English votes for English issues

I have been exceptionally busy this week, and I had to divert attention on this site to war and peace and to Labour given the run of events and news. I also see that yesterday’s post which I tried to publish on the main site and local pages at the same time only appeared on local pages. I have had to switch it to the main site to give it greater prominence. Yesterday I gave a new lecture on the politics of identity, looking at the Middle East, Ukraine and devolution within the UK which I will post as soon as I get the video.

Let me catch up with progress so far on my speaking for England campaign.

The Chequers meeting confirmed that the Conservative party is united in wanting an early solution to the English problem. All agreed that English votes for English issues has long been our policy, and all agreed that with more devolution for Scotland it now has to be progressed.

No-one wants to renege on promises to Scotland. Most agree that we make progress on both the Scottish and the English question at the same time. Indeed, they go together, and should result in identical powers for England as for Scotland. There is considerable enthusiasm in the Conservative party for fiscal devolution. Devolved governments should be more responsible for raising the money they spend.

Giving English votes for English issues to English MPs can be done by a simple change to the Standing Orders of the Commons. The first task for Mr Hague must be to see if the Liberal democrats will agree to a government motion to do just this. If they do it can be done quickly. If they refuse England justice, then we will look at other routes to bring this matter to a vote in the House as soon as possible.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

49 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Indeed so what is taking the Hague & the Libdems so long?

    My feeling is that Cameron will cave in as usual and give the give in without obtaining anything substantial for the English. Meanwhile his party is just falling to pieces because no one trusts the man one thou. His chances of winning are now minimal unless he can change direction by 180 degrees.

    A half witted announcement on housing I see. Why on earth should a few people be given a say £40K on their homes paid for by other tax payers who do not. Why only people under 40? They should of course get rid of nearly all the green tosh that makes house building more expensive. The EU now even moving on to Lawn Mower controls!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Also why on earth do the EU now want to make a mess (and thus reduce supply) of buy to let mortgages? It is one idiotic lunacy from the EU and the UK government almost every day that passes. Are they in competition to see who can be the more damaging and idiotic?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      How will these (20% cheaper than market value) homes be rationed or allocated a raffle perhaps? Will they be given to so called state sector “essential workers” or just friends of people in the know perhaps?

      The point of market value is to ensure demand meets supply (given the price) as any real Tory should understand.

      Still perhaps without the daft green tosh controls they will be able to have proper sized windows, instead of the current hideous tiny ones that make new houses so dark and unpleasant. Very often the seals quickly go and the glazing gaps fill up with condensation anyway, rather defeating the point.

    • formula57
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      As one neither a Scot nor under 40 years old I would like to confirm that I am receptive to being bribed without limit with other taxpayers’ money.

      I still want an English parliament though and the absence of a clear vow on that from the government is disconcerting.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Cameron could not change direction even if he wanted to, which in any event I very much doubt he does, because so much that he has done is irreversible. However, after his last minute efforts on Scotland, there has even now to be hope that he, and others, will come to realise that “Conservatives don’t do deals” was a pompous stupid and plain historically wrong thing to say; and get on with discussing terms with Farage. What does he not understand about a very likely minimum of three UKIP MP’s and all elected? Can Cameron have really said to Reckless in response to his question in the 1922 Committee that (horrors, I don’t think) we might end up as an Associate? Unfortunately, despite the fact that any such thought is preposterous, it has the ring of truth, not so much that he said it, but that he believes it. It’s about time somebody in the Conservative Party told him that whether he likes it or not the cry that we might end up with Labour simply doesn’t frighten the horses as much as he thinks it does. There are some complete idiots at the top of the (un)Conservatives these days.

      • Andrew Threlfall
        Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Can I point out that nothing a Prime Minister or a Westminster parliament does is irreversible.
        Despite all the propaganda to the contrary, Britain does have a constitution, ask any constitutional lawyer. Irrespective of the EU, and various autonomous courts, the House of Commons has power to make or repeal any law, treaty or other legal instruments whatsoever. Constitutionally, it remains supreme, but must submit itself to the approval or otherwise of the electorate within 5 years of being elected.
        It is indeed a great pity that many MP’s have chosen to cede important powers to the EU and various courts, who are unaccountable to the British electorate.
        The fact is, given a majority of just 1 vote, a government could withdraw from the EU once the legal instrument was passed.
        Of course their might be consequences, huffing and puffing, but the power and authority is there waiting to be used.

