Has Mr Clegg said No to English votes for English issues?

It appears that Mr Clegg and the Lib Dems are as determined as Labour to deny England any justice on our lop sided devolution settlement. Rumour has it that they turned down Mr Hague’s request to join Conservatives in voting through English votes for English issues. If they would add their votes to ours we could pass a simple government motion to amend Standing Orders and from that date we would have English votes for English issues.

I am still awaiting a reply to my letter to Mr Clegg, which I reproduce below

 

The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP

Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat Headquarters

8-10 Great George Street

London SW1P 3AE

 

13 October 2014

 

Dear Mr Clegg

You have doubtless seen recent polls which show more than 70% of the public think that we need to offer justice to England as we complete further transfers of power to Scotland. As Scotland moves to having control over her own Income Tax rates, so we will need a way of setting Income Tax for England without the advice and votes of Scottish MPs.

The important first step to achieve more balanced devolution is the policy of English votes for English issues. We could do this by passing a simple motion amending the Standing Orders of the House. I would like to know if you and your party is in agreement, as it would be easiest to table it as a government motion and it would then have a comfortable majority. It would also mean you could share in the credit for doing something that is both just and popular. Our Amendment will give similar voting facilities to Wales and Northern Ireland depending on the degree of devolution to them.

If you do not agree with this proposal, then I and a number of my Conservative colleagues will aim to table it anyway, as we believe there will be a narrow majority for it in the Commons even without Liberal Democrat official support.

Yours ever

 

The Rt Hon John Redwood MP

Member of Parliament for Wokingham

Meanwhile the latest poll from Scotland points to a massive surge in SNP votes. If this is sustained at the General Election Westminster cannot ignore the force of the wish for more Home Rule.The UK government and Parliament will have to sit down and discuss  a new settlement for Scotland. That must also mean a new settlement for England too. If the SNP win most of the Scottish seats in 2015 it will mean the need to discuss a proper federal solution for the UK.

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76 Comments

  1. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Basically this demonstrates ,how people of a similar ilk will stick together when they feel challenged or vulnerable.Apply this to all sections of English and Scottish society and the potential for ethnic categorisation and fragmentation can be imagined. I was glad to see people of an Asian origin agreeing that we are taking too many immigrants in on the TV yesterday ;this is a positive step towards English identity.

  2. Peter A
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    The Lib Dems won’t care about just cause. As shown by their stance on Constuency Boundaries, democracy is something of a misnoma to the Liberal Democrats.

    Popularity might shift them and with only 1 seat in Scotland if the SNP get their projected windfall, Clegg wouldn’t lose much in supporting EVEL. However, it will only be popular if this becomes a national issue. Despite your best intentions John and the will of the English people, the BBC will suppress and mock this and Labour will fight it tooth and nail. EVEL plus SNP gains in Scotland would be cataclysmic for the Labour vote.

    Hague’s popularity among grassroots Tories is at an all time low; it strikes me that, as a key electoral weapon, this issue should be forced front and centre of every interview.

    If last night’s drivel of a QT; the panel, the chairing and the audience is anything to go by then EVEL will soon come to be seen/represented as fascist, rascist and unrepresentative. Still institutionally biased? You bet!

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      I don’t understand how Nick Clegg has so much power. His party is being knocked into fourth place.

      Is he one of these ‘part of the furniture’ people at the Westminster debating/dining club ? And so the public are stuck with him whether they want him or not ?

  3. matthu
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Clegg won’t support you on English votes.

    Just as he didn’t support you on the matter of an EU referendum.

    Or the right of recall.

    Or boundary changes.

    Or House of Lords reform.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Yet Cameron keeps delivering for him.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Or anything at all remotely sensible they are after all the satirically named Liberal Democrats.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Matthu–Could be worse in that every time Clegg gives the country the benefit of his opinion his polling goes down another point or two–and he doesn’t have many left

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Clegg never supports anything sensible and for the good of the country unless he has something to gain out of it. QT was dire last night and the calibre of the panel taking part was dismal. I noted that the question about energy was kept until last when there was hardly any time to say anything. Typical BBC. Only discuss what they really want to and then with bias.

