the doors on the ministries, surely?

    Surely will involve a lot of legislation and reorganisation

  58. oldtimer
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Just as, as Mr Brown observed, a Yes vote for Scottish independence would be a trapdoor for Scotland, so a No vote and the Vow has proved to be a trapdoor for the Labour party. Ending the practice of Scottish MPs voting on matters relating to England is long overdue.

    Mr Miliband is the big loser as a result of this vote; he must not be allowed to escape his fate. It serves the Labour party right to have landed themselves in this mess. The more that is devolved the less attractive will be the role of Scottish MPs. Mr Darling is already asking himself it it will be worth standing again.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Miliband is only the big loser because the Tories no longer have much to lose in Scotland. In a parallel universe the Tory party would have placed a higher value on the Union and taken care not to adopt UK policies which alienated the Scots, and they would still be winning half of the Westminster seats in Scotland as they did in the 1955 general election. Then the separatist argument that within the UK the Scots were being kept under the thumb of English Tories, and the only answer was to break away from the UK, would never have got off the ground.

  59. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Well that is commencing the campaign in style. Looks to be a sunny day at the foot of the Chilterns too ..enjoy England

  60. JoeSoap
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    “I could not justify to the electors of Wokingham giving Scotland the power to settle its own Income tax rate, and also giving to Scottish MPs the right to vote on what Income Tax we have to pay in England when they would not have to pay it themselves.”

    And so it goes for all issues in England which are decided for Scots in Scotland. The process of UK wide devolution should be done in steps:

    Step 1 – Scottish MPs only to vote on UK wide issues. Any powers attended to in Scotland now to immediately cease to be the remit of Scottish MPs in Westminster
    Step 2 – English voters to be canvassed by referendum as to whether they wish for a separate English Parliament with devolution of equivalent powers currently devolved to Scotland
    Step 3 – On the basis of a yes vote in Step 2, English Parliament established in e.g. York. If no then we continue to exclude Scottish MPs as per Step 1.
    Step 4 – UK wide referendum to confirm extent of devolution of powers to England, Scotland, Wales and NI from Westminster Parliament.
    Step 5 -Westminster scaled back to its proportionate powers as per referendum resut in step 4.

    In this way, the Vow is met subjected to the democratic will of the whole UK, which would give it more long-term validity than the panic promise of the past 10 days.

  61. Wireworm
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I can’t remember who pointed this out, but if England were to be represented in the same way as Scotland, the Tory party would likely split, since otherwise it would hold power indefinitely, which would clearly be unsatisfactory. Once it had split, it isn’t difficult to imagine power in England alternating between the resulting two parties.

  62. NickW
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Thank you and well done.

    The guiding principle behind the new United Kingdom should be Democratic and Financial equality for all its constituent parts; only this will provide a strong bond without resentment, to hold the Kingdom together.

    And who could disagree with the idea of equality for English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh? (Without facing electoral oblivion).

    I see that Salmond is already stirring up trouble about the speed of delivery of the promises that were made. It is vital that the Scottish people are reminded that neither the UK nor England is a dictatorship and that our leaders cannot act without the consent and permission of the people.

    Perhaps we should remind the Scots that it has to be taken as a given that obtaining the consent of the English to deliver the promises made to the Scots is made more difficult by the racist anti English nature of Salmond’s campaign.

    Salmond was not offering the Scots Independence, because very few of the restraints of globalism, geography, or membership of the EU were in his power to change. Nor as has been shown, was he offering the Scots freedom; just the opposite; in Salmond’s Scotland there would have been no freedom to disagree or dissent with the avowed aims of the SNP and the SNP Government; the penalty was and would have been the anger and violence of the mob.

    Scotland has had a narrow escape for which we should all be grateful.

  63. stred
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    The constituents need an MP to help with their needs and complaints. Whether the MP is regional or national does not matter. There are already too many Westminster MPs and more than enough Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish who can deal with day to day matters, many of which are about local problems from Councils and the Tax Office. Feedback requiring national policy could be forwarded to Westminster.

    Workload would stay the same in total. It follows that the total number of regional plus national MPs should stay the same and a reduction of around 200% at Westminster could be made, requiring constituency reform.

    But will turkeys vote for Christmas? Please remind Mr Cameron and any others, who would wish to ignore the issue, that a Ukrainian MP was thrown into a skip last week. If the MPs here wish to ignore the opinion of a large English majority. Well.

  64. John
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Labour say that this is all too difficult to sort out and they need another hundred years to coble together a plan. Please tell them that all of the heavy lifting has already been done, the Scots have had devolution for 16 years and it is tried and stress tested. The English want no less than the Scots already have plus the additional powers they are about to receive. At the moment there are 2 tiers of voter in the UK, and Labour are delighted with that, but the do not want to make 2 classes of MPs, it beggars belief.
    Any party that suggests breaking England into small regions will certainly never get my vote and I am sure I speak fo millions of others as well.

