Speaking for England

 

Yesterday was an acrimonious day in the Commons. The debate on devolution and new settlement for the UK after the Scottish referendum brought out some strong disagreements.

The SNP accused the 3 main Union parties of bad faith. They said the promises were not being delivered, though all 3 parties confirmed they intended to do so. The SNP said we should only be debating Scotland, yet the debate was a general one on devolution with many wishing to discuss the consequences for England.

The Liberal Democrats and Labour mainly argued against any immediate justice for England. They disliked English votes for English issues, oppose an English Parliament, and want to take many months of consultation and discussion before coming up with any proposals of their own.

The more realistic ones accepted that the North East referendum on regional government had been decisive , and agreed elected regional government is dead. So now they wish to pursue selective devolution to selective cities or larger councils. They had no answer to the question of who would fix England’s tax rate, or replied that the whole Union Parliament should still do that.

The SNP supported English votes for English issues, and were keen on maximum fiscal devolution to Scotland. Wales and Northern Ireland were unclear about how they would like to proceed.

I made the case for fairness for England. I will post my speech later today.

 

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81 Comments

  1. Mark W
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    It strikes me that the Tories are offering Scotland the best and most straight forward arrangement of home control. This is good. Failing to get an overall majority might leave the odd outcome that if the SNP make big gains that a Tory SNP confidence and supply deal would be easy. You give them control and they effectively leave you with English control. This scenario is both possible and has the benefit of being most amusing in the face of labour/libdem arrogance on England.

    • Richard1
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      It is an outrage that Labour MPs including in particular Gordon Brown, principal creator of the deficit and the Great Recession should now be arguing against justice for England. The Labour party created the problem of Scottish separatism, they must now accept its logical and fair comsequence , which is equivalent home rule for England.

  2. Excalibur
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    This is the beginning of the end for the United Kingdom, JR. CMD’s ‘vow’, with others, was precipitate and poorly considered. The devolution promises to Salmond in order to get the desired referendum outcome, and the speech from the ‘presidential podium’ outside No.10 afterwards, has enabled a widespread sense of aggrievement. The inability of the political parties to agree properly constructed legal arrangements for the ceding of more powers, and the new settlements for the UK, will result in a constitutional ‘dog’s breakfast’. I fear more acrimony.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      I tend to agree. Back of the envelope, last minute, unneeded, panic measures by Cameron and others that were not thought though. He is not in a position to make these without them being approved by the English and the rest of the UK whose democracy it it. The democracy (such as still pertains) does not belong to Cameron, Clegg, Milliband and G Brown after all it belongs to the people.

      Anyway Cameron never has any difficulty in going back on cast iron or other vows and promises. He can just say he is unable to deliver without a fair settlement for England. Without that he is history anyway and probably even with it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        I see from the Telegraph:

        Inheritance tax threshold could rise to £1m next April, Cameron hints
        The Prime Minister says middle-class families should be spared the 40% death tax on houses where they had lived for many years. (just on houses where they have lived for many years is it now?)

        Is there an election coming up? So Cameron has not forgotten his promise completely then? Why now just a vague and nuanced “hint”.

        The tax is hugely destructive to incentives at 40% over £325K and withering each year by inflation it is absurd. You do need to cut daft things like the bloated state, HS2 and the daft green subsidies to pay for it though.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Any IHT change just to take effect for a few days from the budget in April 2015 until a few days after the election on May 7th 2015, one assumes. Perhaps plan your death for that very short window!

        • Hope
          Posted October 15, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          The solution to get rid of these people is to vote UKIP.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Indeed, it is the beginning of the end because we have a political class so devoid of vision.

      It is beyond belief for them to think that making English people constitutional second class citizens was a stable long terms constitutional settlement.

      The ONLY solution is to federate the country and give all the nations of the UK equality, but that doesn’t suit vested party interests, so rather than doing what is best to keep a Union they are going to lose the lot.

    • David Price
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I agree there will be more acrimony, particularly if EVEL is pushed as the perpetual solution for English representation while the Scots pseudo-seperatists get all that they want.

      But what alternative is there – unwind all the devolution to date? You cannot do nothing nor simply leave things as they were before the referendum. Blaming it all on Cameron neither a solution nor is it a reasonable division of blame if that is even the correct word. Farage stated that Cameron should have offered devo max from the beginning so you must blame Farage as well for not doing enough to maintain the UK over a separate Scotland.

      Much blame surely attaches to the BBC and allied institutions that have allowed themselves to go too far to the pro-EU left and so British institutions no longer represent the aspirtations or loyalties of the British people. The rot has set in so far there that you may have to dissolve one to get rid of the other?

      The issue for non-devolutionists is what does the UK offer it’s constituent nations and why should they stay in, the same question that applies to EU membership. It may simply come down to the electors choice which will make for interesting times as no politcal party can be trusted or believed.