      • Excalibur
        Posted November 1, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        Agreed, but not only the BBC. Sky gives Nicholas Clegg more mileage than any other television channel.

  4. Mark B
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Firstly, thank you Mr. Redwood MP sir. Even though I do not like the proposed EVEL, thinking it falls far too short and, is prone to tampering post 2015 GE, I am none the less grateful for your, and others efforts.

    What you have highlighted here, is what happens when you take those that give you consent to govern in their name, and treat them no more than voting fodder, rather than real people with real concerns for themselves, their family, and their society. NB That I use ‘society’ and not the awful, ‘community’ so belovd these days.

    I still think, no matter what happens post 2015 GE, that the UK is finished. And we have only the LibLabCON-trick, and ourselves, to blame.

  5. Richard1
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I hope the Conservatives will stick with this issue, its a clear vote winner. There are no good arguments on the Labour-LibDem side, they stand against Justice for England and must face the electoral consequences if they continue to do so.

  6. JoeSoap
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    You’re right but the libdems are an irrelevance in the polls you mention and your boss seems to have had a bout of amnesia on this. Again Cameron could wind up the coalition and go to the country, but no. Why?

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      The LibDems are an irrelevance but with a lot of clout where it hurts. Just read that the investment so far in ‘the green dream’ has cost us £81 billion!! This figure is rising all the time and what have we got? Intermittent and unreliable power from wind farms everywhere. Has anyone asked the question why our birds are in decline? Swans are the latest victims and I bet many of them get obliterated by turbines on their way here. It’s about time Clegg started to think about the UK and about time Cameron got rid of the coalition so that this country can move on. No surprise at all that they are not supporting English votes. All they do is block sensible suggestions at every turn. The public are despairing of ever getting anything done. UKIP looks more tempting everyday.

  7. APL
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    JR: “English votes for English issues. We could do this by passing a simple motion amending the Standing Orders of the House”

    If it is such a simple measure, one wonders why it hasn’t been tabled twenty years ago when the last devolution settlement was implemented?

  8. David Price
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Was Mr Hague’s request to join Conservatives in in the discussions and voting through EVEL extended to Mr Carswell, and did he accept?

  9. agricola
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    As Clegg is neither liberal nor democratic, do not hold your breath. The most he can look forward to after May 2015 is being an almost lone voice moralising on where it all went. If best comes to best they might find room for him in Brussels but not via an election in the UK.

    • Peter Stroud
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Come June 2015, we might well see Mr Clegg, no longer LibDem leader, but seeking a nice little earner in the EU.

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Obviously every seat that the SNP take from Labour makes it more difficult for Labour to win enough seats to be the largest party, let alone win an overall majority.

    However it should be equally obvious that while it does improve the Tories’ chances of being the largest party it does nothing at all to help them win an overall majority.

    What it also does is greatly increase the chance that the next UK government will depend on the votes of SNP MPs for its majority, whether through a formal coalition or through an informal arrangement, and depending on the price it extracted for its support there could be dire consequences both for the cause of keeping the UK intact and for the cause of getting us out of the EU.

    Some deceive themselves that the SNP’s participation in a UK coalition government would be prevented by its policy of not voting on “English-only” laws, but of course it could simply drop that policy if necessary.

    It’s the end of the month and so in a few days the Electoral Calculus website should be updating its average opinion poll results and projections for seats won, and it will be a little bit clearer how things have changed.

    Maybe it’s worth mentioning that the seat projections from the recent poll in Scotland have actually been made using the model on their “Scottish pages”:

    http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/scotland.html

    • Iain Moore
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Then we have the BBC presenters putting forward the case of the likely need for more coalitions in the next Parliament, that would include the SNP, but not one of them wondering about the legitimacy of a British government relying on SNP votes to rule England.