    • Mike
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Labour supporters are saying exactly that and point to the structure of Wales, NI and Scotland in having two types of representatives as the reason why English MPs shouldn’t serve in two capacities. We’ve had new City mayors and a north-east region assembly roundly thrown out so it’s plain to me that we’d be happy with a simpler and cheaper solution than they went for. And as you say they’re prepared for this to drag on, for the scope to open out to their Constitution Convention (bring in the Lords, a Bill of Rights, ….) to keep the ball kicking down the road.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      There are four tiers of voter in the UK, the pecking order being the Scots above the Welsh above the Northern Irish above the English.

  65. Mike Meteor
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Good luck Mr. Redwood. Your proposals have the merit of being clear and easily understood.
    GK Chesterton’s famous words have never been more appropriate……….’Smile at us, pay us, pass us, but do not quite forget, for we are the people of England that never have spoken yet’.

  66. David Edwards
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    There seem to be too many variables in establishing an English legislature to provide a solution which isn’t unnecessarily complicated. If the solution becomes too complicated it is normally the case that the initial precept is not correct. The current precept is to establish an English legislature (in part) to solve the West Lothian issue. However, the devolved nations have a legislature and an executive, and even with an English legislature there is an asymmetry between England and the other home nations. It is the asymmetry which gives rise to the complex solutions which have been previously proposed.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      To suggest asymmetry is now a problem after the Scots voted for their own Parliament is to suggest that the Scots weren’t only voting for their own Parliament but voting to deny English people their Parliament. That is pretty outrageous, and as according to your argument that the Scots were also deciding English constitutional matters , then the English should have been included in the referendum. That they weren’t, and that the asymmetrical wasn’t considered an issue at the time, then bringing the issue now is completely irrelevant.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      I take the contrary view, that the asymmetry is a red herring deployed by those who wish to break up England to solve a problem which does exist.

      Suppose that for some reason the population of England declined from its present ca 57 million to about 5 million, similar to that of Scotland; would we then say that the 5 million remaining in England deserved their own English Parliament whereas the previous 57 million did not deserve their own Parliament?

  67. Freeborn John
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Cameron is trying to co-opt you into a scheme to save his political skin next year. Don’t fall for it. Better to use your time with him tomorrow to tell him straight that anyone who wants to lead the campaign to stay in the EU has no chance to win a majority in either the UK or England and so will have no chance to put this ‘English votes for English laws’ ruse into law. The verdict of the people on cast-iron Cameron must not be denied. He does not deserve any more time in power which was only an unfortunate by-product of the necessity of ejecting Gordon brown, the signer of the Lisbon treaty, from Downing St. in 2010.

    Reply My meeting with Mr Cameron today is not my only chance to meet him or influence him. I will use it to discuss the agenda of English votes for English issues, and a fair cash settlement for Scotland and England, as that is the agreed purpose of the meeting!

  68. Philip
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    There is no nasty nationalist movement in England.

    You have forgotten about the EDP. Every election they descend on Monmouthshire……, spreading anti-Welsh propaganda and distortions about our history, trying to get enough English incomers to vote for them so they can force a referendum no local wants.

  69. Atlas
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    John,

    I hope Cameron understands that going back on his pledge of ‘English votes for English only Laws in tandem with more powers for Scotland’ will be an electoral disaster for him as it will demonstrate that his EU referendum pledge cannot be trusted. And that would undo all the good work you’ve been doing. If Cameron rows back then Farage will be laughing all the way to the bank.

  70. Nigel
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Having read your article in the Guardian on Saturday 20th regarding home rule for England, I do have to agree with the point you are making except in one vital respect. Unlike the Scottish Assembly which is elected under a form of proportional representation (though a far from ideal one), the UK Parliament is elected under the archaic and totally unsuitable first past the post system. I can well understand why the Conservative party would wish to keep this system as it would almost guarantee a majority in most English Parliaments. However, it would also continue to disenfranchise millions of people who vote for smaller parties and who are currently under-represented in the current system. I do hope that you will address this issue in one of your mailings as the current UK electoral system becomes more and more unfair as voters leave the major parties to find an alternative more to their liking.

  71. edward
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I am so glad you have launched this campaign as the English have been overlooked for so long. However you will need to fight for this principle tenaciously as Miliband needs the 41 labour mp’s to gain any sort of majority (the 35% of electorate strategy). I would certainly join any independent campaign if you created one and maybe even rejoin the party if I see that the party is serious on this matter

    I see that members of the 1922 committee are with you which is good. This will be a vote winner for the tories if they stick to your clear message of only English mp’s to vote on English issues.

