English votes – you read it here first

Today begins a government journey to give some justice to England. The minimum required is a guarantee that England will not have to pay a higher rate of Income Tax than Scotland based on Scottish votes at Westminster, that England’s MPs have a veto over laws the Union Parliament wishes to impose just on England, and that England has more power to decide how to spend the money we raise in taxes which is the equivalent of the Scottish bloc grant.

This was something I highlighted last summer during the Scottish referendum campaign:

August 10 2014 post
“On Tuesday I am giving the McWhirter Memorial lecture at 7.30pm on HMS President, moored on the Victoria Embankment in London.

I will use the opportunity to make the case for England. If we assume Scotland votes to stay in the Union, the three main Westminster parties have promised more powers including powers over parts of taxation will be passed to the Scottish Parliament. This will be the time to recognise that England too wants and deserves devolved government, enjoying the same powers of self determination of laws, spending and taxes as our Scottish neighbours and friends.

I will ask Who currently speaks for England? Why do the EU and many senior politicians in the UK want to break England up into regions that we do not seek or recognise? Why can’t English MPs at Westminster make the decisions for England, and speak for England, in the way the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh does for Scotland?

If we are revisiting Scotland’s settlement, we need to consider England’s at the same time. Many English people will not accept Scottish members of the Westminster Parliament voting through taxes on England that they do not have the power to impose on Scotland.”

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58 Comments

  1. stred
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    ‘senior politicians want to break up England into regions’ like the Anglo Scottish and Anglo Irish pair at no 10 and 11. ‘Why can’t English MPs make decisions for England…’- because the above pair got their retiring friend Willy to change decision making to a veto on decisions made by the whole UK parliament including Scottish, Irish and Welsh.

    • Hope
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Because Cameron is incapable of keeping his word.

    • Hope
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Read it here first..

      Why are the Tory MPs not holding Cameron to account? They are in office because they represent English voters who put them there. They are being let down like this by their own MPs in return for believing Cameron last October! Do not blame me I voted UKIP.

      Another issue another broken promise by Cameron. Who in their right mind would believe a word he says?

  2. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    But, JR, England still needs its own separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and government, the same as the Scots have had for many years, not this sop.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      No-one wants another layer of politicians, an English Parliament would be a waste of time and money. even if it got set up there would never be agreement on where it should sit. London would be ruled out of course. English MPs at Westminster are absolutely adequate representatives for England – i don’t want 2 MPs.

      I congratulate our host on sticking to this issue. Contrary to many confident predictions on this site, the Conservative govt will, it seems, insist upon Justice for England.

      The cant and hypocrisy of SNP MPs in PMQs the other day as they opposed this measure was a wonder to behold. Amazing these people got elected, but there we are – just as well we Arnt all ruled by the c 4% of the electorate who were bitter or deluded enough to vote SNP.

      • Libertarian
        Posted July 2, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Richard 1

        True we don’t need ANOTHER layer of politicians, so how about we take the democratic route? Scrap the absurd House Of Lords , base English Parliament there for time being at least, and treat the devolved parliaments/assemblies as second chambers. It really is vanishingly simple

        • Richard1
          Posted July 2, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

          Yes not a bad idea. In practice though I don’t think any proposal to make the House of Lords an elected representative chamber will ever get past the House of Commons. People haven’t spent their whole careers trying to get into the House of Commons only to cede power to another elected body!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            The composition of the House of Lords and the power of the House of Lords are two separate issues. The second has been largely determined by the Parliament Act 1911 as amended, and unless that was further amended an elected Lords would have no more power than the present lot of unelected legislators-for-life.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 2, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Excellent post Richard.
        I agree with all you have said.

        Well done Mr Redwood (and your fellow MPs) for achieving this important and fair change.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        Richard1, so who are you to say what people in England want?

        Why doesn’t the government ask them in a referendum whether they would like to have what the Scots have had for sixteen years now?

    • Hope
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. Why not EVEL as Cameron promised in October on the steps of Downing Street? Is the EU against it for their regionalisation plan? Is Cameron eve capable of keeping his word?

    • Ajay Gajree
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      I agree but only if that means the House of Commons becoming the Chamber for England and a fully Elected House of Lords (Vastly reduced in size) acting for the joint union matters left. A Federal System.

