Speaking for England

Some of you have noticed I have dropped the Speaking for England phrase from this website. I did so after  careful consideration. When I thought through and set out my promises to electors for the late 2019 General Election I decided that the forthcoming Parliament had enough to do to see Brexit through, develop the wins from Brexit, and drive through a levelling up economic agenda. I doubted the Prime Minister’s interest in constitutional reform for England, so thought it better not to arouse expectations. I did in the past promise a referendum on EU membership before it was party policy, and helped bring that about, and promised to speak for England and helped bring about English votes for English issues before that was  party policy.

I was torn over the speaking for England issue, as it is clearly unfinished work. When I helped  persuade David Cameron to take the issue of the unfair devolution settlement seriously I both argued for an English  veto on laws affecting England and a right to initiate England only laws for English MPs. We secured the new procedure that any law affecting  just England requires a majority of English MPs voting to vote for it. I did not secure the other half, the right of a majority of England’s MPs to initiate and pass a law for England  which MPs from other parts of the UK do not approve. William Hague led a successful attempt to block us. England therefore remains way  behind Scotland in our devolved powers, as the Scottish Parliament can initiate and veto legislation for Scotland over a wide range of devolved matters.

Some of you argue England needs its own Parliament, like Scotland, away from  Westminster. I disagree. I do not want to spend more taxpayer money on more politicians and another layer of government. I do want England to have a better voice in government, and control over its own laws. This can be done by having a Cabinet member leading for England and representing England, working closely with the Secretaries of State for Local Government, Transport, Health and Education who are mainly England only Ministers. It can be done by an English Grand Committee of all UK MPs elected for English constituencies forming the English  legislature at Westminster. If I were an English nationalist then of course I would argue for a separate Parliament with as much power as possible. I would prefer the UK to survive as my country, but do want a fairer deal and a better say for England within our devolution settlement.


  1. Ron Grey
    March 1, 2021

    England has over 80% of the UK population and over 80% of its MPs. There is no need for any extra powers for England, because right now if English MPs want something, they can get it at Westminster, and simple arithmetic shows the Scots, Welsh and Irish can never veto it

    1. Lifelogic
      March 1, 2021

      It is not really that simple at all. The Scottish MPs often have undue influence at certain points and can extract more funding or other concessions at certain points in a one way, ratchet like manner.

      The Institute of Economic affairs analysis of the composition of panels for Any Questions and Question Time from June 2016 to December 2017 showed that 68% of panelists were pro remain only 32% leave. The chairmen were clearly all pro remain being BBC employee (self evident from their questions and interventions).

      I tend to find a similar and large pro Scottish bias in these BBC programmes too. Far far more coverage of Scotland and with far more Scottish panelists than say Yorkshire panelists and issues. It would be interesting to have an analysis of this. Having a Scottish parliament and different systems gives them undue influence and more topics to discuss.

      I agree we certainly do not want to spend even more taxpayer money on more politicians, another layer of government with even more laws, lawyers, bureaucrats, red tape and costs. We need to remove as much of this as possible.

    2. jerry
      March 1, 2021

      @Ron Grey; this parliament will not exist by Dec. 2024, what if the arithmetic doesn’t add-up come the next parliament, or perhaps that is what you want?

    3. ian@Barkham
      March 1, 2021

      That is part of the point the English do NOT have 80% of the MP’s

      1. Fred.H
        March 1, 2021

        and who pays the MPs salaries, employment taxes, end-of-office severance, expenses and office costs? And finally upkeep cost of Westminster?

    4. Hope
      March 1, 2021

      Either all home nations have their own parliament or none at all.

      Lords could be scrapped to pay for any changes. They are only PM cronies given extra wages and pensions. Very corrupt.

      Fake Tory party and govt carrying on with EU regionalisation of our country with mayors and police commissioners that the public did not want but was imposed on the country ! Look at the mess it has caused throughout this pandemic regionally and throughout home nations!

    5. agricola
      March 1, 2021

      Not quite as simple as you suggest. In a closely contested parliament, at present votes from the national MPs could be used to support policy or block policy. It would be tail wagging dog time. Your simple arithmatic did not work in the last parliament when the Conservatives required DUP support.

