English votes for English issues


The Prime Minister confirmed today that there will be justice for England to the same timetable as Scotland if the Conservatives win the General Election, with devolution for them both (and for Wales and Northern Ireland as they wish). The Chief Whip confirmed that talks are underway to see if English votes for English issues can be introduced this Parliament. I will keep you posted of progress.

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  1. Bill
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Very simple solution.

    Put it in place now.

    Simple 1 line bill

    No MPs shall vote in the commons when the powers have been devolved away.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      I’m afraid it is a far too simple solution for the majority of the current bunch of duplicitous MPs.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      It’s not quite as simple as some may think, because there are actually very few Acts of Parliament which are England-only laws. Indeed of the 23 Acts passed in 2012, and the 33 passed in 2013, there was not a single one which only applied to England. The clue is that there are few Acts which do not apply to Wales, in fact in 2013 it was just the one that only applied to Scotland.

  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I puzzle at your use of the term “devolution” for England. Too far too fast for me and way beyond what I understand by EVEL. Are we all to go crazy and overreact because less than half of 8% want devolution? To my mind an English Parliament would be destructive of too much that has gone before. I have found again Churchill’s definition of a “plain Tory politician” viz [those] “resolved to do as little as possible as well as they could”. That’s fine with me; but to be fair he was talking about the early 1800’s.

    • zorro
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      It is an excellent definition of a good politician- Maintain order, and if you are going to do it, make sure that you do it well. Unfotunately, we have people who insist on doing 20 things mostly in a poor fashion instead of doing five enablers really well, and then let others get on with it….


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Don’t worry, I’m sure that Cameron has no intention of offering the English their own separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and government, it will just be the EVEL sop. A proper devolutionary settlement like that enjoyed by the Scots for the past fifteen years is not for the English, they don’t deserve anything like that. But why on earth you should think that a true English Parliament would be “destructive” is beyond me, and once again I find it quite offensive.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Different strokes for different folks as they say

    • David Price
      Posted October 2, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      It isn’t the 4% who voted yes in the Scottish referendum that are the issue. It is the politicians and civil servants who have engineered devolution that you need to worry about. Maybe it is the best of a bad set of choices but an English Parliament offers a degree of protection from those who would deconstruct our country, at least it would be a bit more protection than we have at the moment.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted October 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        David–Predicting the future is what it is all about. If as I believe likely though I hope I am wrong Scotland becomes independent down the track (Don’t forget the obvious which is that it happened in Ireland) a Federation of the three Parliaments involved would be unbalanced to the point of embarrassment.

        • David Price
          Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          I agree that we have to find a course that gives us a reasonably stable future. Devolution has ben a political experiment and has shown just how inadequate so many of our politicians are. They have been incapable of holding the union together, I don’t count the laatest exercise in bribery as a success.

          What do you suggest as an alternative? We cannot remain as we are, Salmond and his group have abused the English, while getting what they wanted, beyond reconciliation. I am not in favour of increasingly outrageous bribes.

  3. Lifeligic
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Good, but only IF he wins an overall majority. Electoral Calculus now puts the chance of this at only 7% (down from 13% recently) and a 63% chance of a Labour overall majority no overall majority at 30%. His strategy needs to move more towards the UKIP position. Indeed a UKIP deal is really needed. A head for the cliff, head in the sand, John Major strategy will end just as Major’s did.

    We need, at the very least, a solid shopping list of real powers back from the EU and a clear statement that he will leave the EU if/when he does not get them (and he clearly will not get anything substantive). The people are crying out for a proper/real Tory government. If they want lefty socialism light they might as well have Miliband.


    Meanwhile people cannot drive to work as, due to incompetence/computer defects at the DVLA they cannot tax their cars. Did they take expert advice from the Passport Office people? It cannot help productivity and tax receipts much.

    • Lifeligic
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      We shall see what happen in the two (or more?) by-elections. Cameron’s political “finger in the water” experts have got it totally wrong again. The public will know what they want to vote for only when it is offered to them.

      Thatcher won three elections (four if you include Major’s before people worked out what he actually was). Cameron cannot ever beat sitting duck Gordon Brown or Ed Miliband it seems.

    • Lifeligic
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Cameron in his speech this AM

      “When it comes to free movement I will get what Britain needs.”

      Fine Dave, might we perhaps know what you actually think Britain needs on this open door, totally un-selective immigration or are we just too stupid to be told?