        A personal thanks to Mr Redwood for his courage in speaking so plainly and helpfully in the last few weeks. Alas, he remains gallantly loyal to a party where the majority of it’s MP’s do not share his views.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted September 28, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          Andrew–Don’t disagree much with what you say but in practice some changes are indeed irreversible. I wasn’t in fact referring to the EU and I agree that it is conceivable that anything to do with that ghastly construct could be reversed. However, it is hard to see how for instance homosexual marriage could be reversed or the changes made to the monarchical succession not to mention the concessions and hand outs given mainly to Scotland, in particular the giving of votes to kids still wearing school uniforms. Bit like wages, which economists say, not without reason, are downwardly inflexible. I have just read that Cameron denies that he is not a proper Conservative–Hah! (Dismiss ed) the modernisers I say.

  2. Cheshire Girl
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Why am I not not very hopeful about this. I notice that in politics there is lots of ‘agreement’ on things, but often nothing actually gets done!

    • English Pensioner
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      The “agreement” is to keep quiet and hope the problem goes away !

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    You say: “No-one wants to renege on promises to Scotland” well these promises were not made by the UK electorate they were made mainly by Cameron, Miliband, Brown and Clegg without authority from the people. If they renege so what, perhaps because they simply cannot deliver without getting a fair deal for the English? The promise should not have been made by Cameron, it was not needed anyway. He had no democratic authority to make it. Everyone knows that Cameron’s word is worthless as he has shown very consistently indeed. Anyway he only has a 10% chance (and that reducing) of an overall majority in May.

    Certainly the excellent & principled Mark Reckless does not seem to trust a word Cameron says.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Indeed. 2 points:

      Why bother with Parliament at all if the three party leaders can get together and confirm policy by themselves? More so policy dictated by a never-elected ex-Prime Minister.

      Conservative MPs, one by one, are gradually seeing the light on the fact that whether Clegg Cameron or Miliband are to be PM, nothing will change. Whilst earlier MPs doing this will be seen as brave, the latecomers will be seen as desperate. Nota bene.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      David Davis surely has it right in the Mail (as indeed does Mr Mark Reckless):

      When George Osborne said in 2007 he would raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million, a six-point poll deficit turned into a three-point lead. When David Cameron was seen to stand up to Europe over the election of Jean-Claude Juncker he went up five points in the polls. Such popularity is not easily explained by the traditional moderniser analysis, where Europe is a taboo subject.
      This is not about giving in to Ukip. This is about refocusing back to core values, and promoting policies to help those who support us. We must reach out to the wider Conservative family – a family that has returned Conservative governments for most of the last 200 years.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2772283/The-threat-UKIP-no-longer-laughing-matter-Get-Dave-lower-taxes-win-Election-writes-DAVID-DAVIS.html#ixzz3EbloSskI

      The tragedy is that the Conservatives could still win. They just need to move to sensible policies, lower taxes, far less government waste, far less EU, no green crap, cheaper energy, fewer regulations, smaller government, and far votes for the English……. Cut all the modernising drivel out.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Mr Davis has it wrong.

        What is doing for the Tories (and Labour) is mass immigration.

    • David Kemball-Cook
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      hear hear!

  4. Old Albion
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Whilst i welcome the simple fact that the Government is looking at the issue, 16 years after Devolution was handed to the rest of the (dis)UK.
    English votes on English issues is nothing more that the first step in what must be a journey to an English Parliament in a UK Federation.

  5. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Are we going to get the limp excuse again – the LibDems won’t agree? Sounds like it. If a vote were to proceed anyway, what would be the consequences of a defeat? Would it not at least show a clear divide between groups and, at least some sign of intent and backbone on a serious issue? Would it not at least show people who is on which side? We could see then which Tory MP’s are for England, and those who are against. But then ‘fudge’ is probably the order of the day.