    6. JoolsB
      March 1, 2021

      Trouble is Ron, they don’t see themselves as English MPs, they see themselves as constituency MPs and therein lies the problem. They don’t speak for England, they certainly don’t stand up for it, they don’t even speak it’s name and see nothing wrong with the status quo – i.e. no voice for England, no representation, less money spent on it and they don’t even mind MPs elected outside of England meddling and voting on matters which only affect England.
      How on earth does that give England the advantage?.

    7. Robert McDonald
      March 1, 2021

      Isn’t there a simple principle here. It cannot be democratic for Scots, Irish, Welsh parliamentary ministers who can promote their nations priorities without an English MP making a contribution, while the same nations MP’s can in any way influence or contribute to decisions related to matters of devolved powers that are being proposed for England.

    8. Hope
      March 1, 2021

      JR, suggest you and every Tory MP watch governor Kristi Noem at CPAC conference how she dealt with Chinese virus over the last year. Against chief medical advisor Faucci’s advice and warning her hospitals would have 10,000 in them without the capacity to deal with them. At the peak she had 600 by focusing on protecting the elderly and vulnerable. No wearing face masks, no closing businesses, no closing schools, allowing personal responsibility with proper state advice to make their choices.

      The state socially, educationally and economically thriving. No increase in taxes, no huge debt taking generations to pay back, life opportunities not curtailed at all. No fines, no arrests for exercising personal freedoms in a democracy! The teachers and admin staff made schools work!

      She made it clear she dealt with the virus under conservative principles.

      1. Hope
        March 1, 2021

        Oh, and she had the courage to act against the pressure of the fake left wing press. Compare to New York and governor Cuomo or Johnson here.

    9. MikeP
      March 3, 2021

      How did William Hague block the proposals then?

    10. Roger Jones
      March 7, 2021

      Agreed. However, I am convinced that there needs to be a clear separation between MPs acting in their “United Kingdom capacity” (on matters such as Defence & Foreign Policy, Trade & Commerce, Currency, Weights & Measures, Monetary Policy), and matters of a purely English nature (i.e. those on which the devolved assemblies in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland legislate).

      Might a possibility be to have English MPs meet separately somewhere else (? in York), to legislate on purely English matters? Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish MPs would be excluded from this assembly. All MPs would continue to meet in Westminster to legislate on “United Kingdom matters.” I believe that having the England assembly meet in a different location to be important, as a way of emphasising that legislating on “England only” matters is a separate function, even when the same MPs also form part of the United Kingdom parliament.

      This would enable England to have devolved government no less than other parts of the United Kingdom, without the need to create a new legislature in the immediate future. Experience with it would be helpful in deciding whether England needs a separate legislature in future, or not.

      This would also be a useful device in an overall strategy to counter SNP “Indy Ref-2” efforts. Giving a sub-national legislature special powers denied to other parts of a country is an invitation to encouraging separatist sentiment. As a resident of Canada, and having gone through two Quebec independence referendums, I can speak from experience on this point.

  2. Mark B
    March 1, 2021

    Good morning

     I do not want to spend more taxpayer money on more politicians and another layer of government.

    So am I to take it that you are against City Mayorships?

    Let us be frank Sir John, no one here who is advocating for equivalence with the other members of our Union is seeking another layer of government. So please do not use that straw man argument.

    What I, and I am sure many others here and elsewhere seek, is reform. People do not just want equivalence for England but the abolishment of the HoL and a creation of a Federal system. England and the English are not even spoken of. We are revered to as ‘the Regions’. We are derided at every turn and given no acknowledgment to the fact that, without England, and the English taxpayer there would be no Union. We can easily afford to lose both Scotland and Ulster.

    Anyway, events dear boy, events. It seems that we, the English, shall have our parliament, albeit by other means.

    And as for calling me a Nationalist, please do not confuse me with those bigots who represent other parts of the Union. I do not have them, I just want what they have. That is not Nationalism, it is fairness.

    1. Fred.H
      March 1, 2021

      a breath of straight talking – well said, although ignored in the H of C.

    2. glen cullen
      March 1, 2021

      Have City Mayors actually achieved anything ???

    3. JoolsB
      March 1, 2021

      Well said Mark B.

