There are 18 Parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland, 40 in Wales and 59 in Scotland. In the last General election the Conservative party won 8 seats in Wales, one in Scotland and none in Northern Ireland. Conservatives won a substantial majority in England, taking 298 of the 533 seats. It was not enough to give an overall majority in the Union Parliament. Owing to the way our Parliament works, that meant in England Conservatives had to share power with Liberal Democrats to govern English health, English education, English local government and other English matters. Meanwhile these issues in Scotland came under the control of the SNP who won the Scottish Parliamentary election, in Wales under Labour who won the Assembly election, and in Northern Ireland under the Northern Irish parties.
Now that more devolution has been promised to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there has to be a settlement for England. The polls do not point to a substantial breakthrough for the Conservatives outside England, so the Conservative party will depend heavily on England for a majority in the Union Parliament. It would be quite unacceptable for Conservatives to win again in England, but for there to be no devolved power to English MPs to deal with the matters for England that are devolved to Scotland. This will be especially true over taxation. Once Scotland has the power to fix her own Income tax, Wales has the power to fix business rates, and Northern Ireland the power to fix Corporation tax, England will expect powers to fix her own taxes too.
I look forward to the publication of the Conservative Manifesto setting out a policy to offer some justice to England. I also fear that the Labour and Lib Dem manifestoes will be silent on this weighty matter, hoping that it will go away. It will not go away. The SNP will make sure of that. As the SNP send new MPs to Westminster, they will do so backed by Scottish voters to improve Scotland’s deal within the Union, and to demand more devolved powers. As they do so England will find her voice and expect some fairer treatment. Just as Labour took Scottish voters too much for granted in recent years when the SNP was upping its game, so today Labour and Lib Dems ignore England and refuse to listen to the reasonable demands of the English for English votes for English needs, let alone to the voices of those who want a separate English Parliament.