    And I ask again, is the Conservative party to produce a Manifesto for England? If you don’t it is clear your party is not serious about justice for England. It is not enough to mention that ‘English Votes’ has been in the UK manifesto before – fat lot of use that has been in the past. People don’t believe Fake Earnest about his EU referendum promise, why should we believe him about justice for England, he has made many anti-English statements in the past; it’s only in his recent panic that he even mentions England. And let’s not get too carried away with ‘English Votes’. That is not the solution, only a true English parliament with directly elected MPs will do.

    What England needs is a new Cromwell, someone who will rid England of the corruption and anti-Englishness of the British political and Unionist Establishment which holds our nation back. There will never be a renaissance in England until we are free.

    And, by the way, how long will Fake Earnest last as leader? And who will be the next to ‘jump ship’? Daniel Hannan? It’s getting a bit critical for you, methinks.

    Reply As I have told you we are looking at a Plan B to vote on english votes even if Lib Dems prevent a government motion. If there is a way to do it – and we think there probably is – we will do it.

  6. Peter Stroud
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I see that Sir William Cash has written to William Hague, suggesting standing order 39 could be amended to stop Scots MPs voting on purely English matters. JR, perhaps you might like to comment on this.

    Reply It follows on from my lobbying of the government and my proposal that we amend SOs. Bill and I work together on this.

  7. Liz
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Ed Milliband wants to make the main plank of Labour’s electoral pitch – the “NHS” but what he really means of course is “NHS England” as health is devolved to Scotland and Wales and Westminster has no say there. If he won the election with a small majority he could only push through changes to NHS England with the use of Scottish and Welsh MPs. No wonder he will not answer the question on whether he thinks that English laws should only be voted on by English MPs. Useful ammunition for the Conservatives in their arguments for English votes for English laws

  8. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink
  9. eeyore
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Sounds like solid progress to me, Mr Redwood. You have broad agreement in principle, a track to move forward on, and a Plan B forming if Plan A hits the buffers. What more could one want at this stage?

    I do feel the hot breath of Mr Miliband on my neck, though:

    ” … as one who fears a frightful Fiend
    Doth close behind him tread.”

    We now know, because he has told us, that his whole duty to God and man consists of getting into power; governing well and wisely is far from his thoughts. If he wins next year’s election – the odds are with him – any settlement not already nailed down hard will be junked and England balkanised in the narrow interests of his party. So time, as the lawyers say, is of the essence.

  10. Richard1
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    The left wil probably try to get votes for 16 year olds into any package agreed, as they think children are more likely to vote for statist parties since they don’t pay tax. The Conservative response should no to this and in any event such a change should only be implemented after referendum approval in the whole of the UK. Indeed if the LibDems look like they will try to deny justice to England, an England only referendum like the 1997 referendum in Scotland would be a good Conservative policy. This is an issue on which the Conservatives will very easily be outflanked by UKIP unless they are very clear with the left in demanding Justice for England.

    • David Price
      Posted September 29, 2014 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Who knows what the real UKIP policy is on English Parliament. In their 2010 manifesto they want to retain national assemblies but replace MSPs etc with Westminster MPs, so they are clearly statist.

      Neither is it clear what the real UKIP policy is on referendums, it does seem to vary. On the one hand they espouse direct democracy with referendums callable by 5% of the electorate (2010 manifesto). On the other they have declared that if they hold the balance of power they will force repeal of the 1972 act and not hold a referendum on leaving the EU (UKIP conference, 26th September 2014).

      UKIP willingness to uphold the democratic process does appear to be a bit variable. So while they rant about how dare the Conservatives appease the Libdems they would be quite happy to exploit the same circumstances themselves and deny the electorate a democratic say.

      UKIP amateurism is a camouflage used by Farage and the rest of the UKIP politicos to mask the fact that they are not a breath of fresh air and no different for the liblabcon tribes.

      UKIP claimed to be the true conservatives and unionists but now push for envy taxes on items they deem luxuries and suggest Scotland should be kicked out of the UK. Essentiually they will say and do anything to get elected, so no different from any other political party really. And don’t forget the taxpayer funded junkets to Brussels for the UKIP faithful.