  3. Ian Wragg
    March 1, 2021

    England provides the money for the rest of the UK to spend. Wee krankie blames Westminster for all the problems in Scotland despite having devolved powers, health,education,taxation etc.
    The SNP performance is dire but still she gets away with blaming you.
    Why has no one got the guts to stand up to her.

    1. Mike Durrans
      March 1, 2021

      +1 I would like to see the devolution Act repealed as Blair was trying to destroy Britain for the good of the eu

    2. Andy
      March 1, 2021

      Scotland has negligible tax raising powers. This is why when Little Englanders accuse Scotland of not being able to fund herself they are being disingenuous. If Scotland had full tax raising powers it would raise all of its own taxes. It doesn’t have this.

      As a country with a population about the same size as Ireland, Finland and Denmark there is no reason why Scotland could not thrive they way they all do, if ever released from the control of Tory Little England.

      Incidentally, it is not Scots who mind paying a bit more tax. It is the billionaire tax dodgers who fund the Tory party who object.

      1. a-tracy
        March 2, 2021

        Andy, so why did the predominantly Scottish run Blair/Brown/Darling Labour party not make Scottish graduates pay the same 9% graduate tax they made the English grads make if they’re happy “paying a bit more tax”?

        This silly government will be complacent about this issue and the next time the Labour/SNP/Welsh PC/Labour/Irish MPs get together and make changes on England they don’t apply to themselves they’ll be crying in their sleep.

    3. agricola
      March 1, 2021

      Re your last sentence, the Great Bullfrog would appear to be doing just that, and if he is to be believed the scottish electorate will be heading for the political divorce court with despatch.

    4. IanT
      March 1, 2021

      Andrew Neil does a pretty good job whenever she’s foolish enough to talk to him.

      1. Fred.H
        March 1, 2021

        and she’ll avoid talking to Ms Davidson.

    5. Lifelogic
      March 1, 2021

      Indeed but stand up to her in what way given the upcoming Scottish election.

  4. agricola
    March 1, 2021

    We are witnessing the result of too much devolution or separatism in a union. It seems to feed a cancer in the body as a whole and does nothing to promote the union.

    To overcome the lack of an english voice on matters exclusively English it is only necessary to ban voting at Westminster by devolved MPs. Effectively an English committee within a Union Parliament.

    In terms of the United Kingdom, devolution is messy and negative in that it gives a platform to those who wish to destroy the UK from within. The EU aided by the BBC have been at it for years with a target of destroying England. Post Brexit, neither ackowledge that the battle is over, because neither ackowledge the UK as a sovereign power. The EU see us as the black sheep of their family.

    The way forward is for Boris and your government to ensure that there are no poor relations, either within England or within the Union. That way there is no green grass outside for anyone to seriously hanker for. I think it is what Boris means by leveling up, make sure it happens post Covid and is seen to be happening by the next election. Lack of it feeds dissent and socialism.

    1. Fred.H
      March 1, 2021

      no – ‘The EU see us as the black sheep of their family.’
      The EU see us as the sheep who must follow the rest of their family.

      1. glen cullen
        March 1, 2021

        spot on Fred

      2. MiC
        March 2, 2021

        I’d say that there are a range of views of the UK amongst the 450,000,000 of the European Union’s citizens.

        I’d guess that a fair few have a view, as to what sort of people would elect a PM like it now has too.

        I shouldn’t think that many would have any expectation of such types to be like they are, or to do what they do though.

  5. turboterrier
    March 1, 2021

    Exactly Sir John.
    There will always be people that moan and grizzle about everything and anything never satisfied . The critical mass of English voters do not ask for a lot in comparison with others within the UK and it is very much brushed over the pride and belief we have in England.
    No minister talks for the English and fights their corner. Are the cabinet too blind and deaf to the ever growing resentment to the dingy packers coming in virtually unchecked and getting perceived better treatment than those English people who sometimes through no fault of their own are on the edge of despair. We the English need a voice at the top table , not a BOGAP ,brains on gate auto pilot type but someone who can be related to, who will walk the talk and get to fully understand our frustrations at how we perceive we are treated at present. This situation should have been addressed years ago. It will not be an easy role but the right person with a good team, not more faceless civil servants but a team of fellow like minded MPs walking the talk getting good honest feedback from the population about what really pisses them off reporting back and highlighting the concerns found to the relevant ministers. But first it is we the people who have to be listened to. It is a well tried process that works in industry. Will it happen? No.