    • acorn
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      This must be the most incompetent and economically illiterate government, the UK has had in my lifetime. You can’t devolve 100% of income tax, or any tax, putting it out of the control of the currency ISSUER, that is (currently) the UK TREASURY. “Federal” sovereign currency governments, like Germany or the US, would lose control of “fiscal” (tax and spending) policy; it would be a recipe for tax anarchy.

      I think Punch and Judy land should study how a “local” tax system works within a “federal” tax system first. Preferably before they build a copy of the failed Eurozone in the UK.

      Sorry JR, I have read Hansard and I am not putting any win bets on for EVEL or is it EVEI now.

  3. Ian wragg
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I bet before the election England gets nothing and Scotland gets all it wants. Gordon Brown should be banned from debating as he tells outright lies. He maintains it’s Ok for him to vote on English education bills etc as he is an MP. CMD will be capitulate as usual and we will have the bill.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      If Cameron does capitulate that will be the final straw for him.

      The country is crying out for sensible Tory/UKIP government about 46% combined support against Labour’s on 36%. Yet for want of a sound compass he look like throwing it all away a second time.

      Much talk of a Green Blob on the BBC R4 this AM and tomorrow. It is not a “blob” it is an evil dangerous, parasitic tumour doing huge damage both economic & environmental. We have energy and other policies led, not by logic, science, economics and engineering but by fake green religious priests who seem to have no understanding of reality. Why does Cameron keep these people in place. Surely he knows (even from personal experience) how absurd & useless his Notting Hill wind turbine was. Does he still want other to repeat the mistakes he made with tax payer grant support?

      Nature cannot be fooled.

  4. Antisthenes
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    The attitude of the left on the issue of justice for England speaks volumes about their attitude on democracy. They in fact do not believe in it. But then their stance on the EU, statism, draconian/authoritarian laws and regulations (although too many on the right support the same) which they so much champion so as to drive forward their ideologies (regardless of how damaging they are for the nation and it’s citizens) has already shown them to be for central state control and against civil liberties, freedom of choice and the individual and against self determination of nation states.

  5. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Please do stick to your guns on MPs being excluded on voting on devolved matters within the Westminster chamber.

    The last thing we need is a competing parliament for England with extra politicians and its inherent costs.

    Part of the solution must be the introduction of a duty of care for the consequences of actions specifically on the MP’s consituents. Had it not been abandoned in fear recall would be a good tool in this matter.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Correction should read “certain MPs being excluded from voting on devolved issues”.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      “The last thing we need is a competing parliament for England with extra politicians and its inherent costs.”

      It’s been repeatedly explained that hiving off some of the present work of the UK Parliament to a separate Parliament for England would not necessarily mean extra politicians and costs, and whether or not it was competing with the UK Parliament would depend upon how clearly the latter had defined the areas of responsibility being devolved to it and upon its willingness to ask the Supreme Court to draw the line more clearly when that was necessary.

      Just because a devolved institution noisily claims that it has the legal right to do this or that, when in fact UK law provides no clear legal authority for its proposal, there is no need for the UK institutions to pander to it by giving way rather than having its proposed actions declared ultra vires by the Supreme Court.

      The SNP tried this on about the devolved Scottish institutions having the legal right to hold a referendum on independence, but now one of its leading figures has explicitly acknowledged that this was and is not the case.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted October 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        “It’s been repeatedly explained that hiving off some of the present work of the UK Parliament to a separate Parliament for England would not necessarily mean extra politicians and costs”

        Politicians and those seeking a solution for their own purposes often “repeatedly explain” things but it does not make it so.

        More bureaucracy means more money expended, like the scorpion in Aesop’s fables its their nature…

  6. mickc
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Well done. You were very good on the Daily Politics.
    This is an extremely important matter which we have to win.

  7. mickc
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Can this be carried without the support of the Lib Dems?

    Reply Possibly, which is why I want it tabled and voted on.The SNP agree with English votes.

  8. Mondeo Man
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    None of this matters when we’re run by the EU.

    Thanks for speaking up for us though.

    • mickc
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Yes, it matters a great deal.

      Labour have an inbuilt advantage with regard to boundaries, and strong support in Scotland (although this may be withering).

      It is essential that England has proper representation which means that the Scottish Labour MPs should not be allowed to vote on English matters.

      If EVEL is won, it will be important that legislation is not proposed specifically to “mix” in Scottish affairs to allow Labour to utilise its Scottish MPs.

      Scotland will go independent in the next 20 years anyway but in the interim it is vital that England is allowed its own voice.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Regional break up of England.

      “It is all too London centric”

      In ideology yes. But not in politics. Every country has a capital. Is America too Washington-centric ? Why aren’t people calling for the regionalisation of other countries ?

      On America – George Clooney now feels he has a say in our affairs because he has a British wife.

      Why do we allow unelected celebrities such influence ? If only the Americans had allowed the aboriginal people of their country the same freedoms as we had allowed ours. Where is the Red Indian independence debate ? The Navaho seperatists ?

      They were wiped out so conclusively that there are none.