      It shows the failure of the Conservatives to ram home their EVEL policy. It seems that it is just too much like hard work for the upper echelons of the Conservative party to take the argument to the country, and make it impossible for the BBC to ignore the anti English discrimination. With the Cameron Conservatives it seems to be a case of, the lefties don’t want to talk about it, so we won’t.

    • JoolsB
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      It is a total myth that the SNP do not vote on English only matters. True they have taken a vow of abstinence, but only when it suits them. They voted on the tripling of tuition fees to £9,000 even though these crippling fees only apply to England’s young. Their reason for doing so – good old Barnett consequencies. As long as the skewed Barnett Formula is in place, which thanks to all three party leaders enshrining it in stone, it will be, 117 Scots, Welsh & NI MPs will continue to use it as an excuse to poke their noses into business which does not affect them or their constituents.

      • William Gruff
        Posted October 31, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        It is unlikely that the brain dead English voter will do anything other than shut his ears to the voices of even the mildest English nationalists making a reasoned case for parity with the little nations of this disgracefully unequal ‘union’ and vote for the same old British dross, while complaining that ‘they’re all the same’ and ‘nothing ever changes’. They get what they deserve and I am happy that they do, what annoys me is that I am forced to have it too.

        That aside, a point that seems invariably to be overlooked or ignored is that those who think of themselves as intelligent progressive or modern thinkers are still advocating proportional representation even though they can see that coalition government is ineffective.

        Go figure, as they say in the ‘land of the free’.

        • gareth robson
          Posted November 5, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

          You argue that coalition government is ineffective.

          The alternative to coalition government is handing 5 years of power to a party winning an undeserving share of the popular vote.

          The share of the popular vote required for a majority of seats used to be around 40% but in May, with the vote now split between 6 parties (Lab, Green, SNP, LD, Con, UKIP) one or other party could get a majority with as little as 30%. That would be monstrous.

          One urgent priority is for us to find a way of building fair coalitions. The one we have at present is not fair. The libdems with puny support get into government, whilst Labour (with nearly as many votes as the tories) are locked out. The libdems have in effect delivered majority government, without effective opposition, to the tories.

          The cabinet must reflect the popular vote. In May, if tories win a third of the votes and Labour likewise, the only fair coalition would be Lab+Con.

          That would of-course inflame the voters passions – but it would prevent Lab or Con from being able to enact 5 more years of vandalism.

  11. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    The coalition tail wagging the dog seems to be the order of things. Perhaps your leader likes it that way? Just get on with tabling the amendment to the Standing Orders and show the English voters who is trying to look after their interests and who is not.

  12. Old Albion
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Waiting for English MP’s to bring equality, fairness and democracy to England is a forlorn hope.
    With a couple of exceptions including yourself. Westminster is full of quislings who prefer their (dis)UK MP status while clinging on to the idiotic view that England is Britain, to giving a fair deal to England.
    Englands best chance lies with Scotland leaving the UK. If the projections for the forthcoming general election are correct and Scotland votes almost entirely SNP.
    There will be another independance vote before the 2020 general election.
    Bring it on.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Yes, and I just hope I am not living in Scotland then.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Good luck with your efforts, all rather typical of the Libdems. But all part of the very high price we pay for Cameron’s throwing of the last election with his Cast Iron ratting, Clegg’s equal TV billing plus all the “modernising” and green crap expensive energy.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      The Lib Dims will break this country with their green crap together with people like Caroline Lucas who is another one that gets too much air time by the BBC!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 1, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        She certainly does, she seems pleasant enough (unlike her party leader) but she is clearly totally deluded and completely illiterate on the science and engineering of energy production.

        • gareth robson
          Posted November 5, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          We don’t produce energy; we merely convert it.

          I expect you mean electricity generation?

  14. alan jutson
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Thank you for keeping up the pressure on this.

    I hope Mr Cameron is behind this in a real and meaningful way, because I am not so sure he is.

    We now have so called renegotiation with the EU, to be followed by a referendum, and now devolution for all nations of the UK on the agenda for the next election.

    Thank goodness I know where you stand John, given you are my representative in Parliament.