      A separate England parliament with no change to the Commons and Lords would be costly, unnecessary and not popular.

    • acorn
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Agree Denis, but can someone please explain to me why a federal structure appears to be impossible to achieve in the UK? There are federal structures in the vast majority of developed nations, all over this planet, that work well. In the East, they have governments that lead from the front, like a board of Directors. In the UK, unfortunately, we have governments that think “markets” deliver the future, which the don’t and never have without substantial government subsidies.

      This site majors on blaming the EU for everything. If the EU disappeared tomorrow and our, alleged, parliamentary sovereignty, was brought back to Westminster, it would be a pleasant surprise for me, if the Westminster Punch & Judy Club (that is; government of the plebs by the rich for the very rich), was, on its own, any better at managing this £1,700 billion a year, low wage, low productivity economy!

  3. alan jutson
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Whilst I accept that you are doing your best John, and thank you for that.

    Are not the current proposals put forward by the Government all a bit of a fudge, rather complex and and far from clear, given they still allow non English MP’s to vote on some elements that still concern only England.

    I still do not understand why we cannot have proper devolution, which give exactly the same agreed powers to all four Countries that make up the UK.
    So much more simple, fair, and absolutely clear cut.

  4. agricola
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I would prefer that MPs for constituencies outside England only sat in the H o C
    when discussing matters pertaining to the whole of the UK, or matters specific to Wales, NI, or Scotland. I would also prefer that the costs of these devolved MPs be born by their own devolved parliaments/assemblies.

    This might reduce the unseemly scramble for seats in the H o C. The added balancing of constituency sizes would further reduce numbers in the H o C.

    For sure there is no excuse for Welsh, NI or Scottish MPs voting on English matters. The current government has a majority so I would expect this situation to be dealt with swiftly.

  5. ChrisS
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    The offer on the table at best shows that David Cameron has little vision and isn’t bold enough to properly resolve the unfairness inherent in Labour’s deliberately orchestrated and one-sided devolution settlement.

    A veto over new legislation proposed by a Government is one thing but is far short of giving English elected representatives the ability to enact new legislation that suits our Country.

    It might be a fudge that we can live with while we have a Conservative Government but it will fall woefully short if we ever have some form of Labour/SNP/LibDem rainbow coalition at some point in the future.

    David Cameron needs to be made to recognise this and sort the problem out once and for all.

    I totally reject the argument that England has to be constitutionally reigned-in because our citizens make up 85% of the UK.

    A fair and equal settlement that devolves as much power as possible to each of the home nations is the only solution that will work in the long term and have any chance of keeping Scotland in the Union. ( if that’s what we actually want ).

    Ironically a settlement that gives full fiscal autonomy and control of everything other than defense and Foreign Affairs to four different National assemblies would also be in the best interest of the Labour party : It’s the only way they can legitimately campaign from a left of centre platform in Scotland and at the same time propose Blairite policies for England.

    No other strategy is going to enable them to get into power in England or Scotland or to form a UK Government in the foreseeable future.

  6. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    No-one has asked most people outside London whether we want to be like London. Yuk. Whether we want a Powerhouse, whatever that is. Whether the North has enough timber to extend the already oversized gluttonous tables of those petty local politicians who sit behind them as a mark, they believe, of their authority and overbearing betterness. Few are so callous, overbearing, and ridiculous, few having got more than the 15% of the votes of their electorates. We in the North do not want independence/regionalism from England. How could we wish independence from ourselves. We ARE England.

  7. Old Albion
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I’m so grateful to you JR, for continuing to speak up on Englands behalf. But I fear you are a lone voice within Westminster.

  8. yosarion
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Just listening to PMQs yesterday John, there were to many occasions where a Conservative MP started their question with, in the SW Or here in the West Midlands. Your party seems to be going down the same route as Blair and Prescott with Cameron and Osbourne inflicting the destruction of England through Regions, that most thought would go! with the bonfire of the Quangos.
    You only have to look at the Middle East to see what happens when a group of foreign diplomats draw lines in the sand and then tell a people this is their new boundary to live behind.