  11. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    So, Cameron has said the ‘last thing England needs’ is it’s own separate parliament. He has also said that Scotland will get exactly what it wants even if the English don’t get a just solution. We know now what will happen. England will be stitched up again by the treacherous Unionists.

    Where is the new Cromwell?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      But Cromwell imposed an unwanted union of England and Scotland in 1652.

  12. oldtimer
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I think this is the right approach. Mr Cameron, just now on Marr, confirmed it. There appears to be no fundamental objection to achieving this by a procedural change in the HoC; failing which it becomes a GE issue if Labour and the LibDems oppose it. If they do I expect you to insist that it is put to a vote before the next GE.

    My question is what, if anything, is being done about the role of the HoL in giving effect to these reforms?

    Reply Of course I am seeking a vote before the Election. If Lib Dems agree it can be a government motion, if not we have other ways we think might allow us to put the question anyway. As we need around 20 extra votes for a majority, or around 40 abstentions, it could be close even with official Labour and Lib dem opposition to us.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      There must be many honourable Labour MPs who would feel they would have to support fairness for England.

  13. bluedog
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    ‘Giving English votes for English issues to English MPs can be done by a simple change to the Standing Orders of the Commons.’

    Worthy sentiments, but alas, a solution that solves one problem by creating another. Given the apparent sensitivity of Scottish nationalist opinion to any real or imagined slight, the measure suggested is certain to inflame nationalist opinion. One can imagine the blogger headlines, ‘Scottish MPs at Westminster become second class with lesser rights’, and those headlines would be right.

    Better by far to be patient and act on the lines, ‘…should result in identical powers for England as for Scotland.’ If England is to be devolved, do it with due process and establish a new UK parliament on federal lines.

    In the current constitutional climate it is essential to avoid Cameronesque quick fixes that do not survive any predictable challenge. Bear in mind that the Catalan situation is heating up and if that province of Spain declares UDI, the SNP will whip up a storm.

    Essential not to give the SNP any ammunition for a renewed fight.

    Reply Not so. SNP MPs do not usually vote on English matters and see the justice of our cause. The obstacles come from Labour/Lib Dem. There are 4 levels of MP at the moment, with English MPs at the bottom of the hierarchy as we cannot vote on many matters in the Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but their MPs can vote on anything about England!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      And, more importantly, because of that there are 4 levels of UK citizens with those in England at the bottom.

    • bluedog
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply, thank you, Dr JR, fully understood.

      If the UK parliament is to become an English parliament by virtue of a change to standing orders, the legitimacy of the UK itself is challenged. You have previously and repeatedly expressed the need for an English Parliament, with which one can only agree. By extension, the need for a discrete bi-cameral UK parliament is then increased. Critics of excessive governance should recognise that leaving the EU is the best anti-dote to excessive layers of government! Its probably time to scrap the parish councils too.

      You say, ‘SNP MPs do not usually vote on English matters and see the justice of our cause. ‘ This may well be the case, but relying on the goodwill of your enemies seems unwise and in itself, a tacit recognition of the validity of their own position. Given your own recent and effective defence of the Union, your argument in this regard seems to undermine your own achievements in supporting the No vote.

  14. Mark
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    you and the conservatives will regret the day you joined with lib dems . Should gave gone alone in 2010 and called an election 6 months later. camerons biggest mistake. Now UKiP on the rise and tories can never get past 35%

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Mark – It wasn’t a mistake if you share LibDem attitudes.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Bill Cash’s proposal for the changes to the Standing Orders is reproduced here:

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2014/09/tory-plan-to-force-through-evel-advances

    In my view, JR, just another PR exercise, like the Wharton/Neill referendum Bill.

    This was in the Tory manifesto for the 2010 general election:

    “Labour have refused to address the so-called ‘West Lothian Question’: the unfair situation of Scottish MPs voting on matters which are devolved. A Conservative government will introduce new rules so that legislation referring specifically to England, or to England and Wales, cannot be enacted without the consent of MPs representing constituencies of those countries.”

    As in other cases where Tory manifesto commitments were abandoned immediately after the election during the closed door negotiations with the LibDems, Hague could have insisted that they must support this obvious change to the Standing Orders of the Commons, but there was no mention of it in the Coalition Agreement.