  9. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    What is your solution to the number of Scottish MPs giving Labour a majority in the UK but not in England in your EVEL proposal Mr Redwood? If this is not covered in the speech you post later I would be interested in your ideas.

    Reply I have set it out before. The English majority decides English issues and staffs English Ministries.

  10. Old Albion
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I said it before the Scottish referendum and i’ll say it again. Salmond and the SNP never wanted ‘Independance’ Their desire to keep the Queen and the Pound showed that.
    They will get what they wanted all along. Full fiscal control within Scotland, with the safety net of the English taxpayer to bail them out if/when it becomes necessary.
    We all know Labour doesn’t want England to have any power because it will weaken Labour.
    If Cameron has any sense at all (big if) The Conservatives need to include ‘fairness for England’ in their manifesto. It will blow labour out of the water and stop the march of UKIP.
    Whatever happens, sooner or later England will be recognised politically. It’s taken twenty years for politicians of all parties to face the truth. But the Union will fracture without a fair resolution for England.
    This issue is bigger than pathetic political party posturing. It’s time the so called ‘leaders’ of this country faced up to that.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      I would have said before the referendum that all Salmond wanted was DevoMax, but his resignation indicates that that was not the case.

      There are too many assumptions about what the Scots want.

      It is assumed that even though they voted against independence that they want more devolution – do they?

      It is assumed that the last minute sweetener from the three stooges swung the vote – did it?

      It is assumed that the north of England and the big cities want more devolved powers from the London – do they? (last time the North East was asked they said no).

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted October 16, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        @KD

        I would be tempted to agree with you had anyone stood against Ms Sturgeon.

        I now believe that Mr Salmond wanted the independence with safety net that he got and was prepared to sacfifice himself and become a backseat driver.

        Why else would he not clarify the currency issue more fully if actually wanted independence? He achieved his aim, a Scotland able to leech of UK while pursuing SNP doctrine without overt interference.

  11. Oli
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks for making the case.

    I simply cannot see any justifiable argument against; the stalling tactics and skirting around the issue from labour and now, it seems, the Libdems I find frankly offensive. The right thing to do is absolutely clear. This stands to be a very decisive issue in the GE if things don’t play out before then to give England an equal and fair devolved settlement. The truth is that thanks the the SNP, this is NOT just about Scotland – they have raised the stakes so high with the Union that it cannot be about only Scotland.

  12. alan jutson
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    What you describe is the result of what happens when politicians make promises on the hoof, in order to get a short term gain.

    The so called pledge was a last minute panic promise, made simply to secure a no vote during the closing stages of the Scotland referendum issue when it looked like the yes campaign was going to win.

    Having rejected a third option of Devomax as a referendum question at the outset, all three majorParty’s then proceeded to offer exactly that for a no vote in the end.

    Thus we have had the Scottish people voting for Devomax by default, this result produced an effective win for Alex Salmond even though his first prize was lost, and he has subsequently stood down.

    Now the genie is out of the bottle, I am afraid there bis really only one way to go, and that is each Country within the union must get exactly the same powers under Devomax.
    This is the most simple and fair way to proceed.

    All that needs to be discussed is for all four nations to decide what should be under joint UK control of all Mp’s, and the rest is for individual national MP’s to decide in their own Parliaments.

    As soon as devolution was started, the UK as we knew it of old was doomed, so MP’s need to face up to that reality.

    So far Devolution has been an absolute cock up from start to finish.

    • ChrisS
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Devolution has not been a cock up.

      It’s been a stitch up of England from start to finish.

      What else could we have expected when it’s all been done by Labour ?

    • stred
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Yes . It’s Mr Cameron’s Formerly United Kingdom ( United Provisionally). No plans thought through, whichever way the Scottish referendum went.

  13. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    “The more realistic ones accepted that the North East referendum on regional government had been decisive, and agreed elected regional government is dead.”

    I only watched about ten minutes of the debate, but during that short period two Labour MPs urged elected regional government, one saying that the North East referendum was ten years ago now and implying that it was more or less irrelevant.

    Do you not agree that the only reliable way to put a permanent stop to these efforts to break up England would be to put in place a separate and separately elected devolved Parliament for the whole of England?

    • Timaction
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the legacy parties just told the ……………TRUTH now and then. We have all been conditioned to know that each of the party leaders will come up with proposals to suit themselves and their parties NOT the public who they should serve.
      The actual consequences of ceding so much power to a foreign power now known as the EU is that there is very little to debate or pretend to debate in the Westminster village, but nod through their EU leaders 70% plus of its laws and directives.
      Then we have the EU’s plans to balkanise England so that the English are conditioned to accept we are part of a United States of Europe, called Europa. Mass uncontrolled migration from the continent is for the same purpose as paying minimum wages and giving away £5 billion in tax credits and billions more in health, education and housing doesn’t add up. Taxed to pay for foreigners, foreign aid or given away to the EU will never be supported whilst we retain the belief in Nation States.
      Then we have argument where Labour/Liberals will never have a majority if they give up their current practice of voting on “English only” issues. Gordon Brown and the rest understand this as do the Tory’s who support English only votes.
      I’m afraid that none of your parties are fit for office and we want our Country and democracy back and then we’ll talk about real devolution.