  9. David Eteson
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Some time ago, you were advocating an English Parliament, separate from the UK Parliament. We hear nothing now of that proposal. What happened?

    Reply I did not propose any such thing.Try re reading what I wrote – it’s all on this site.

  10. Ian wragg
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I’m sure that the Scottish negotiations will be the same as the EU. Scotland will get all it wants and we will continue to pay for it.
    What’s the betting that they retain the subsidies for onshore windmills and continue building them. Btw wind was supplying less than 1% the other day and we are still on target to close at least 3 base load power stations. You can’t blame the limp dumbs this time.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Ian, you are so right to point out this issue of wind farms with all the subsidies being paid to Scotland to run their communities with the so called community benefit which often benefits only the people in the towns away from the damn wind farm and causes nothing but heart ache for the rural people having to live with the noise and blight on property prices and receiving nothing in return. We have hear much about the noise etc from Heathrow and a 3rd runway, much about the loss of property values if HS2 goes ahead and a lot about compensation for them but absolutely nil about those living near these absurd wind farms. The only people benefitting are the developers and the land owners who are becoming multi millionaires from it while we all pay. We pay when they don’t work and we pay massively when they do. When they don’t work – guess what – we rely on those ‘terrible’ fossil fuels. Thank God for that! The Scottish government has been found to be failing the people of Scotland for non rigorous planning when it comes to consenting wind farms. It took 2 years to commission a report saying they had failed miserably to consider residents nearby. 2 years!! We could have told them all they discovered in 2 days! What a farce and the sooner Cameron grabs Fergus Ewing and Sturgeon by the scruffs of their necks and tells them their fortunes, the better!!

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Ian

      Just what is Cameron planning regarding wind farm subsidies and what about extensions??? If an existing wind farm has grid connections will they be able to still get subsidies for an extension? We are surrounded at the moment by wind farms wanting extensions. Hadyard Hill already has 52 turbines and has an application in now for a further 53, Mark Hill has 28 and wants a further 73 and Assel Valley has 10 and wants God knows how many more at the moment. These are all on our doorstep within 3 miles of us. It doesn’t look like the renewables industry is very worried at the moment. We in Scotland are sick to death of fighting development after development. There is no peace here anymore!

      Reply I will make enquiries re this as the policy is to end subsidies for new windmills

  11. David Price
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I want equal devolution for England, English Vetoes for English Only laws doesn’t provide that at all but clearly demonstrates the contempt Westminster has for English voters.

    So I support what you seem to be saying but not what is actually happening in Parliament.

  12. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    The proposals are half-baked. They only allow English MPs to passively block government bills. If there were a SNP/Labour Union government the majority of Conservative MPs in England could not (for example) re-introduce grammar schools if they wanted to. However, the Scottish Parliament CAN make any arrangements they want for Scottish education. Such a one-side approach is hardly fair or sensible.

    • Monty
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Thank You for your efforts John, at least you are trying to get us something.
      But I agree with Roy Grainger. We need an English only chamber with the power to set it’s own agenda. Power of veto is nowhere near enough.

  13. JoolsB
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Nice try John but what is on offer to England by Cameron’s Tories – English vetoes for English laws – is an insult and a kick in the teeth to every man, woman and child in England.

    UK MPs with English seats have NEVER spoken for England because their priority is the disUnited Kingdom, not England. English vetoes for English laws will NEVER allow MPs with English seats to decide what is best for England even if they wanted to, it will NEVER stop England’s choice of government being over-ruled by the other nations of the UK who themselves have their own self determining governments, it will NEVER provide England with it’s own First Minister or Secretary of State and as Cameron to his eternal shame confirmed in the house yesterday, it will NEVER stop Scots, Welsh & NI MPs still voting on English only matters. All English vetoes for English laws do is just that, give MPs with English seats a veto on any proposed English only legislation proposed by a UK Government, including any future Labour/SNP Government foist on England against it’s will, and as we all know, UK MPs with English seats always vote along party lines and how they are told and NEVER along national lines so this sop of all sops is meaningless John and you know it.

    The only democratic and fair solution which will give England all of the above is an ENGLISH PARLIAMENT along the same lines as Scotland but not one of our self serving politicians are ever going to suggest that are they – despite poll after poll suggesting the English want one. The Tory party will give Scotland, Wales & NI even greater powers but carry on shafting and ignoring England at their peril!