  15. DaveM
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Not much to say except for; thanks for speaking for the English majority and please don’t give up. I know you have an ally in my local MP (Oliver Colville), who favours an English Grand Committee. I can’t see what the problem is – a Grand Committee with a First Minister would go a long way to making England look like a democratic section of the UK.

    The only issue is that Mr Clegg has so much influence with only 6% of the vote share that he probably thinks that 70% (as quoted by you above) is a meaningless statistic, and that democracy means going against the wishes of the majority. That would certainly fit in with the ideals of his EU buddies.

    Good luck and please keep us posted.

    • Real Reform Now
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Dave, it is worth remembering that the 70% John Redwood quotes include people who want reform, but not in the manner John Redwood proposes. I know because I am one of them. EVEL needs to go beyond simply using the current electoral system which, on the basis of the last election would allow a Conservative party with minority support (39.6% of English votes) to impose itself on the majority (60.4%) who voted for other parties.

      Why, when Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish voters have all been given proportional a voting system (AMS in Wales and Scotland and STV in Northern Ireland), does John Redwood wish to continue to deny the same for English voters? Is it simplicity as claimed, or is it really for Conservative electoral unfair advantage?

      • DaveM
        Posted November 1, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        I obviously wouldn’t expect you to have read all (or indeed any!) of my posts here, but if you have you’ll know that I would like a completely federal UK (consisting of four equally treated nations) which obviously requires an English Parliament. For many reasons, not least the fact that an English Parliament would allow people to support local MPs for their local matters (regardless of party) and a UK government who they believe represents us best on an international level. Outside of the EU!! The point I was trying to make here is that with the current level of support for some kind of devolution for England, a start is a start; once the foot is on the ladder we can start climbing in earnest, and an English Grand Committee is the most realistic starting point in this non-democratic state which we are currently enduring.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      . . . making England look like a democratic . . .

      I do NOT want an English Grand Committee. I want the same ! Why can I not have the same as the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish ? Why I am seen as less deserving of what they have ?

      Tell me these things, because I REALLY want to know why you think the way that you think, and seem to believe that wanting the same, is somehow wrong or unachievable.

      • DaveM
        Posted November 1, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        Mark,

        Please see my reply to RRN above. I’ll not be happy until there’s a full English Parliament, separate from the UK Govt, like in Scotland etc. However, we have to start somewhere. I’d vote “Yes” in a referendum for an independent England, but without a form of English representation we can’t even petition for that.

        Unfortunately, almost as many of the English people are as institutionalised as the pro-Union parties with regards to the status quo, and they believe the BBC-promoted scare stories and propaganda so it’s unlikely we’d jump to having an EP immediately, particularly with Labour opposition*, but JR’s solution is a start towards change, one that would be supported by some influential Lab MPs, and is also a start to making the plod-along section of the English people realise that the current situation is terribly biased against them.

        *Noticed this morning that the BBC and Labour are now using the following sentence as the accepted and established norm: “Scotland, Wales, NI, and the ENGLISH REGIONS”. Didn’t put me in a good mood for the day!!

  16. bluedog
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Dr JR observes, ‘If the SNP win most of the Scottish seats in 2015 it will mean the need to discuss a proper federal solution for the UK.’

    Yes, indeed and who better to lead the debate than our host, who is more than capable of understanding the implications of a federal constitutional structure as applied to the UK. The same could not be said for Rt Hon Nick Clegg, whose approach to the inevitability of constitutional change seems to represent that of a rabbit caught in the headlights. Not unlike the approach being taken by Mr Clegg’s fellow Leftist Mr Miliband, as it happens.

    Evidence of these individuals’ complete misunderstanding of a federated UK can be seen in their obsession, shared with the BBC of course, of carving England up into little pieces.

    Quite unnecessary.

  17. formula57
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Mr Clegg is perhaps prevented from making a timeous reply by his worry about the 3 million jobs that would be lost if Scottish MPs stopped voting on English matters, which they doubtless do at present less than 7 per cent. of the time. He hasn’t pledged to reply, has he?