    • Sandra Cox
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      I agree on your permanent solution of a parliament for the whole of England.

      My immediate concern is “The more realistic ones accepted that the North East referendum on regional government had been decisive, and agreed elected regional government is dead.”

      Are there enough “more realistic ones” who accept this – including Conservative MPs?

      Labour MPs and others, Clegg, Heseltine et al, now desperately want to override a ten-year old decision, but many still fail to question the EU referendum of 40 years ago.

      As yesterday’s debate shows, the question of breaking England into regions cannot be left to the EU’s useful idiots in Parliament.

      Ongoing thanks to Mr Redwood and the “more realistic ones” – at least we have some MPs who are genuinely concerned by the lack of democracy for the English.

  14. Roger
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    John the vast majority of people support and thank you for your stance on this matter.
    Please don’t let up on this pursuit of fairness. We wish you well.

  15. agricola
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Labour and the Lib/Dems would deny England democracy for one reason only, they fear that they would loose any chance of control of the H o C. Their chance of control being dependant on Scottish and Welsh socialists. We are not talking of any idealistic motive on their part, it is all about the future of socialism in England. If they cannot sell socialism to the English they have no moral right to try to impose it on them by some Soviet style political device. The Lib/Dems, who fail to see the irony in their title, already have form in their refusal to allow constituency boundary changes.

    I would suggest John that you have been gifted a sitting duck with which to slaughter Labour in the run up to May 2015. For sure if you fail to go for the jugular, UKIP will. You would be better to form a surgical team.

    Frankly the behaviour of Milliband, Clegg, and their respective tribes disgust me. The sight of Brown frothing on the opposition benches after such a marked absence tended to neutralise the efforts he had made for the no vote in Scotland. However just as a yes vote in Scotland would have denied Labour of any future in England his stance was not without logic.

    Is there no mechanism by which English votes on English matters can be brought about without recourse to this socialist affront to democracy.

  16. Mike Wilson
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Please, no comments or slogans about ‘fairness’ for England. In a politician’s mouth the word ‘fairness’ has no meaning.

    ‘The same deal for England that Scotland has’.

    Simple as that.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      This word “fairness” is so vast a concept that it is meaningless. We should ban it.

  17. Dinero
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    The West Lothian Question is not about fairness, it is about accountabilaty.
    As the situation is, when a Scotish MP votes on an English only issue, the Scottish constituency that elects or un-elects that MP, is not concerned with the outcome of that vote, and so the Scottish MP in that position is not accountable to an constituency electoral process.

  18. Bill
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you for making the case. Be strong and courageous.

  19. Atlas
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Gordon Brown’s puff and bluster – it was interesting to see him actually in Parliament for a change – missed the point that English MPs are already second class citizens in Parliament. Listening to him you would think that it was the Tories who introduced devolution in the first place and not Labour !

  20. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Perhaps labour see a British Parliament as having more demographic control than solely England. An unspoken control may be perceived as fairer and an English parliament as a kind of devolution.

    An English parliament / Scottish parliament devolution must consider the position of both. The analogy of divorce again rears it ugly head and the ramifications of what one side gets away with in contrast to the other stretch far beyond the immediate.

  21. Bert Young
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Of course the SNPs will support ” England for the English ” its the back door way for them to obtain independence . Restoring the unity of the Union will not be achieved until the Regional Governments are got rid of and the same glove fits all in taxation , welfare and benefits is applied . Until equality is established , the case for protecting England is only reasonable . Westminster is the wrong place to hammer this thing out in the present climate – it should be in the hands of the impartial wise with a time scale for their recommendations to be put to the House in a year’s time .

  22. ChrisS
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Last evening I read the Hansard report on the debate in full.

    David Cameron made a strategic mistake by failing to be in the house. There could be no better way of demonstrating that Labour and the Libdems are going to do everything it can to avoid the issue of EVEL than to see the PM firmly on the front bench and Clegg and Miliband nowhere in the chamber..

    What was also disappointing was the absence of a substantial contribution from any of the Labour members who have come out in favour of EVEL.

    Even though, early in the debate, Gordon Brown gave way “to the man who is the author of English votes for English laws” ( his own words ), our host was not called until the deputy speaker had imposed a very short time limit on speeches. This was very disappointing. I always thought that on principle the chair calls those with a particular interest early in a debate so that they can make an important contribution to it.

    It is looking increasingly likely that the Conservative party is going to have to force a vote on EVEL without the support of the LibDems. Ironically this might well be passed, with support from the SNP, if they chose to vote on it !

    Miliband seems to be digging an ever deeper hole for himself going by his attitude to EVEL and the restating of his positive case for immigration.