    Then if the LibDems voted against it, as they probably would, and helped to vote it down, the Tories would use that to have a go at the LibDems as well as Labour. They don’t seem to realise that if they want a chance of wining an overall majority they actually need the LibDems to divert a good number of votes which would otherwise go to Labour.

    I suppose that given the dire economic and financial circumstances at the time Tory MPs really had no alternative to accepting the agreement as negotiated and getting a stable government in place as soon as possible; but this is not a way of proceeding which I would wish to ever see repeated at Westminster and minimising its frequency is the main reason why I would support the continued use of the FPTP electoral system for UK MPs, but with the rider that a second chamber with powers of delay should be elected by SPTP so that it would always be dominated by the opposition parties.

  16. Bert Young
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    That there was unanimity at Chequers is one thing but the fact remains the Barnett formula was promised by the 3 leaders . The differential of maintaining a per capita tax allowance favouring the Scots means there cannot be an equal deal for the rest of the Union . I accept that by changing Standing Orders English votes for English matters can be implemented , however , the per capita differential for the Scots will still be the same and things will not be equal . Recent press announcements suggest there are big differences in the opinions of members of the Cabinet – these opinions emerging at the most sensitive time to the Conservative Party ; is it reasonable to now assume that Cameron’s leadership is challenged and a shift to more traditional Conservative values is on the cards ? ; were this to be true it might be the message the electorate want to hear .

    Reply The Barnett formula will apply to a smaller base once we implement fiscal devolution.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you could explain, JR, why you believe that England should suffer the indignity of having its Parliament subsumed within the Parliament for the whole of the UK and its government subsumed within the government of the whole of the UK, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all deemed worthy of their own separate and separately elected devolved Parliaments or Assemblies and separate devolved governments.

    What we really need are not changes to the Standing Orders in the UK Parliament but an Act of the UK Parliament, a Devolution Act which started:

    “There shall be five Parliaments within the United Kingdom.

    The first and superior Parliament shall be the present Parliament for the whole of the United Kingdom, which shall continue to be the supreme legal authority for the United Kingdom and shall exercise the powers reserved to it under this Act.

    The four inferior Parliaments shall be those for respectively:

    England
    Northern Ireland
    Scotland
    Wales

    which shall exercise only those powers delegated to them by the Parliament of the United Kingdom under this Act.

    No person may be a member of more than one of the Parliaments at the same time.”

    Reply Politics is about winning arguments and votes. I am seeking to win this as I think it can be won.

  18. ian wragg
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I’ve just watched CMD and Nigel on the Andrew Marr show. 2 more different people you could not imagine. Nigel answered every question succinctly and to the point. CMD waffle, waffle etc.
    Andrew asked CMD if we were going to negotiate the free movement of people within the EU and his only answer was when new countries join they will have to wait until their economies merge. That says nothing about then half a billion entitled to come at the moment and the Turks etc who appear to come here at will.
    I see the Eastern Europeans are demanding we pick up the dole payments for returned workers. Is there no end to the largesse with our taxes.
    I see the RAF are using £half a million bombs to destroy Humvees. That’s very cost affective.

  19. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    i can’t see why the Liberal Democrats should refuse. It does not affect their affiliation with the EU and their sentiments for fuller integration.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Because it would be to the advantage of the Tory party, like the boundary changes which they blocked.

  20. libertarian
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The Conservative Party ( well the few that are left anyway ) aren’t united in anything. The Conservative Party is now just a rag bag of people with wildly divergent views. The only thing that they will deliver with absolute certainty is more defections to the purples, more sleaze & corruption stories, more EU and a Labour government. Thanks for that

  21. forthurst
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    “I also see that yesterday’s post which I tried to publish on the main site and local pages at the same time only appeared on local pages.”

    This site was definitely disrupted for me on Friday when I tried to access the site in both the morning and afternoon and a post I tried to transmit pre-debate (on war) disappeared when the site did not respond; have there been server problems?

    Reply Maybe – in a busy week that was the last thing I needed.