  72. REPay
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    The 19% in favour of Scottish votes for English laws fear the diminution of power of the Labour Party, and nothing more. A party that constantly tells us it stands for a fairer society, must take into account the desire of England to enjoy some of the autonomy given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. English votes for English laws. This is equity 1.01…Of course, it will struggle to get a hearing.

    I fear that a future Miliband/Clegg coalition will foist regional assemblies on us which will create an expensive tier of government (sorry, valuable sinecures for party members) and an eternal infantilizing chorus of statist demands for more cash from the south-east.

    This is complex stuff and any back of a fag packet solution will collapse in a few years. No need to panic, I assume this highly predictable moment has been years in the planning by the PM and the government.

  73. Javelin
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    If we have a English Parliament I’m confused whether a constituent should go to their English (Country) MP or UK MP on issues of schools? There appears to be an issue that the UKMPs have smaller constituencies but deal with national issues. I understand this is what happens in Scotland at the moment. It seems to make sense to have more English/Scottish MPs and less national MPs.

  74. Cityshrink
    Posted September 24, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I am a ‘never-Tory’ ‘Old Labour’ and found myself agreeing with John Redwood!

    This needs to be cross party and more really.

    I’ve sent this to Peter Hain et al.

    I grew up in South Bristol where I saw myself very much a product of the state. I’m working class in attitude. I was something of a success; the first person in my family to go to University and qualified as a Doctor. Despite my material success I have hoped not to pull up the ladder from those behind. I was a member of The Labour Party during the 1980s and contributed money to them. My membership lapsed but I have always voted Labour until the last General Election.

    For the majority last decade I have worked in Cardiff as an NHS Consultant but lived in Bristol. I lived in Cardiff the past 3 months. I suppose you become aware of your Englishness when you’re in Wales. I have since the 2011 Welsh Referendum started to wonder why despite devolution which involves a renegotiation of power the people of England are NEVER given any say in it. Is the Union always in the interests of England? I almost joined the campaign for an English Parliament. The problem is that lots of these parties are xenophobic if not anti-semitic.

    The Scottish Referendum is an interesting case. Scotland will of course get devo max, which is actually a result NO-ONE voted for. We seem to be able get this major change decided by party leaders sorted in the final few days. No Constitutional Convention for that. Lord Adonis is on the radio telling us about different classes of MP. We already have different classes of MPs because we have different classes of citizen. The democratic deficit is for the English.

    The Labour Party is caught off balance by the raising of the West Lothian question.

    Running parallel with this is that my English-resident daughter has started Uni at Cardiff said that on her Biomedical Course there are no Scots. She also said it wasn’t fair that she’s going to have to pay basically 3x her Welsh course mates. Obviously I can afford this. But what does it mean though at the edges. Those from poorer backgrounds are bound to be put off more in England. So we are saying the populations of Knowle West and Hartcliffe in Bristol have less legitimate needs than those of Pontypridd and Neath?

    This is important because student fees were introduced in England in 2004 and my MP Dawn Primarolo voted for it as she had every right to being an English MP. There was a large number of English Labour abstentions. In fact this meant there was not an English majority for this. The vote was carried by Scottish and Welsh Labour MP votes. The MP for Neath, Peter Hain who now says he’s concerned about Balkanisation and on his website says he’s driven by ‘equality and social justice’ voted in favour. I do not see what democratic right the good people of Neath [including my partner] had to be involved in this decision. I suppose I see this as a fundamentally undemocratic decision coming home to roost. I really struggle how to see how this was right. English votes have to have English majorities.

    The Welsh First Minister and Shadow Secretary are concerned about this because they see this all as a Westminster party political move. I see it as an inevitable consequence of devolution. I am a ‘never Tory’ voter but can tell you that I think the circumstances of Scotland mean the situation is difficult. My nightmare is when the English right wing get hold of this the destructive powers of pent up [English] nationalism get expressed.

    As G.K. Chesterton said:
    “It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
    God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
    But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
    Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.”

    Yours sincerely,

    I’m not expecting a reply!

    I’m not sure what else can be done. Peaceful picketing perhaps?

    Your thoughts gratefully received.

    Reply Thanks for your powerful intervention. You illustrate why we need to make sensible changes now to ensure a fairer deal for England.

  75. Martin
    Posted September 26, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    You support “English MPs votes for English Matters” at Westminster.

    Where matters for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not devolved will it also be “Welsh MPs votes for Welsh Matters” etc. at Westminster?

    What is your attitude to Time being devolved as Southern MPs have tended to favour going to French time , while further North MPs tend to favour Greenwich Time!

  • About John Redwood


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

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