    Labour MPs must be tearing their hair out as he shows every sign of following Michael Foot down the road to electoral defeat. All he needs to complete the transformation is a donkey jacket and his manifesto, which could well exceed the previous record for the longest suicide note in history.

    Reply I was speaking at a lunch to the business community on UK withdrawal from the EU and its consequences. As the guest speaker planned in advance of this debate I had to keep my engagement, so I was not present for Mr Hague’s opening speech. For that reason the chair rightly put me well down the order, as you should be in at the beginning of a debate.

  23. Peter Stroud
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    John Redwood, it was good to see you take part in the debate, well done. Please continue to push for Bill Cash’s idea to be accepted. Thank you.

    Reply Amending Standing Orders was originally my idea! Bill amended my draft.

  24. formula57
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    That which is considered good and sufficient enough for Scotland ought to be good and sufficient for England and those who disagree need to explain their reasoning.

    Is it not long overdue for Mr. Cameron to make a repeat Vow in favour of England? (Clearly it would need to include a rebasing of the Barnett allocation, the formula itself being fair otherwise as you explained previously.)

    Meanwhile, thank you for your efforts in speaking for England: one of the few whereas there should be many.

  25. Richard
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I thank you for your continued efforts to put England’s case forward.

    Every English voter who is not in favour of England being fleeced by Scotland should be carefully checking the views of their Parliamentary candidates before voting in the next GE.

    England should have the same devolution settlement as Scotland. If England wants to split itself up into smaller regions then this should be decided by England’s Parliament and not by any UK Parliament.

    How will it be possible to successfully allow different parts of the UK to decide upon their own individual rates of tax and spending whilst still retaining a common currency ?

    We seem to be moving towards the same financial mess as the Eurozone is experiencing but from the opposite direction.

  26. bluedog
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Dr JR says, ‘…want to take many months of consultation and discussion before coming up with any proposals of their own.’

    The smell of fudge cooking is overpowering. Disgraceful that Labour and the Lib-Dems are putting self-interest ahead of the future of the United Kingdom.

  27. ian wragg
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    This topic is pretty much the same as the EU referendum question. CMD could use it ton wipe the floor at the next election but that’s precisely what he doesn’t want. He would be bound to give a referendum if he had a majority so he would rather lose than be put in that position.
    Every one of his actions this past year have been to alienate more and more voters ensuring he loses.

  28. Colin Hart
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Given that most decisions nowadays are taken by ministers without debate or votes in any parliament, the real issue is whether MPs representing Scottish seats should be able to hold office in ministries whose writ does not run in Scotland. Not a problem at the moment of course but it would very likely become one (and was) with a Labour government in power.

  29. David Price
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Well done getting the matter to the stage it is at but if the concern is for fairness I would urge not stopping at EVEL or even viewing it as a solution. It can only be a waypoint on a rapid journey to a full English Parliament and administration.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I’ve done a quick search of the Hansard record to check how many other MPs tried to resurrect the idea of elected regional governments, and allowing for some ambiguities there seem to have been about five Labour MPs in total still pursuing that.

    There were many others, including Hague, using (slightly incorrect) EU-speak by referring to “cities and regions”; the EU’s Committee of the Regions, set up Major’s Maastricht Treaty, actually describes itself as “the voice of regions and cities in the European Union”, and coincidentally the “12th European Week of Regions and Cities” has just taken place:

    http://cor.europa.eu/en/events/opendays/Pages/od-2014.asp

    Particularly interesting were some of the things that the Labour MP John Denham had to say, starting at Column 250 here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm141014/debtext/141014-0003.htm

    “I start from the simple point that England must get what England wants.”

    Which could of course be best established by directly asking people in England what they wanted, in an official referendum ordered by the UK Parliament.

    “Let us be clear that the decision must be taken in England’s interests, like the decisions for Scotland, Wales and so on. Yes, the Union is important, but England cannot be the only nation of the Union that has to forgo its rights for the sake of the Union. With due respect to some of my colleagues, we cannot be told that Scotland can have something that suits Scotland but, on principle, the same thing must be denied to England because of the Union.”

    Note his use of the word “nation” in the second sentence there; and note that he is not excluding the alternative of granting the English the same arrangement as the Scots have enjoyed for fifteen years now, which would be a separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and government for the whole of the national territory, England.

    “What England needs is not the divisive choice of one particular solution to the problem, driven through by a Cabinet committee to the exclusion of all the alternatives that the people of England would like to discuss, including an English Parliament, much greater devolution to England and the revision of the second Chamber.”

    “The right hon. Gentleman [JR] proposed an English Parliament, but he will have noticed that the Prime Minister has excluded that option from the debate.”

    “Back in 2007, I argued in this Chamber that a reformed House of Lords, democratically elected from the nations and regions, is the obvious solution: it would allow scrutiny of English legislation in the English part of a second Chamber.”