  22. English Pensioner
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Our “Leaders” promise Scotland more money and other perks without even consulting Parliament, let alone the electorate. Yet, when it comes to doing something for the largest country in the Union, there are suddenly problems.
    Cameron promises “renegotiation” with the EU, but gives no clue as to what he intends to try to renegotiate or his objectives. At the same time he’s allowed the EU “Justice” system to have more say in this country over matters which were previously excluded.
    Taxpayers are now to subsidise houses for first time buyers – Why? I doubt if things are more difficult now than when we bought our first house about fifty years ago.
    The National Debt has risen faster under the Tories than it did under Labour, yet according to the Mail, the country is to buy 20 Tomahawk missiles at around a million pounds each. Will the cuts to benefits pay for them?
    We’ve had talk and promises for nearly five years, but by and large that is all. Ask someone what changes this government has made and the most likely answer seems to be “gay marriage”. Nothing about cutting the deficit or reducing immigration. Or the bonfire of Quangos which actually seem to have multiplied.
    It will make absolutely no difference to me whether the Tories or Labour get in at the next election as the leadership of both parties are totally out of touch with reality. Promises to Scotland “must” be kept, but those to the rest of the Union can be ignored. I just hope a few more MPs see the light and defect to UKIP.

  23. Terry
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Enough talk. Do it now! I trust the normal dithering Dave will turn deaf ears to the protestations of both Miliband and Clegg, both who really are in it only for themselves to ensure a few socialist seats in the HoC, courtesy of Scottish MPs. It must be confusing to democratic countries around the world to learn that the West Lothian Question remains unanswered by the Mother of all Parliaments.

    It is a fine example of anti-democracy that will be praised by Mr Putin and the Chinese leadership and was probably used by Mr Mugabe when seeking re-election for the umpteenth time. And here we are in the UK with both Labour and Libdem matching the Communists in their techniques for winning votes, albeit legally, allegedly. When can this country become Great again?

  24. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    EV4EL = a good idea, but, mefears = bad politics !…
    All parties of the left want to see England ‘Balkanised’ – for their own partisan advantage – not for the benefit of England.

    Johnny – you have said before (and oneself has agreed) – that you do not want to see the creation of a separate English Parliament.
    Indeed, but, methinks the day will come when nothing but a separate directly elected English Parliament will suffice – that would be the day Blighty in its ‘wisdom’ elects a Liebore Government – one which will have the power to ‘overthrow’ EV4EL.
    We have to face it – a federal UKGBNI be in the making – we rely on you and your colleagues Johnny to make it work for England !

    Reply the first important step on the journey to justice for England is English votes for English issues, a demand so reasonable dare they vote it down?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      That day is long past for me. At one time, many years ago, I might have accepted the kind of EVEL or change to the Standing Orders or English Grand Committee fudge that is being mooted. Then I realised that unless we had a separate and separately elected Parliament for the whole of England, whose existence was entrenched in the UK constitution, then the euromaniacs would NEVER give up on their efforts to break up England, NEVER.

  25. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I have to record my dissenting voice. Devolution has been a cock up. The idea pedalled so assiduously by Labour and the SNP that the governance of Scotland has improved since Holyrood was introduced is complete bunkum. All that has happened is that the Barnett formula, with higher public expenditure per head in Scotland, has allowed Holyrood to hand out a few party bags. One of them has been free University education at Scottish Universities. The one group not allowed this benefit is English students – and it is England that has been financing it.

    DevoMax will be a total cock up. Do you think that Scotland will readily give up the Barnett formula just because it is being offered additional tax raising powers? They will try to keep both and the result will be pure poison.

    The least bad outcome will be the UK continuing to collect all taxes and Scotland gaining one more area of responsibility, e.g. welfare, and being given a bigger share of the taxes to spend. Limit DevoMore to that.

    The Scottish Labour Party MPs can end the incipient constitution crisis right now by agreeing not to vote on English matters, e.g. education. If education has been devolved, Scottish Labour MPs should not vote on any aspect Of Michael Gove’s revolution. Technology could help – tag these Labour MPs with implanted micro-chips and set detectors at the lobby doors that would beep like mad if a tagged MP tried to enter.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 28, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Devolution has been a cock up for a variety of reasons, not least the assumption that the English would be perfectly happy to see England subjected to a form of devolution which amounted to dissolution.