    1. Christine
      March 1, 2021

      Unfortunately, asylum seekers do have more rights than the British people due to the treaties we have signed promising to provide them with protection, food and housing. The whole system needs reform as we are being taken advantage of. The fact that this Government has continued its commitment to the UN Global Compact For Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that Theresa May signed tells us their real agenda. They don’t intend to do a thing to halt this influx only to facilitate even more of it. Boris is just waiting for the right moment to offer all these illegals an amnesty so they can bring their extended families into our country.

      1. Hope
        March 1, 2021

        Today talking about track and trace at a cost of £22 billion the govt cannot find a person who entered the country who took the test!

        In response Johnson lying on TV that the UK has one of the most secure borders in the world! I nearly fell off my chair laughing as it was announced previously another 83 landed on the beaches with a 40% increase on last year! That £28 million Useless Patel gave the French clearly made all the difference!

        JR, is Johnson capable of telling the truth?

      2. a-tracy
        March 2, 2021

        Christine, did France sign the same treaties?

        1. Christine
          March 2, 2021

          I believe France did sign up to it but these migrants have avoided applying for asylum in EU countries hoping to be granted asylum in the UK. Even if they are refused do we ever deport them?

          United States, Australia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Austria voted against the Compact. Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia and Romania abstained. Slovakia did not vote.

          Theresa May signed up to it without the consent of the British people and Boris has confirmed his support for it.

  6. dixie
    March 1, 2021

    The prominent voices in the UK parliament are the screeching SNP and the wokish “progressives”. We hear very little, much less a majority and robust voice promoting the interests of English commoners.
    Instead we get pissant appeasers who focus solely on their careers, who don’t want to rock the boat and so punish us by rewarding everyone else.
    Well I am fed up being the butt of every jumped up bigoted rascist and while Farage is not the answer neither are the “English” MPs no matter the high falutin titles.

    1. John Hatfield
      March 1, 2021

      Correction Dixie. Farage is the answer unless you have a better suggestion. We cannot carry on as we are with the current batch of politicians all subservient to their corporate sponsors.

      1. John Hatfield
        March 1, 2021

        John, I do not include you in the last sentence.

      2. JoolsB
        March 1, 2021

        +1. Reform party all the way from now on. Sick of the anti English socialists, Tory and Labour, nothing to pick between them.

      3. dixie
        March 2, 2021

        Thank you for attempting to correct my opinion, I will check my thinking with you in future.
        You are welcome to your opinion but I do not see Farage as the answer because his MO has not been to always seek the benefit of the UK in his political activities, it has been to disrupt the EU processes, to encourage a referendum and leave result. Along the way this has resulted in a distinctly negative impact for the UK.
        We need a government, not just an individual, who can lead our people representing their best interests and those of our country through a constructive and positive approach rather than just pissing in the well then proclaiming how bad the water is.
        If I have a suggestion it is that Reform, Reclaim, Refund, whatever, need to establish a reputation of delivery and achievement in government which means local government rather than simply stand at every GE with leaflets of promises their only justification.
        In the meantime I am in the enviable position of having John Redwood as my MP and I vote for him not the Tories.

  7. Fedupsoutherner
    March 1, 2021

    I really cannot understand why any English MP would be happy with the way things are now. It’s an abomination against the English people. I’d like to know the reasoning behind Haigs actions. This still needs serious reform. The missing phrase from your site implys you think this will never be addressed. It’s not very democratic.

    1. Everhopeful
      March 1, 2021

      Or is it future proofing against cries of waaaaaycist?
      I always thought it a bold statement.
      And now it’s gone!
      Sad that we are not allowed a country.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 1, 2021

      Indeed what did motivate Hague? He used to be sound many moons back.

      He did read PPE Oxon though, rarely a positive sign.

      1. Fred.H
        March 1, 2021

        He didn’t sound sound though, did he?

  8. MiC
    March 1, 2021

    John, I think that you must accept that many of your followers on the Right are victimhood addicts.

    Whining that they are somehow oppressed because they do not have their own English parliament is therefore an entirely predictable item, on a long list of trumped-up grievances.