    Let us hope that whether or not “the SNP win most of the Scottish seats in 2015” there will be “the need to discuss a proper federal solution for the UK”.

    Thank you for continuing to press this matter of proper and fair representation for England.

  18. Alan Wheatley
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I support your actions re English votes.

    As for increasing support for the SNP, I think that this, at least in part, can be attributed to a continuing feeling that government in Westminster understands little and cares even less about the impact in Scotland of their actions and inactions. Take for instance:-

    HS2 – London is first to benefit, and Glasgow/Edinburgh (where high speed would be a more believable benefit) is but a distant promise that could well never be fulfilled;

    UK Hub Airport – Glasgow should at least be a seriously contender, being on the North Atlantic Great Circle route and avoids all the planning issues associated with Heathrow, but as far as I know was not even considered as a possibility;

    New towns/cities – if we are to have so much more housing forced upon us then invest in Scotland rather than continue filling up the South-East.

    If I, very much an Englishman, can see sound reasons for Scottish discontent, then the Scots likely have much more to be unhappy about.

    It seems to me there is a universal truth about the nation state: if citizens are to feel they are part of the one nation under the rule of the national government, then that government has to make sure that it concerns itself equally with all its citizens and is seen to be doing so.

  19. Mick Anderson
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    It would be interesting if the SNP hold the third greatest number of seats at the next election. Perhaps their condition to support the largest Party would be for devolution, in spite of losing the referendum. They can claim that they have so many seats in Scotland that people have given them a new mandate for this change.

    If Mr Clegg genuinely does not want the UK to be broken up (I doubt he really cares) then it would be far better to agree to your completely reasonable letter. Set the precedent now, before all the haggling starts.

  20. acorn
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Talk about fiddling while Rome burns. It’s the economy you should be worrying about! Give up with the Punch & Judy stuff and read the latest excuses for why the OBR got it wrong again. This is a menu for economic suicide. http://budgetresponsibility.org.uk/forecast-evaluation-report-october-2014/

    Reply Their main mistake was to underestimate the strength of the economy,followed by too much optimism about tax revenue

  21. James Reade
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Interesting to see you’re such a fan of quoting opinion polls as a reason why other politicians should be motivated to take action.

    Perhaps then you might take note of polls on our position with the EU?

    According to http://www1.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2014/10/22/as-ukip-surges-ipsos-mori-finds-that-support-for-wanting-to-stay-in-the-eu-is-at-a-23-year-high/, support for remaining is at a 23-year high, and the lead for “remain” over “leave” is 20 percentage points.

    But of course, these people (like big businesses) shouldn’t be expressing an opinion, should they, if it’s pro-EU?

    Reply A more recent poll shows more wanting out than want to stay in. I am very happy for any business person to join in the debate. My advice was to executives of large multinationals presuming to override or misinterpret the views of their shareholders.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      James – let’s have a referendum next week.

      I’d go for it. Would you ?

      • James Reade
        Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Sure – why not?

        I’m sure you were expecting me to say no, since you like to believe everyone who disagrees with you is somehow scared of really testing what public opinion is.

        I’m not at all scared. I’m pretty sure the general public have a little bit of common sense about them and would not actually vote the way you think they would.

    • James Reade
      Posted November 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Ah, of course – the selective use of polls that support one’s own opinion.

      I’m sure that’ll help when it comes down to an actual vote.

  22. oldtimer
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I see that your letter is dated 13 October 2014. Even by Royal Mail standards of delivery one would have expected at least an acknowledgement of your letter by now, if not an actual response to your question. Clearly Mr Clegg is being rude as well as obviously in opposition to your proposal. It is what I have come to expect of Mr Clegg.

    I am pleased to see that you intend to proceed with the motion in the absence of any reply from Mr Clegg.

    OT: I sense the hand of the EU in the latest campaign to force drinks companies to put calorie counts per glass of wine or beer on their labels. We were treated, this morning, to the shock and horror of people being unable to rank in order the calorie counts of, respectively, a donut, a glass of wine, a pint of beer and a pint of lager – each of which it turns out is around 200 calories plus or minus 10%. This failure was advanced to justify yet more bureaucracy and regulation.