    Well, I don’t agree with that idea; of course it would partly depend on precisely how the representatives of the “nations and regions” in the second Chamber were to be elected, but with conventional electoral systems the risk would be that its political composition was often very similar to that of the Commons, and why should it be so much better to have the task of scrutinising English legislation performed in a second Chamber of the UK Parliament rather than in the first?

    “The fundamental problem is that the Commons cannot play both roles: it cannot be both an English legislature and a Commons for the United Kingdom. At the moment, its priority is to be a Commons for the United Kingdom, to the disadvantage of democracy in England. Tilted the other way, it becomes a legislature for England, to the disadvantage of the Commons of the United Kingdom.”

    Which is why the English-only functions should be hived off to a different body; but to a separate Parliament for England, not to the second chamber of the UK Parliament

    “We need a different solution, but it is not for me or, with respect, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House to say what that solution should be. It is for the English people, after a proper constitutional convention – a proper debate – to settle on what they think is the best way for our nation to be governed.”

    Well, we’ve now had nearly two decades for that debate to take place, the contributions from Labour and the LibDems have been and still are mainly to look for various ways to deny England any recognition as a political unit and preferably break it up, while those leading the Tory party still refuse to acknowledge the obvious solution of just giving the English the same as the Scots have had for fifteen years.

  31. Robert Taggart
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Keep up the good work Johnny – even ‘Billy Boy’ appears to be onside !
    Liebore and LieDim politicos are disgustingly disingenuous in their arguments against EV4EL – they must know that we all know why it is they will not support such – yet they continue to peddle their lies for nothing more than their own party advantage.
    EV4EL should not be the only constitutional issue at the forthcoming general election – equalisation of constituencies by electoral roll (remember that ?) – in order to abolish the ‘Rotten Boroughs’ of our time !

  32. DaveM
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    What happened yesterday surely reinforces the point that, what is required prior to the next election is a firm mandate from all centre right parties promising a referendum on Europe and a solid, well thought out plan for equal devolution. And these parties need to stop squabbling and unite, to an extent – at least until the election – to prevent a split vote and the resulting Lab/Lib horror.

    I personally don’t really care what Scotland does or doesn’t get as long as the rest of the UK gets the same.

    Surely the recent by-elections and the current domestic news headlines regarding Labour councils and their associate PC police forces allowing widespread
    child abuse, and the rise of home-grown terrorists is sufficient fuel for the right wing fire? Momentum is everything – ask Nigel!

    Even solid and habitual Labour voters are now voting Ukip in their local areas out of despair, and I can assure you that English discontent is rising daily, even in the West Country! As I’ve said on here before – the iron is hot and there’s not a lot of time left for Cameron to break his silence on these matters.

  33. Sam
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Just let the blighters vote against it. I have a feeling that the left’s plan to Balkanise England will go down even worse with most people than the status quo. How dare the likes of Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband tell the English that they cannot be trusted with a their own country, without it being “decommissioned” in some way?

    In this context, a more persuasive rallying cry than EVEL may be “Hands off England”, or “England is England”.

    Or the acronym-

    E-nglish
    L-aws
    E-nglish
    V-otes
    A-ll
    T-hrough
    E-ngland

    • Mark W
      Posted October 16, 2014 at 5:19 am | Permalink

      Labour appear to have moved off the unpopular regionalisation and now muse about devo to large cities.

      So of you live in a large town, small city or rural area it is quite obvious that Clegg and Miliband think we are second class. Idiotic really as it is the large towns and small cities that are virtually all swing seats.

      In my part of the world, Cambridge, Kettering, Northampton and Peterborough all change hands between parties. I just hope that the electorates in these places and similar accross the country see that only the Tories see them as equals. Labour and libdems clearly see them as second class to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

      • Sam
        Posted October 16, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        It is merely that Labour knows Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle are its feudal fiefs, and that an electoral arrangement that entrenches their political differences from the rest of England will be to Labour’s benefit.

        I don’t think people will buy it. I live in central Manchester, and can vouch for their being a strong sense of local identity here. But that identity is drawn from sporting, musical and other traditions, as opposed to political traditions. The prevailing political character is overwhelmingly English, perhaps in contrast to the more pronounced Irish influence in Liverpool. Mancunians will not react well to being carved out of England in order to enfeoff the Labour party with a city state.

        Ukip is chewing Labour’s ankles here, anyway…

  34. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Fisheries UK (BBC Today…I think?) – Off Topic but England v Scotland is seriously dismal.

    Suddenly we cannot sell 70k tonnes of mackerel to Russia. Apart from an EU ban I think Russia may have rejected such supplies anyway. Mackerel very pleased….H/T lots of mackerel?

    So the EU is to credit UK Fisheries with an extra 25% quota for 2015 after the fisher folk have notified UK Gov who then get the EU to note the loss. Anything about loss of earnings right now….Nope

    Are we completely mad? No wonder Farage did not attend the EU Fishy Committees much.