    It is pandering to their petty outrages – by people such as yourself – which which has got this country into the woeful and ignominious position in which it now sits.

    1. Andy
      March 1, 2021

      But they will soon be banning bottles water from Europe because they want to show they are tough! (Just don’t tell them it would be against WTO rules).

      1. a-tracy
        March 2, 2021

        I agree Andy they need to get a lot smarter than banning bottled water, they must ban it from everywhere without certain certificates they need.

        They need to put the same bans on incoming products from the EU that they have put on us with vet certificates required.

    2. Fred.H
      March 1, 2021

      Do you own a mirror Martin?

    3. jerry
      March 1, 2021

      @MiC; Cough! Martin, I think it is you who must accept that many of your followers on the Left are victimhood addicts, especially those of tender years. It was the very argument both the SNP and PC used back in 1997 and before, and the SNP still use such arguments – It is never the fault of the SNP when policies fail, they are always victims of the Westminster cabal, or the Barnet formula, or a UK wide defence policy, or … or … or … or…… etc.

    4. NickC
      March 1, 2021

      Nice try, Martin. Is this the latest Remain spin? Spend four and a half years whining about our Leave win, then pretend it’s Leaves who are the culprits?

    5. Mike Wilson
      March 1, 2021

      The Scots have far higher government spending per capita than the English, free university education and free prescriptions. I am a bit fed up with this. Are these ‘petty grievances?’ Can you justify such manifest discrimination against the English?

      1. a-tracy
        March 2, 2021

        There is blatant discrimination mike in the fact that all European students could go to University in Scotland for just £1500 pa (and often free scholarships agreed) other than the English.

    6. No Longer Anonymous
      March 1, 2021

      See that Brexit thing. You caused that, you did.

      It’s alright for the Scots to paint their faces in woad and drape themselves in tartan in childish anti-English nationalism – a white van driver supports his national football team in the World Cup and Labour politicians photograph his house and sneer at him.

      The outrages aren’t petty and they aren’t trumped-up.

      We see that the open borders policy is even more sacred than our lives during a pandemic. This ‘petty’ issue has cost a lot of English lives.

      We wanted to be more like New Zealand but the Left called us racists when we asked for it. Now the Left are saying we should be more like New Zealand … having been the ones who stopped us being like them.

      1. MiC
        March 2, 2021

        With a majority of eighty no one, the Left especially, can stop this government doing whatever they want, nor did they even try on that basis.

        They were incapable of organising the closure of borders and the quarantine of those coming in, it is as simple as that.

    7. IanT
      March 1, 2021

      “Where we are now” MiC?

      You mean with over 20M plus vaccinated I suppose. That will probably do for me for starters. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it took us 40+ years to slide down into the EU’s Black Hole and it will probably take a few more to climb back out of it. But I’m sure we’ll get there…

    8. Mr S Clarke
      March 1, 2021

      In the forth coming elections, in Scotland, the voters get more than one choice for devolved matters.We, in England, get none. I too would like a second choice regarding our devolved matters So, our own Parliament is the only solution unless you have better idea.

    9. ChrisS
      March 1, 2021

      Nobody is whining, nor are we “victimhood addicts” raising trumped up grievances.
      Neither do we feel oppressed.
      All we are asking for is a similar democratic arrangement to Scotland, at no cost to the exchequer or the taxpayer. Can you not see that that is entirely reasonable ?
      It might not seem too serious when we have a Conservative majority of 80 at Westminster, but that could change. We cannot have the SNP holding the balance of power over legislation that only affects England.

    10. John C.
      March 1, 2021

      You’re right, it’s entirely predictable. A country without its own parliament, complaining. Tut, tut.

  9. Old Albion
    March 1, 2021

    No new building required. Just kick out the non-English constituency MP’s. What remains becomes an English Parliament equal to the Scottish and Welsh versions.
    Scrap the House of Lords, that gets 800 pensioners off the books. Turn it into the UK senate for all reserved matters.
    Job done …………. simples

    I do of course realise there is absolutely no one with the bottle to even suggest this within the current House of Commons. But I’ll keep banging on.
    Hopefully the Scots will vote to leave the (dis)UK soon and we’ll be on the way to an English parliament anyway.