  14. Martin
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    So if there is a measure in Westminster that ONLY affects Scotland will ONLY Scottish MPs be allowed to vote on it?

    Reply That happens already in the Scottish Parliament! That’s why we have to do something for England

    • Martin
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      So over 300 English Conservative MPs will still have a veto on Scotland only laws that are passed by Westminster! SVSL please.

      Reply We do not pass Scotland only laws at Westminster, they are passed in Edinburgh!

      • Martin
        Posted July 2, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        One example – Shop Opening hours are legislated by Westminster on a Scotland only basis by Westminster not Edinburgh.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        There are some Acts of the UK Parliament which only apply to Scotland.

  15. DaveM
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the SNP for once:

    “The SNP’s Pete Wishart described the English votes policy as a “cobbled together unworkable mess”, and said it was “totally unacceptable”.

    Yup.

    Sod you all.

  16. DaveM
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile.

    There is a deepening crisis in Calais, Italy, Hungary, and the Med which is being ignored. IS continues to expand whilst politicians debate what to call them (!!!OMG!!!) and their sattelites gun down sunbathers on beaches. And a shoe-shop worker from York is attempting a whip-round for Greece and having more success than the so-called experts in the EZ/EU.

    Someone DO SOMETHING for ***** sake. That’s what WE pay you for.

  17. Andrew Finn
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I think it would be much better to set up an English Parliament.

    EVEL is just going to cause lots of problems with opposition parties complaining about ‘two classes’ of MPs.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Andrew

      “…two classes of MP…”

      The SNP have started that already, three questions at PMQ’s all followed exactly that scenario.

      Simple solution, same devolution for all four Countries.

      • Andrew Finn
        Posted July 2, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Alan:

        “Simple solution, same devolution for all four Countries.”

        That’s what I mean. If England had a Parliament, then devolve powers in equal measure to all devolved assemblies and parliaments and just use the House of Commons for national matters.

        Despite not being English; I can fully understand the frustration shown by English MPs about Scottish, Welsh and NI MPs voting on English only matters, which is why I fully support an English Parliament.

        I cannot understand why this isn’t being seriously considered now. A federal UK is the way forward, with the HoC becoming the federal parliament.

    • DaveM
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      That one’s easily solved – if the Scots and Welsh complain about EVEL creating two classes of MP, just offer them a deal whereby the Scottish Parliament and Sennydd are scrapped and they have SVSL & WVWL along exactly the same lines as EVEL.

      At least that would be fair.

  18. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Cameron is, entirely accidentally, playing the long game – putting forward proposals that will infuriate the Scots so much that they’ll agitate for and get independence. Let’s hope so.

  19. PaulDirac
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    3rd runway @ Heathrow:
    What about Cameron’s promise “no ifs, no buts” , it should be a non-starter

    I live half way between Heathrow and Gatwick i.e. this isn’t a personal issue

    The “assurances” given in the report are worthless:
    “No 4th runway EVER”, even if enshrined in law, this assurance it isn’t worth much, as any future parliament can just overturn it.

    “Limit noise to current level” – That’s a real joke, if they actually build the runway and then find that noise level has increase, will they just shut it down?
    In any case nearly doubling the number of flights makes both those assurances a pie in the sky.

    “Air pollution limited to current level”, as above, if built and traffic volumes double, both of those will be “adjusted”, and any query will be met with a huge “So what do you want us to do now?”

    “No night flights”, will be slowly eroded, half an hour at a time “because it’s needed for the economy”

    There is no doubt that the report is correct in the narrow economic sense it was forced to take, but this is the wrong solution, what will happen when the capacity of the three runways is maxed-out? The only logical solution will be a 4th runway and so on.

    All major to medium roads in the area (M25, M4, A4, A30) etc. will need huge enlargement, traffic pollution (noise and air) will be horrible to a large area around the airport.
    John, this is a bad solution, please join the other “runway rebels”

    Reply Conservatives promised no new runway for 2010-15 Parliament and kept the promise. The 2015 Manifesto said we will study the Report and make a decision- the no new runway promise was not renewed. Parties can change their offer at a new election!