  35. oldtimer
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    The Labour and LibDem positions on this issue are utterly contemptible. The electorate is smart enough to spot this. The next GE and Scottish Parliament election will be sure to spring surprises all round. I suspect they will be disagreeable for the established parties, including the SNP as it emerges in its true colours now it has more control over taxation. EVEL is an open goal for the Conservative party; the only question is whether it will miss it.

    • Real Reform Now
      Posted October 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      The EVEL debate is simply exposing the biases in the current electoral system and how it favours (or doesn’t) the current parties. FPTP results in both Labour and Conservative to get more MPs than their overall level of voter support in the electorate merits, however it occurs in different ways. Labour are over-represented in England, Scotland and Wales fairly evenly across the board, whereas the Conservatives are more over-represented in England which makes up for their under-representation in Scotland and Wales. Both parties in this debate are arguing for nothing more than party self-interest

      In the current multi-party democracy we have in this country (Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, UKIP, Green, plus SNP in Scotland and PC in Wales) FPTP has been proven to be a system totally unfit for purpose and any reform must include real reform of the electoral system, however neither Labour nor the Conservatives will support this as neither will vote against their own self-interest.

      • Ted Monbiot
        Posted October 16, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Like regular demands for regionalisation, there has been a referendum on changing the electoral system from the existing one and the vote was lost.
        I dont see the systems in nations with proportional representation being any more fair.
        Coalitions like the one we now have are the common outcome.
        Coalititions then implementing policies cooked up post election following no ones pre election manifesto.
        And giving parties, sometimes with extreme views, with a tiny percentage of votes, an underserved level of power and influence.

        If voters really wanted change then there are many alternatives to the current big two parties for us to vote for.
        No one forces us to vote in the main for Labour or the Conservatives.
        One has to conclude we, the whole electorate, vote the way we want to and get the Government we voted for.

  36. Bryan
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I notice that Andrew Lansley, in reply to an intervention from you, confirmed that he was happy for a devolved Scottish Parliament to set lower tax rates than England and that Scottish MP’s should vote on the setting of those higher English Rates. It seemed to have something to do with the UK budget. Does he know what is happening in the real world?

    If this is an example of the wooly thinking of some of your colleagues then EVEL will not be easy.

  37. ian
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    USA consumers, nowhere to be seen, gone into hidernation, must be a early winter.

  38. JoeSoap
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    On this you are correct and straightforward, not having (yet) to defend your leadership against any betrayal of promises. Let’s hope it all stays that way!

  39. James Matthews
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Thank you John. It was good to see some genuine passion from English MPs about this issue, though sad that it did not appear to extend beyond the Conservative ranks. Please keep it up.

    Pity no clips of Brown bellowing his opposition to justice for England seemed to make it to the mainstream news (unless I have missed something). Repeating that as often as possible might help to wake the English up.

  40. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Gordon Brown is accusing David Cameron of deceit as he did not reveal his intention to diminish Scottish MP’s importance in parliament.If he did not see that coming well???????

  41. ian
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    To all people outside of markets , we are now in lock down, try again later.

  42. Peter
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Great work John. Liked the white shirt red tie combo.

    Labour are in a terrible pinch, please do not let the presure dissipate. Although it should be noted that you got a fair hearing on DP due to Andrew Neil. No other BBC presenter would’ve allowed that kind of fair and balanced discussion.

    Champions of EVEL are not just fighting Labour but the Main stream media too

  43. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Once the UK Parliament passed an Act saying in its first line:

    “There shall be a Scottish Parliament.”

    and going on to divide powers between the existing UK Parliament, “reserved”, and the new Scottish Parliament, “devolved”, then it was setting the UK on the path to become a federal rather than a unitary state.

    I have no fundamental objection to that, insofar as there are very successful federal states around the world and it is far better than splitting the UK into several independent sovereign states.

    However you cannot have a federation where three of the four components have their own separately elected Parliaments and governments while the fourth is treated as if it was just a very large federal territory under the direct rule of the federal Parliament and government.

    Nor do the people in that fourth component wish the process of federalisation of the UK to be completed by splitting it up into smaller units just because the other three components are comparatively small.

    As there is clearly no political possibility of going back on the devolution which has already been granted to three of the four components of the UK the solution is obvious, and it is to complete the process by giving the fourth component of the federation its own separate devolved Parliament and government like the others.

  44. Martyn G
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    If – and it is a very large if – Mr C was really seriously committed to England for the English, he could prove his commitment by getting Parliament to approve him to demand of the EU that the country’s name ‘England’ be immediately reinstated on the EU map.
    That would be an easy and inexpensive step for him to take – assuming of course that is that he could get a majority in the HoC to agree to it. It would mean a whole lot to me and, I suspect, many other English peoples.

  45. fedupsouthener
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Well done John. Keep this up because England is fed up with being the underdog. Once Salmond is gone then we will have Sturgeon in his place and she is just as bad.

    Please let us know how the talk at the GWPF went tonight. That is a very interesting debate and one I hope you and others will win. The recent report from the Scientific Alliance makes for sombre reading and any political party ignoring the findings should not be in government – Lib dems take note.