  26. matthu
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Grant Shapps tells those who will listen that Conservatives feel betrayed by Reckless’s resignation, totally missing the irony of who’s been making broken promises.

    As Mark Reckless said “The reason we supposedly went into coalition with the Lib Dems was to restore order to our public finances. Yet, in five years, a Conservative-led government will add more to the national debt than Labour did in 13.

    “And now the three Westminster party leaders have just committed themselves indefinitely to giving every Scot £1,600 more a year.

    “I also promised to help make government more accountable, so MPs would answer to their constituents, not their Whips. Mr Cameron promised Parliament its own timetable, free votes for MPs when amending legislation, open primaries to select MPs, to cut the number of MPs, and give voters the right to sack their MP. None of these promises has materialised.

    “We also promised to do away with Labour’s top-down housing targets that forced us to concrete over our green fields.

    “Yet, now I find that, under government pressure, my local Conservative council in Medway is increasing its housing target from the annual 815 a year we had under Labour, to at least 1,000. Permission has been given to build 5,000 houses in a bird sanctuary. If that goes ahead, where will it stop?

    Despite the promised EU referendum, it is assumed that current rates of open door EU immigration will continue for at least 20 years. I promised at the last Election, as did every other Conservative candidate, that we would cut net immigration from the hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands. ”

    I know John will claim that the Conservatives are in a coalition and are not to blame for breaking all of these promises. But Cameron doesn’t even try.

    Instead, he applies three-line whips to keep his MPs in line. He wastes parliamentary time on things that were never mentioned in anybody’s mandate and totally ignores others that have previously been agreed by both coalition partners.

    He makes promises he never has any realistic proposition of being able to deliver, or even fight for.

    He won’t commit himself on what powers need to be returned by the EU. And now we hear that he openly defends the European Arrest Warrant in passionate terms – despite the fact that as a backbencher he spoke strongly against such a warrant.

    The bribe to first time house buyers under the age of 40 is clearly both ageist and a meaningless ploy merely designed to deflect attention from the UKIP conference.

    Cameron will go down in history as a turncoat.

  27. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Sounds awfully straightforward. Like the promises of the odd gold prospecting companies one comes across. A sure thing, what can go wrong?

  28. DaveM
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m fairly sure that JR knows what the general sentiments and desires are from this part of the political spectrum, and indeed from most of the rest of the electorate, and I for one trust him to do what he can to push the issues to the forefront of the Con manifesto for the GE.

    The key word, though, is trust. And no-one quite trusts Cameron. No-one. And until he steps up, says something meaningful and then comes good on the promise, no-one will.

  29. Andrew Smith
    Posted September 29, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    OMG I’m on John Redwood’s site again. I am an NHS Consultant in Wales. I am a Bristolian. I have voted Labour in all bar one GE. Had seen Labour as the holder of these vales etc. I am a ‘never-tory’!

    BUT

    If you look at HoC Library then Wales is hugely overrepresented. England’s cons are about roughly it’s 72k v 57k. Coupled with this there are devolved powers that WAG decides and people elect AMs to do this. In Wales if you have a problem in education. You go and see your AM. Welsh MPs do not see even Welsh people with education problems. Yet somehow when they go across the Bridge or train through the tunnel they are competent to understand Bristol’s education problems! They have no-one in their constituency to represent. I suppose they follow the party line. I would have thought it was a question of conscience. The good people of Bristol are hit twice, firstly by having larger constituencies and then their votes are further diluted with MPs from Wales etc voting.

    Labour doesn’t want to talk about this. I have been fobbed off by the local MP’s office. I’ve had three contacts with them. They fail to return phone calls. Promised letters do not arrive. They can try to not to have contact but i’m sufficiently agitated to push this.

    I thought Labour was the inheritor of things like The Peoples Charter (1838). {via British Library}. That was why I used to vote for them. The Chartists saw equal representation as central to the solutions of industrialisation. You have to have roughly equal constituencies with equal votes. A basic democratic structure. Labour actually doesn’t want this.

    Lots of Labour MPs are happy to sign the Early Day Motion 1088 in 2013. In other words they like to wrap themselves in the history but don’t want the contents of the document.

    I am so annoyed…..

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page