    • ChrisS
      Posted July 2, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      We need at least one new runway, really we need two just to reduce the overload. Just neither of them at Heathrow.

      I would build a second runway at Gatwick as quickly as possible by passing legislation to stop endless delaying tactics, cancel HS2 and spend the money saved on Boris Island which could be designed to be extended to four runways when necessary. We could easily afford to be very generous to local residents because both projects would require a lot less houses to be demolished than would be the case at Heathrow.

      People around Heathrow would be happier and their would be far less risk of catastrophic delays for passengers because LHR could revert to running at a more realistic 75% of capacity than the present 98%.

      A proper 21st solution that will see us into the 22nd as well – or until someone comes up with a Startrek Transporter Beam.

      • Excalibur
        Posted July 2, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        My thoughts precisely, ChrisS. Why do we not just get on with it ?

      • David Price
        Posted July 3, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        What about the economy of the Thames Valley, the tech companies headquartered here who would move to East London when the International connections get moved there?

        Boris island is a joke, it gains the country nothing but simply transfers a chunk of the economy from West London to East, it leads me to wonder who has investments and interests that might benefit from such a change.

        A proper solution would be to extend Gatwick and Heathrow and put in a high speed ring rail connecting Stanstead as well, then no-one will be forced to connect via central London.

      • sm
        Posted July 5, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Boris Island – it makes long term strategic sense. It can be designed with space for future expansion if needed.
        Noise pollution would be less of a concern.
        Large building project -relatively little disruption in the interim.
        Infrastructure could be planned around it. e.g Trains / Ferry Interchange. Larger aircraft etc. A new Thames barrier and bridges/tunnels.
        It would also probably be more secure/ safe – in terms of flight paths across populated areas.
        Why not? – vested interests probably.

        We could learn from the industrious Chinese.

  20. Alexis
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Thank you

    And yes, I would very much like to know why the drive for regionalisation continues.

    I thought that dead euro-duck had been laid to rest, back in the 90s.

  21. Atlas
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Agreed John. Scottish MPs having a say over things which do not affect them due to devolution is not acceptable.

  22. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    If they raise their taxes higher than ours out of need, then do we still want the same level of tax?

  23. Bert Young
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Protecting the English from the Scots in particular is essential . The proposal to be debated later in the H o C is a step in the right direction and must be given full support . As it stands – as some bloggers have indicated , there may be some “holes” that will need further pruning , nevertheless it does clearly show the Scots that they can’t have their cake and eat it .

    If the Scots obtain the sort of control over their receipts it must not be at the expense of the English . Cameron and the other two who agreed (without prior consent of Parliament ) that the Scots would have such powers , it naturally followed that the likes of JR would react and press for our protection . Thank goodness this happened and it will now be properly debated and , hopefully , implemented .

  24. turbo terrier
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Very well done John, but………. Please could you be a little bit gentle when taking questions from the SNP members because it is hard enough being English here in dictatorship Scotland and the whole country knows how they hate losing to the auld enemy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The SNP members want to worry more about what is happening up here in the areas of NHS and education which are a disaster and stop trying to blame everything upon Westminster.

    When did the Scottish Parliament become a government or was I asleep when it was agreed?

    Keep them on the back foot for the sake of all of us.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      It was the Scottish Executive which became the Scottish Government.

  25. Jon
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    A good day, well done am glad the proposal is more robust than was previously proposed, no doubt you had influence there, glad it’s English MPs and not another layer as in Scotland.

    Applause

  26. Excalibur
    Posted July 2, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Why does CMD continue to speak of English regions, as he did at PMQ’s on Wednesday. I suspect that he is so wedded to the EU project that he thinks in those terms….

  27. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    You will find that it is easier to win through if it is determined that the size of the deficit on Scottish public expenditure and the Scottish money supply are determined by the UK government and the Bank of England respectively.

    The Scot Nats don’t actually want to use their powers to tax more that the English. They want high Scottish public expenditure, under their control and financed by England. It’s time to call their bluff and it’s good that the PM has asked them how they will use their additional powers.

    Reply I asked them this in the debate about tax, and others have asked them more generally. They refuse to answer, and we point out they have not used the powers granted so far. I also asked them how much more generous they would be with welfare, and again they refuse to answer.