      • matthu
        Posted October 2, 2014 at 5:17 am | Permalink

        I will get what Britain needs… and if anyone thinks I can’t or won’t deliver this, I say ‘Judge me by my record!'”

        I expect they will.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 2, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        We are supposed to trust that Cameron knows what Britain needs and will arrange it for us.

        It may be that Britain needs a complete cessation of immigration from all sources, or it may be that Britain needs unlimited immigration from a variety of sources, including the entire youth of India coming here to study and then staying on afterwards.

        We don’t know, apart from the very small minority who favour unlimited and uncontrolled mass immigration we are all prejudiced and ill-informed and even racist, and have a very poor understanding of what Britain needs, but Cameron in his boundless wisdom will know what Britain needs.

        There are times when you have to set aside your own mistaken ideas and accept what the leader says. That is, after all, the Conservative way; for generations the secret weapon of the party has always been the loyalty of its members and their willingness to mindlessly repeat whatever party line is laid down at the top, by those who know better, and that has proved to be the route to its success.

    • Lifeligic
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Some one may pay “ziltch” in income tax working 30 hours on minimum wage Dave but they will pay lots of NI (both employee and employer).

      Just another con really. NI or Income tax what is the difference nothing but the name?

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted October 2, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        I assume the long-trailed policy to merge income tax and NI is still proving too hard to implement. Telling all the pensioners they will have to start paying the equivalent of NI in a combined tax is not likely to prove popular – something for Boris’ first term in 2020 after a disastrous Miliband term.

    • Bob
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink


      “a UKIP deal is really needed”

      You should read Peter Hitchens well argued article “A Tory-UKIP Pact Would be Bad for Britain” on 29th Sep.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 2, 2014 at 4:19 am | Permalink

        Interesting thoughts from Hitchins. But Labour will surely be even worse and the Tories cannot really win without some deal and even then they would struggle.

        The Tories pushed in the right direction by UKIP would surely be far better than Miliband who is just the voice of the state sector unions. The last thing we need, but then Cameron is so very little better alas.

    • zorro
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      He was asked about his plan B on multiple occasions last night by Nick Robinson and singularly failed to outline circumstances on when he would leave if he got nothing….. An excellent lesson in Cast Elasticism…..


  4. Richard1
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Excellent news, well done on ensuring focus on this issue. Justice for England is an essential component of the Conservative general election campaign (I don’t think Labour and the LibDems will agree English votes for English issues in this Parliament unfortunately).

  5. Greg
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink


    Not sure you can trust a CMD promise.

  6. Robert Taggart
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Keep us posted Johnny – AND – keep up the pressure !
    Good work thus far.

  7. Atlas
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Home Rule for the English – about time!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      So you think that UK MPs elected in Scotland not voting on England-only laws would constitute “Home Rule for the English”?

  8. ian wragg
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    There must be an election due. CMD is brimming with promises just like 5 years ago.
    Trouble is when no one believes you, you are generally wasting your breath.
    Too many broken promises John. The outlook looks bleak for the Tories.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Indeed they dare not even mention the promises like IHT that they ratted on (and even put up). Not even a promise on IHT for after 7th May, in the rather unlikely event he wins.

      Without any credibility it is now’t but hot air, delivered in a polished PR/spin way I grant you. It may fool a few and clearly it is a little better than Miliband but only a tiny bit.

  9. libertarian
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Yeh yeh yeh Dave also promised tax cuts, anything basically to get re-elected . Trouble is they promised all this before and didn’t deliver . So here’s my answer. If he believed all of this why didn’t he offer it BEFORE he got badly mauled over the independence debacle? Sorry Dave too little too late.

    We need a new politics and we need it now.

    • zorro
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget that in addition to the tax cuts, he’s going to spend billions more on the NHS!…. How could anyone not believe Cameron and his unique way of keeping promises….


  10. ian
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    There you have it tax cut for the rich on the back of the poor, 1.9 billion in tax cuts for the poor, less cuts in working credits, gain nil, might be a loss in money, the rich 10 billion tax cut no loss. I love your party but I do not vote. Lucky MRS MAY is making new laws to keep the poor in their place.

    • zorro
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the poor are ‘extremists’ in relation to their poverty compared to the 1%. All forms of extremism must be exterminated, exterminated!


    • Mondeo Man
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Is blaming the old for the NHS crisis not fomenting hatred ?

      This law is the thin end of the wedge and is being considered because any old rabble rouser was let into the country.

      What cost in liberty are we paying for these policies ? What economic cost ? What cost in our respect for our leaders ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 2, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Well, in general it’s not the old putting pressure on maternity services.