    1. JoolsB
      March 1, 2021

      +1 If England finally gets it’s parliament only by default, ie. the Scots have the guts to leave, then no doubt the current bunch of 553 UK MPs squatting in English seats will assume they will carry on their roles in an EP when they have fought one every step of the way and done nothing to fight the rotten deal England alone gets from this so called union. We must never allow that to happen.

    2. Paul Cuthbertson
      March 1, 2021

      A Republic may not be far off!!!!!!!

    3. Robert McDonald
      March 1, 2021

      I felt like jumping through the screen and shouting YES YES when you highlighted the benefits of bringing the House of Lords into the real world by scrapping it. An elected upper house for sure, probably based on PR as none of the representatives actually represent any constituent, and a lot lot less of them.

    4. John C.
      March 1, 2021

      If there were upticks, you would have mine.

    5. Fred.H
      March 1, 2021

      all those H of L indoors benches could be provided to rough sleepers.

  10. Nig l
    March 1, 2021

    William Hague, another one of those people I wish to neither see nor hear from ever again. As for Scotland unless someone gives me measurable benefits why we give them vast amounts of money, let them go their own way standing totally on their own feet. Sturgeon knows Scotland couldn’t afford that hence her desperation to join the EU and get their handouts instead of ours.

    Good riddance I say.

    1. majorfrustration
      March 1, 2021

      Nobody seems to have the political courage to let Scotland go its own (SNP) way. It would be a win win for the remainder of the Union.

      1. Fred.H
        March 2, 2021

        and subsequently half of the population would rethink their domicile. No bad thing.

    2. SM
      March 1, 2021


    3. JoolsB
      March 1, 2021

      It wouldn’t be so insulting if that nice Tory Government didn’t give the devolve nations thousands more per head of English taxes than they give the English.

  11. NickC
    March 1, 2021

    There is no point to a union where the members see themselves primarily as distinct from the union. The EU should have seen that over UK membership. Unlike the EU, the people of the British isles are very closely related culturally, linguistically, genetically, financially, and legally. It therefore makes sense to be one state, but it must be a state where all pull together. It currently isn’t. That is why I reluctantly suggest an England only referendum for English independence. We will then see how the English regard the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    1. MiC
      March 1, 2021


      Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, Romanche, Catalan, French etc. are far more mutually closely related than are Welsh, Breton, and Gaelic to English, as are German, Dutch, English, and the Scandinavian languages to each other.

      1. NickC
        March 1, 2021

        Martin, The reality is that English is the common language in the British isles.

    2. Sakara Gold
      March 1, 2021

      “the people of the British isles are very closely related culturally, linguistically, genetically, financially, and legally” – what rubbish! We speak at least three Celtic languages, not to mention the 18% New Commonwealth speakimg Hindi, Urdu, Swahili, etc and Polish – all living in a multicultural society. You propose yet another devisive referendum….words fail me

      1. NickC
        March 1, 2021

        Sakara, There is no such thing as a “multi-cultural” society. All votes are devisive – that’s their purpose. It remains the case that the people of the British isles are very closely related culturally, linguistically, genetically, financially, and legally. A referendum in England for the English to indicate whether they want the Union to continue would be worthwhile because significant numbers in the peripheral regions want independence. Maybe the English do too, you see. Why ever not? Are you too frightened? Or do you simply not want the English to have a say?

  12. oldtimer
    March 1, 2021

    I agree with your idea about not electing yet more politicians in another legislature, but using the one we have. The evidence before us from all the legislative assemblies demonstrates that while there are many very able MPs (or MSPs etc) it is also the case that many are unimpressive and appear to lack the elementary knowledge of what makes an economy tick. I watched most of the first segment of the evidence provided by Alex Salmond to a committee of the Scottish parliament on Friday. He came across as an extremely impressive witness in command of his subject – as was evident when he was an MP. The committee members asking him the questions did not impress – some appeared not to understand the reason they were there and strayed off topic. Being an MP (or MSP etc) is both a significant privilege and responsibility. We have too many already who are not up to the job.

    1. Fred.H
      March 1, 2021

      Salmond’s thrust was about failed leadership. I found myself reflecting on the Hof C.