  23. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    For all his high-minded posturing Mr Clegg is only interested in voting reform which will benefit the Lib Dems.

    On a tangent, I was startled by this headlin today:

    “David Cameron: I want interest rates to stay at rock bottom for ever ”

    Does he have any clue how low interest rates impact pensioners living on savings ? Apparently he either does not or he does not care.

  24. Iain Moore
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    So will the Conservatives make the Libdems, let alone Labour, pay an electoral price for their contempt for English peoples equality?

    No, of course not. For even when the Conservatives have a policy of English votes for English laws, they won’t press the case, for Cameron and his buddies are waiting for their lefty metropolitan mates to tell them it is alright to talk about English democratic equality , which of course they will never do.

  25. Bert Young
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I join with the other responders in supporting your efforts to secure the need for a fair deal for England . At the same time I abhor the position the Lib/Dems have taken in scuppering the Referendum Bill . The position the Lib/Dems have taken is another indication of why they are completely out of step with public opinion and have lost support – as a spent force they have no right to use a technicality of the rules of the House to keep the Referendum Bill from being voted on .
    In my last post I stressed the need for a radical change in the line up of the Political Parties ; representation of views can no longer be expressed by “Left and Right and the Middle Ground ” . Time and change has galvanised attitudes aided by the social , economic and educational development that has taken place in the last 80 odd years . I would be interested in your views and in the views of your responders .

  26. ChrisS
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    If the SNP win most of the Scottish seats in May I would think that the Conservatives will do a deal with them to remain in power.

    The SNP would surely support a genuine federal solution to give England full autonomy because the deal will have to involve a move to devolution for Scotland which is Independence in all but name. The only sticking points are likely to be Faslane and the EU referendum.

    Faslane can easily be dealt with at some cost but by way of compensation, moving the jobs to The South West will be good for the English economy.

    I don’t know how to solve the EU problem. We certainly cannot concede Scotland getting a separate vote on the issue as that would lead to full independence if England voted to leave and Scotland, as seems likely, voted to stay.

    However, the SNP may well issue a manifesto with a renewed call for Independence as it’s centrepiece. If Labour is practically wiped out in Scotland and the SNP gets a substantial majority of the votes, ( larger than the no campaign scored in the referendum ), the result of the referendum will almost certainly have to be put to one side.

    They seem to be setting us up for this by falsely claiming Westminster is reneging on the pledge that cost them the referendum. It’s therefore even more important that David Cameron pushes through full tax raising powers against Labour’s wishes so these claims can be seen to be false.

    It’s a mess and one entirely of Labour’s making with it’s original half baked and lopsided devolution settlement.

  27. Atlas
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I’m in full agreement with your stance.

    As every day passes the outcome of the 2015 General Election blurs into a complete haze, so goodness only knows what the future holds.

  28. sjb
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    JR wrote: If the SNP win most of the Scottish seats in 2015 it will mean the need to discuss a proper federal solution for the UK.

    But what if they stand on a independence ticket?

  29. James Matthews
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    The LibDems won’t vote for EVoEL for the same reason that intelligent turkeys wouldn’t vote for an early Christmas. The fact that they won’t should be given maximum exposure though, and this letter is a good start.

    If we do end up going down a fully federal route there need to be some Early English red lines, one of which should be no Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish veto on leaving the EU. Better English independence than handing that sort power to the Nicola Sturgeons of the world.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      I am concerned that Labour might agree to amend the Scotland Act and hand her that power as part of a coalition agreement. But I am also concerned that the Tories might do the same thing.

  30. BobE
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Well the LibDems will be in the wilderness after next May and so will no longer be blocking paths. Cleggy will probably vanish into the EU as another overpaid commissioner. Good riddance.