  11. anonymous
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Kenneth Clarke says UKIP is full of old men disappointed with how their lives have turned out.

    I believe that it was a Tory’s member displayed on a social network recently, wasn’t it ?

    As Denis says. Your party is attacking the wrong targets and they are also saying the wrong things.

  12. Chris
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I do not believe a word the PM says, and the Institute of Fiscal Studies spokesman made it quite clear the level of cuts that would have to take place to fund the giveaways, as well as highlighting that Cameron had apparently said that these tax breaks would occur when the deficit had been got rid of (target year for reaching that is apparently 2018!) How likely is that to be achieved? furthermore, the deficit and debt will both be increased by the tax breaks themselves, so that will mean even greater cuts.

    As for the EU renegotiation promises, see the remarks by the Commissioner Marian Thyssen today, when questioned by Paul Nuttall :
    ‘..Marianne Thyssen, a Belgian eurofederalist who spent 23 years as an MEP before becoming named to the new commission, was asked by Nuttall if she would be willing to give Britain full rights to control its own borders and restrict access to European migrants and said that: “Freedom of movement and the single market is something I am not prepared to shake”.
    In reply to a second question by Nuttall, the new commissioner was asked if there were any concessions at all she would be willing to give Britain on the freedom of moblility across Britain’s borders. She said it was “not our intention” to alter “fundamental principles” saying: “…it has to be clear that we have rules a treaty, fundamental principles written in…Otherwise the very structure of European integration will be torn apart that cannot be our intention.” ‘ Source: UKIP website.

    So, there we have it. The renegotiation proposals seem to be an utter sham.

    • Bryan
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Do not be concerned. Mr Cameron has recently confirmed that he will vote for the UK to leave the EU if he thinks it is in the best interest of the British people.

      So – that’s a NO then!

    • Bill
      Posted October 1, 2014 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      I do not know who or what the Institute of Fiscal Studies are but my hearing of their spokesperson must have been different from Chris’s. There were certainly queries but there was not outright rejection of the Conservative figures. The discussion about ‘cuts’ is always predicated on the assumption that reduction of jobs in the public section or not compensated for by an increase of jobs in the private sector.

  13. Richard1
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    In case you haven’t noticed I think you are misquoted in the main leader of today’s FT, accused of threatening business if they support EU membership. Perhaps a letter and a request for a charitable donation would be in order?

  14. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    I think the conservatives will get in.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 2, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Maybe, it’s not impossible.

      But last night on Newsnight there was a discussion about the Tories’ prospects and one participant reckoned that they had a good chance of coming out of the next general election as the largest party in the Commons. Nobody claimed that they were likely to get an overall majority.

      Why? Well, the previous night there had been a similar discussion and one chap pointed out that when support for the LibDems had collapsed it had collapsed towards Labour much more than the Tories, and some woman reckoned that was worth 7% to Labour. And then the failure to get the changes to the boundaries of the parliamentary constituencies was described as a serious political error, which it certainly was because that is also worth about 7% to Labour. Basically those Tories who congratulated themselves on blocking Clegg’s proposals for reform of the House of Lords may have destroyed their party’s chances of winning the next general election; was keeping the Lords unreformed really worth that?

      As I’ve posted before, ad nauseam, this single webpage shows both of those factors working strongly to the disadvantage of the Tories vis-à-vis Labour:


      On the left hand side of the charts, the yellow line slanting down steeply after the LibDems entered into coalition with the Tories, while the red line was slanting up almost as steeply and crossing the blue line; and in the first line of the Table, the Tories failing to get an overall majority at the last general election even though overall they got 7% more votes than Labour.

      Nevertheless, the discussion always turns to a third factor, the rise of UKIP; even though if somebody without any preconceptions was presented with those charts for just the past two years, and asked to give their instant interpretation of what was happening, they would almost certainly say that apparently UKIP has been giving Labour a bit of a hammering, see how the red line has been going down as the purple line has been going up.

      Of course it’s not fair that the Tories are now effectively about 12% behind Labour simply because they need to be about 7% ahead to counter the continuing bias in the electoral system; one can blame that weasel Clegg for blocking the boundary changes, or one can blame Hague for not recognising that Clegg is a weasel and insisting that under the coalition agreement the law to implement the boundary changes would be the same law that set the AV referendum in motion.

      But then it’s also not fair that a party can be supported by 15% or even 20% of the voters yet still not get a single MP elected, while another party might get 18 seats even though it only has 8% support across the country.