  13. BW
    March 1, 2021

    So Scotland Have a devolved parliament, dysfunctional and expensive as it is and England gets a Cabinet Minister. The only way forward is to dissolve the devolved parliaments. They have done nothing for the good of the UK, or indeed their own countries. If this was a business it would be done tomorrow.

    1. Academicus
      March 1, 2021

      One can imagine the resistance to simply reversing devolution. However, Scotland can’t decide to leave, all on its own, it has been part of a larger nation for essentially all of modern history. So, how about a UK-wide referendum in which the choice is between offering secession from the Union (in practice, a second referendum in Scotland) or returning to the status quo ante? The latter ought to win, given that it worked magnificently for over three centuries and is full of promise for the future. But if it doesn’t, Scotland (which is really a region, not a country or a nation whatever the law says) would have a mandate to hold its own referendum. This would probably lead to a stay vote, but if not so be it.

    2. Hugh Clark
      March 1, 2021

      Fully agree.

    3. Lifelogic
      March 1, 2021

      +1 but not that easy thanks to Blair and Brown’s dire devolution settlement.

    4. Lifelogic
      March 1, 2021

      Perhaps the best way would be to break Scotland up into its regions with the UK parliament dealing directly with these small regions and slowly strangling the central dire Scottish Parliament to death. Rather like the EU and the Labour & Conservative Party tried to do with England but failed thank goodness.

  14. Norman
    March 1, 2021

    “I would prefer the UK to survive as my country, but do want a fairer deal and a better say for England within our devolution settlement.” I agree with your last sentence, Sir John. However, it is not the country I grew up in – the United Kingdom, full stop. We know the translucent glue that held us together, despite our differences: Cf. Ezra 3:12-13.

  15. Anthony
    March 1, 2021

    A simple speaking for England policy would be to teach children in English schools that they are English. In Scotland, children are taught they are Scottish. In Wales they are taught they are Welsh. In England they are taught they are British.

    At a time when so many people in the country are from other parts of the world, it is surely more important than ever that both adults and children are taught to consider that yes, they are British, but if they settle in or grow up in England, they are English.

    A good start would be to make it compulsory in English schools to teach how England was formed. There is lots for people of different political persuasions to get behind in this story. There is the basic story of resisting the Vikings; the story of persistence and self-belief as Alfred had to rebuild from nothing in the swamps near Athelney; the patient build up under Edward and Aethelflaed – an incredibly important woman in our history of whom no one has heard; the incredibly important influence of the Carolingians on Anglo-Saxon governance; and forming one English identity out of the Saxons, Celts and vikings who occupied in the country.

    It’s a great story yet barely anyone knows it. But a decent start would be on insisting that children in school should be taught they are English as well as British.

    1. NickC
      March 1, 2021

      Indeed, Anthony, England for the English. Just as Kenya is for the Kenyans, and Pakistan is for the Pakistanis.

  16. Narrow Shoulders
    March 1, 2021

    Thank you for your explanation Sir John. However as you represent your constituents it is a shame you felt the need for Speaking for England as a steapline. You and the other English MPs should be doing that as part of your job description. All your votes should be based on how they will affect your constituents, not on how they will affect others.

    Your post today suggests that national paririty in legislative matters has been kicked into the long grass which is a shame. But as part of levelling up you could reasonably campaign for Barnett to be scrapped. Then the devolved authorities would have to raise local taxes to pay for their initiatives while English money benefits England.

    The greatest injustice of devolution is taxation transferred to the devolved authorities without any representation or benefit for the English.

  17. Everhopeful
    March 1, 2021

    Just take away/get rid of the devolved parliaments.
    They were either a lazy solution to political pressure or the observance of an EU diktat.
    As anyone ( except a politician) might have foreseen they have been nothing but trouble.
    I thought that the whole idea of unity ( which I believe we have paid a great deal for?), was to keep enemies at bay…not to nurture them just across the borders.

    1. Everhopeful
      March 1, 2021

      Anyway. What does it matter any more?
      Remember vasto….vastare?
      That verb always conjured such a picture in my mind.
      And now we have it here…grâce à Johnson!

  18. Andy
    March 1, 2021

    There are 650 MPs in total. Well over 500 represent constituencies in England.

    There are just 59 Scottish constituencies. 40 in Wales and 18 in Northern Ireland. Just 20 of these non-England seats have Conservative MPs.