  31. Mockbeggar
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Everyone seems to think that the SNP will do well (mostly at Labour’s expense) in Scotland at the next election. However, given the split of votes in Scotland at the last general election in which the Conservatives had quite a substantial share, and given the fact that the ‘no’ vote WON the referendum by quite a decent margin, is it not possible that there could be a resurgence of Conservative voting next time? I for one do not believe that it was due to Gordon Brown or Jim Murphy that the ‘No’ vote won; it was much more to do with sensible, thinking Scots who, though they didn’t shout about it, quietly decided to stick to their guns and vote ‘No’. Many of them are, I suspect, natural Conservatives.

  32. Tad Davison
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that English votes for English laws is just, is widely supported in England, and any opposition to it is indefensible. Clegg must surely realise that, so it could be that he’s holding out for a bargain. To hell with what is right, he wants something in return for his support when that support should be automatic and without any strings attached. Come the General Election, people need to be reminded of his party’s stance, as well as that of the Labour party and others.

    Anyone who seriously believes in equality, and that England deserves a proper settlement on a par with others within the United Kingdom, must surely see the strength of the case for EVEL. John Redwood is absolutely right to make the case so forcefully, and everyone who believes in fairness should lend him every assistance. This matter really does sort the wheat from the anti-England chaff.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Martyn G
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      I suspect it is all a waste of time. Unlike our host, so far as I can determine every, and I mean every ranking politician of all parties are frightened to death of there ever again be an entity known as England brought into being as an acknowledged country. England, the most populace entity in Great Britain who, so far as ‘they’ are concerned must at all costs be prevented from having their say. The EU and our ranking politicians of all parties (perhaps not including UKIP) but with, sadly, insignificant numbers of other politicians like our host are absolutely determined that never again will England arise from the ashes. A lifelong conservative with a big and small C I cannot express how much I resent them all.

  33. Derek
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Let’s have a vote in the Commons. Make the Lib Dems vote against EVEL then makesure that all English voters know about it. That should lose the anti English Lib Dems even more English votes in 2015. What are we waiting for?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      The LibDems voting against would make no difference if Labour voted for, and it is Labour, not the LibDems and nor UKIP, which should be the primary target for the Tories if they want to win the next election.

  34. Eddie Hill
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the SNP holding the balance of power in parliament will properly put the cat among the pigeons.

    We’d then have the ludicrous situation of not only Scotland having its own parliament, but also Scottish MPs holding the balance of power in the UK parliament, still voting on English laws yet probably not wanting to be part of Britain at all!

    That will leave us in the enviable position of the government of Britain being shared between the European Parliament and a mish-mash of newly-minted separatist Scottish MPs!

    Well done chaps, you’re all doing a splendid job down there in Westminster!

  35. Max Dunbar
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s a bit early to start panicking about the SNP based on the results of a poll. Two weeks prior to the referendum, predictions were being made that the SNP would win by a small margin. This turned out to be completely wrong.
    Sturgeon has not yet been officially installed as leader of the Party and it remains to be seen how popular she will be. The impression so far is that she is intensely ambitious, ascetic, shrill and putitanical to a degree. We can expect a further raft of ‘nanny state’ laws to be introduced and the distinct possibility that political parties and organisations not complying with her ‘values’ may be proscribed.
    The population here can expect to be held on a very tight rein ideed.

  36. Peter Stroud
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I really cannot see why Mr Clegg appears to be sabre rattling over this measure. Surely, as a democrat, he cannot object to his MPs from Scotland restricting their votes to purely Scottish or combined Scots/English matters. And thank you Mr Redwood, for making your views clear to the Right Honourable Gentleman.

  37. Javelin
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Do they not understand strategy???? Even a bit.

    One day there will be a majority and English votes will happen.

    It beggars belief their short termism.

    If this is our political elite the Gwad help us all.

    When your enemy is making mistakes then let them continue.

  38. Sam
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I think you’re being unrealistic by expecting Lib Dem support, John. After the next election, the MP for Orkney and Shetland may well account for 25% of their seats, after all.

  39. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    There may not be, after the General Election in 2015, even one LibDem MP in England to vote on anything.