  15. DaveM
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Lots of good sounding noises at the Conf. However, not the clear and simple policies that people want to hear.

    1. To the City: we will protect your status as the world finance centre against the jealous French and Germans by saying no occasionally. We will also ensure that huge multinationals pay the appropriate amount of tax in THIS country.

    2. To the working majority: we will minimise the amount that we have to take from you, but we need to pay off the deficit to make life better in the longer term. We will also ensure that benefits to non-deserving recipients do NOT rise quicker than wages. We will allow devolved national governments to set taxes and we will ask for the minimum acceptable to allow us to conduct the duties of the UK government and we will eliminate wasteful spending. We will award large government contracts to British companies unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary to look abroad. And we will ensure that our agricultural and fishing industries can work in a way which allows them to make a proper living without European interference.

    3. To the non-working or those on low incomes: we will bend over backwards to create more jobs and protect the rights of UK citizens against low-paid immigrant workers, by reducing EU immigration.

    4. To UKIP: we promise to hold a binding in/out EU referendum on EU membership no later than 2017, and will act on the consensus WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT. Until then we will have the guts to tell Brussels that we are no longer allowing uncontrolled EU immigration. But please ask your voters to vote for us in 2015 otherwise none of us will get what we want.

    5. To the general public: we will introduce PROPER devolved parliaments to all 4 home countries in order that you can have the people you want running your local areas – if they are Labour or LibDem, so be it, but YOU can choose the right person for the job and not be affected by people who live hundreds of miles away. We promise equal home-rule status for all our countries. This will allow us as UK MPs to concentrate more fully on a smaller number of issues on a national and international level, as members of the UN, NATO, and the Commonwealth.

    6. To the general public (cont..d): we will introduce a British Bill of Rights based on common sense and British values, and will extradite and imprison those who threaten our society and way of life. We will also make sure that there is sufficient policing, border forces and armed forces to defend and protect our nation.

    And finally – do you really want Brown or Miliband in charge?!!

  16. JohnB
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    “….. talks are underway to see if English votes for English issues can be introduced this Parliament.”

    I wonder what the answer will be – don’t you?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 2, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Well it is political posturing, what they really want is for Labour to have to vote against it prior to the 2015 election. Not a bad idea.

  17. ian
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Cameron promises to spend 250 billion in one speech, best part he and the government have not got a pot to piss in.

  18. ian
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    When ukip made promises to cut tax you can see were the money coming from.

  19. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 2, 2014 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Why, between now and May 2015, can Scottish Labour MPs not exercise a degree of self restraint? e.g. Education is devolved to Scotland, so they shouldn’t vote on English education.

  20. The PrangWizard
    Posted October 2, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    How will ‘English Laws’ address ‘The English Question’ of who governs England? The Prime Minister appoints Ministers for English departments so we could end up with non-English Minister proposing legislation and unable to speak or vote in support of it. And could his integrity be guaranteed? These Ministers will not be answerable to those people in England whom their policies and actions affect. Will this be addressed or fudged? It follows that English ministers must be from England. And will there be a Minister for England? If the job is not done properly it will soon fall apart.

    Who will scrutinise and revise laws for England? English domestic law will be passed to the House of Lords, many of the members of which are not from England. Are non English Lords to be excluded from debate? It follows they must be.

    ‘English Laws’ is a short-term gimmick to a long-term problem, and given that it is election season we must wonder if the Tories are simply chasing votes. The constitution of the United Kingdom was unbalanced by devolution and only full and equal system for England will suffice – we cannot have some half-baked cheapjack method. Why should England be served up with a second rate democracy? This will lead simply to more demands for a complete break up of the UK.

    England must have its own directly elected parliament – there must be a commitment to it. We must never hear the words ‘the last thing England needs is’ from Cameron or anyone else again.

  21. They Work for Us?
    Posted October 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Once again thank you for your efforts, we do need to keep David Cameron’s nose to the grindstone on English votes, on EU renegotiation and immigration.
    For the general election I hope that we will all vote tactically to keep Labour out. In marginal seats where the polls suggest the Conservatives could win, but UKIP could not, then it is true that a UKIP vote is a wasted vote and UKIP supporters should vote Conservative.Where it is suggested that the Conservatives will come in third or fourth and cannot win but UKIP might, vote UKIP to keep Labour or the Liberals out. The Left are great enthusiasts of tactical voting to “keep the Tory out”. We should follow their example in some seats. A pact with UKIP would help.

  • 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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