  46. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    An interesting blog comment by Iain Martin in the Telegraph under the heading “The English do not want England divided up to suit politicians.” :
    “While Gordon Brown was burbling on in the Commons yesterday about the constitution, and in his usual fashion taking no responsibility whatsoever for the mess he helped cause, a fascinating report was being discussed elsewhere.

    The Future of England Survey was produced by constitutional specialists and is based on in-depth polling on attitudes. It is worth reading it in its entirety, particularly now that all manner of schemes are being suggested by politicians for the creation of regional government in England in the wake of the Scottish referendum. Whatever the merits of such proposals, and the need for some larger cities to be given the powers that booming London enjoys, the report makes clear that there is almost no enthusiasm on the part of English voters for the country being divided up into regional assemblies.”

  47. Francis Lankester
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    “Wales and Northern Ireland were unclear about how they would like to proceed”-what on earth does this odd phrase mean?

    Reply There is no agreed position on whether NI and Wales would like more devolution in line with Scotland or not. Their Assemblies and MPs need to come to a view and argue for it.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted October 16, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Long term – a balanced ‘constitution’ (whether written or not) for Blighty makes sense.
      Ergo – a federal United Kingdom / common economic area / single currency for – England (all of it), Scotland, Ulster, Wales and even Kernow (a Celtic fringe ‘country’), plus Man, Guernsey, Jersey and Gibraltar ?

    • Francis Lankester
      Posted October 16, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      So what is meant is Welsh and Northern Ireland BRITISH MP’s. The problem here is that everything EVEL and its proponents stand for will inevitably split us up-just as Salmond and the Eurocrats want.

  48. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 16, 2014 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    In the short term you should content yourself with English, Welsh and Northern Irish votes for non-Scottish issues. You will get greater support in the Commons.

    This has the additional advantage that we can say loud and clear that Wales and Northern Ireland don’t want any more devolution and are lukewarm about the devolution they already have. They won’t follow Scotland.

    Meanwhile, we can give Scotland so much responsibility that they choke on it. End the Barnett formula premium and pay directly to Scotland its due share of oil profits taxes and royalties. This won’t be 100% – it will depend on the wishes of the Shetland Islanders and the sunk investments of the English State. Since the oil price is dropping like a stone and Scotland’s oil is expensive to extract, this will be a rapidly declining amount. With America pushing fracking hard and slow downs in China and India, there could be an oil glut for 10+ years.

    And since Scotland is not to be trusted fiscally, they can spend what they receive from Westminster plus the oil revenues defined above plus whatever taxes they raise – and not a penny more. The BoE will have absolute control of the money supply and the issuance of notes and coins.

    Reply It’s more complex than that as Wales and NI already have some devolved powers. Our amendment to SOs limits votes in all cases where the power is devolved to another elected Parliament or Assembly to cover the permutations.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Who is this “we” who can say that Wales and Northern Ireland don’t want any more devolution, especially given that in 2011 the Welsh voted for more?

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted October 16, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      How are you going to ensure that DevoMore gained by Scotland is not automatically foisted on Wales and Northern Ireland who do not want it?

  49. Steve Cox
    Posted October 16, 2014 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    Wales and Scotland have both been given a referendum on devolution, and now Scotland has had a referendum on independence. Surely it’s only fair that the English people should be given a referendum on how they wish to be governed? Is the Prime Minister able to hold such a referendum or does it require an Act of Parliament? If he can then he should do so forthwith, well before the next general election, asking which of the several options available people would prefer. He could then go into the May 2015 election promising to honour English voters’ wishes. If the result of the referendum was in favour of EVEL, then Labour and the Lib Dems would most likely refuse to honour the result, and that would cost them a lot of votes next May.

    OTOH, if a referendum requires an Act of Parliament then no doubt Labour and the Lib Dems would scupper any chance of that, but again it would provide hugely valuable ammunition for the Conservative election next year. Follow this quick referendum route and it’s a case of heads, Cameron wins, or tails, Miliband and Clegg lose.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 16, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Act of Parliament, in fact probably two with the second to approve the funding.

  50. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 16, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Re “they wish to pursue selective devolution to selective cities or larger councils”.

    Obviously, this begs the question as to what do “they” propose for the rest of us.

    UK Government has got itself a very bad reputation for only bothering themselves with big organisations: Broad Band Delivery UK, for instance. Scottish discontent is but the most prominent expression of a feeling nation wide that the Westminster elite struggles, if they even try, to see beyond the M25.

  51. a-tracy
    Posted October 16, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Gosh this should be all over the news!! It’s a massive deal. Labour and Lib Dems voting down EVEL whilst supporting SVSL domestic matters and taxation. Why aren’t our news programs reporting on this important issue for England have your party asked them to, sent them press releases, is this why we heard all about the Lords gaff yesterday to keep this off the news?

    Reply Yes of course I and my party have briefed the media on this matter and have offered interviews

  • 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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