  28. bluedog
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Congratulations, Dr JR, on establishing an important principle in the Parliament that finally enables resolution of the West Lothian question. As other commentators have said, this can only be an interim step on the way to a devolved English parliament with the same powers as the Scottish parliament.

    For a government that has taken contentious steps in the interests of what it perceives to be social equity, one would expect that constitutional equity for all parts of the United Kingdom would rank as the highest possible priority.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted July 3, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Surely constitutional equality means fairness of representation for all – Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish voters elect using some form of proportional system, yet the English continue to be denied this and these proposals fail to address this inequality and unfairness in the system. What is proposed is a situation whereby a bloc of MPs with a minority voter mandate (the Conservative share of the English vote was 41%, which is a minority mandate of voters) can block things which the majority of voters may actually want. Until the unfair biases in the Westminster electoral system are addressed, unfairness will remain.

      I know at this point that the Conservatives react by pointing to the AV referendum, but AV is not a proportional system – the UK or English electorate have never been offered proportionality despite repeated surveys showing a majority (by which I mean a real majority i.e. over 50%) in favour of proportionality.

      • bluedog
        Posted July 4, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        PP, agree in principle (of course) that there should be constitutional equity. Until English voters can vote for members of an English parliament the English interest is represented by the Westminster parliament of the UK. Once English voters demand and get their own devolved parliament they can if they chose introduce proportional voting, but wisely may decide not to. What would you say about constitutional equity then?

        The answer is that the actual method of voting is not strictly a constitutional matter but something for an Electoral Act of a devolved parliament or the UK Parliament. Constitutional equity comes from ensuring that the components of the UK have equal rights and powers and equal representation as states at the federal level. Currently England is deprived of any devolved competencies and there is no states house for those that have devolved competencies.

        Alas, one reads the George Osborne is about to re-introduce a Prescott model of regional devolution in England. If the English are permitted a referendum on this development they may choose to reject it. However one suspects that after the failure of Prescott’s referendum in the North-East there will be no opportunity to protest, and that the English electorate will be presented with a fait accompli.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted July 7, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          bluedog, if you are suspicious about fait accomplis, look at what has already taken place with Manchester. This isn’t a potential future, it is already happening!

          With regards to constitutional equality, every political party bar one has supported calls for a UK Constitutional Convention to address these issues outside the individual vested interests of political parties. Our current Westminster voting system is designed for the two party politics of the 1950s, and is clearly no longer fit for purpose as it no longer delivers fair representation of the wishes of the electorate. The current government’s mandate comes from less than a quarter of the electorate, as did the mandate of the previous single party government – Labour in 2005. Labour actually increased their share of the popular vote by 0.2% compared to 2010, yet all the talk is about how badly they did – how can we continue to accept a system where a party increased its share of popular support amongst voters yet loses representatives? I also know a number of people who have publically stated that “they voted but it was a waste of time” – what better example of the disengaging nature of the FPTP system than that? One only has to look at UKIP to see that our system does not translate support into representation. Something has to change.

  29. ChrisS
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    BBC Licence Fee Largesse

    I see the BBC are sending 200 staff members to cover the LibDem conference including more than 150 journalists.

    That’s almost 19 journalists hanging on every word of each LibDem MP !

    ITN are sending a total of 5 Journalists.

    Need we say more ?

  30. Ken Moore
    Posted July 3, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Well it’s been quite a journey for the English over the last 40 years – perhaps denying us a vote is part of the plan.

    The plan being to have political correctness at the heart of every decision. Those that speak the PC language hate England and all they think it stands for.

    We have been told to accept mass immigration which has utterly changed the face of the country and made us much more overcrowded – since when has the Conservative party been remotely interested in being fair ?.

    Is it fair that grammar schools were abolished ?.
    Is it fair that we have to put up with a muddle headed education secretary that loses sleep at night because a 6 year old somewhere called another child ‘gay’.

    Or that marriage was changed into something it was never intended to be to appease trendy left wing opinion ?

    Is it fair that certain standards are relaxed depending upon which particularly ethnic grouping you are deemed to belong ?. Etc ed

  • 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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