    Rt Hon Nick Clegg perhaps is eyeing a constituency up in the Gaelic Liberal North West of Scotland as a last stand before inevitable electoral defeat and an ignominious paddling by leaky dugout with battle-tattered- flag to the Isle of Skye.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      There may not be a single LibDem MP elected in England, but because they have built up relatively concentrated pockets of support there probably will be. Last time I put trial numbers into the Electoral Calculus prediction facility they would have to drop down to about 4% support across the UK to lose all their seats, and at 5% they would still win 5 in England although not Clegg’s. UK Polling Report still has them getting around 8% support and winning 22 seats, so there’s some way to go before they’d be completely wiped out.

  40. The PrangWizard
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I wish you well. But he’s already had more than enough time to decide, just how much more time are you going to give him before you decide what to do? What if he plays for time, what is your plan for that? I hope you are not going to let him get away with any attempt to delay. He’s not worth it. His reputation is on the floor.

    And how quickly will you table your amendment in any event? It must not be allowed to drag on, it’s already gone on too long. England must be more assertive, we must stop falling over ourselves to please others, we seem weak. Negotiation must be done from strength, reasonableness is usually exploited, in this case not only by the Scots but those in England who do not wish us well. I won’t name who I think they are but there many organisations and many in your party. It’s time we started to please ourselves and stop apologising for who we are. Things must be pressed forward and all opposition challenged. This is a more important and immediate issue than the EU or the economy, there are votes to be gained in a clear position and determination.

    How is your party going to fight the GE? Will there be a Manifesto for England? Will you be creating English Ministries, with unambiguous names and Ministers with clear titles? What will you be requiring of the BBC?

  41. BobE
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    You won’t get a referendum unless there is a conservative majority. There won’t be. So no referendum.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      You may not get a referendum even if there is a Conservative majority, and in reality the uncertainty over that has not been significantly altered by the LibDems blocking the Wharton/Neill Bill in retaliation for something or other.

  42. John Robertson
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Well they know what will happen as it’s happened in Scotland and to an extent across the EU, there will be a surge towards nationalism and they and Labour will get squeezed out.

    Occasionally we hear a left politician say that their party has no automatic right to exist. I take this as a weak attempt at trying to say to the electorate that they are listening but they don’t believe those words themselves. In Scotland they don’t believe Labour listens to them but rather the liberal left dinner party set in London. In England they are more bold in saying they definately don’t want to listen to the English and refuse their democratic right. I don’t like nationalism (still patriotic) just look at history but that is where they are pushing it and themselves out.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if UKIP revised some of their policies to take advantage of the left’s stand in English votes. They could clean up, that’s the success the SNP had!

  43. John Robertson
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a TV debate based on polls now seems legitimate. That will stir up the English votes for English matters very graphically on TV and put more pressure on the left. How things change.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted November 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      I know how a TV vote in England should be organised – two rounds on the same day with viewer intervention in between.

      Round one would include all the minnows with at least one MP. So UKIP would be there, as well as the Greens and Respect. Probably the LibDems should be counted as a minnow, although they would disagree.

      After this first round debate, viewers would text to select the two speakers that they considered deserved to go through to the second round. The two selected – and it would probably be Nigel Farage and George Galloway – would join Messrs Cameron and Miliband in the second debate.

      All over in a single day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. Mike Wilson
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    It is very rude of Mr. Clegg not to reply to your letter. I used to vote Liberal throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Now, they disgust me. Never again.

    Mind you, ‘never again’ goes for the Tory and Labour parties too.

  45. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Destroying your own culture and country is always seen as cool in left of centre circles. It’s the nearest that cerebrally challenged lefties ever get to originality.

  46. Peter davies
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    You said it yourself, polls suggest there wont be too many Libs or Lab left in Scotland for it to be an issue come next year in any case. But by all means keep up the pressure on EVEL if only to re enforce what the Lib/lab are all about.

  47. Robert Taggart
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Clegg… ? – oh dear, Oh Dear, OH DEAR !

  • 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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