    If the 117 non-England MPs got together with every Labour MP (202) and all the Lib Dem and Greens (12 more) they would make up just 331 MPs.

    And they could still be easily outvoted by the Tory Little Englanders.

    The awkward fact is that the vast majority of the population does not vote for the Conservative English Nationalist Party. 58% of us rejected you at the last election. You have an oversized voice – disproportionate for the numbers that support you. You are kept powerful by an electoral system which favours you, which you control and which you change to act in your favour.

    How much better would our politics be if your voice was proportionate to your support – and everyone else’s was too.

    We would be hearing far more sensible ideas from Greens, moderate Labour MPs and Lib Dems. Instead we are hearing from the usual Brexit extremists now talking about banning bottled water from Europe and abolishing French lessons in schools.

    1. NickC
      March 1, 2021

      Andy, You’re not very good at arithmetic, are you? If your “just 331 MPs” figure is correct (it’s not), then 331 is more than half of the total of 650MPs. So they would easily outvote the “Tory Little Englanders” (331 vs 319). But the actual figure for English Tory MPs is 345 – so they would win, just not with the figures you claim. By the way, that raises another issue – why do you whinge so often about “Little Englanders”? Aren’t Little Scotlanders etc, even littler? With your logic(?) shouldn’t we talk about the Tiny Welsh?

  19. Bryan Harris
    March 1, 2021

    I agree – We do not want to spend more taxpayer money on more politicians, more bureaucracy and extra layers of government.

    We need to fix the problems created by devolution, of which there are far too many, fairness to England being but one.

    As regard extra layers of politicians, like police commissioners – They are a fatal mistake, and should be abolished, or like as happens in London they become a political tool.

  20. Sir Joe Soap
    March 1, 2021

    First offer an all-in all-out referendum to the Scots and Welsh. Their Parliaments are either sustained by them as independent nations or they go.
    Then do your Anglo-Asian trade deals with the US, Canzac etc. as a United Kingdom.

    Then offer the island of Ireland the deal of a referendum (must be for the whole island or not at all) on joining our trade area as one customs area or sticking with the EU, along with a sub-question for NI on unification.

  21. jerry
    March 1, 2021

    I agree there is no need for another parliament, instead EVEL needs to be revisited [1], or the devolution settlements adjusted. It is correct that non participant MPs be prevented from voting on legislation that falls within the scope of EVEL but it is totally wrong that -for example- an SNP MP can be on the floor of the HoC, with the ability to interrupt via bogus Points of Order etc. even if they can not formally speak. If it is acceptable for an SNP MP to act in such a way at Westminster then it must also be accepted that English MPs can go to Hollyrood and speak/disrupt their proceedings from the devolved parliaments floor! EVEL should in effect make the floor of the HoC an “English parliament” for the duration.

    I disagree there needs to be a “Minister for England”, it would be used as a wedge by the nationalists. I would approach the problem from the other direction, there needs to be a Minister of Devolution, their remit would be to ensure the survival of the UK, and fairness, within the current or future devolution settlements.

    [1] including its name, sorry, the pronunciation of the EVEL Acronym is just to damned close to EVIL…

    1. a-tracy
      March 2, 2021

      I agree, Jerry. Everything doesn’t have to be so divisive. England should only get EVEN. But I can’t think of an N… so EVER
      English Votes for England Rules or Regulations.

      reply I named it EVEN. English votes for English needs but govt refused to use that

      1. a-tracy
        March 2, 2021

        The Boris led government? Or May’s? Perhaps its time to change it.

        1. jerry
          March 3, 2021

          @a-tracy; Neither, EVEL came in during Cameron’s solo (2015-17) turn at trying to be PM…

  22. Everhopeful
    March 1, 2021

    How will the politicians make up for the years of our lives lost through all this?
    What will be the rate of interest for that which CAN NOT be repaid?

  23. ian@Barkham
    March 1, 2021

    Good morning Sir John
    Repeating and illustration I have used on this subject before

    Yorkshire(inc. Humberside) 5.48 million people 54 MPs
    Scotland 5.46 million people 59 MPs

    So Scotland gets more votes on English only maters than the larger(population wise) Yorkshire. A strange tilt on the meaning of democracy.

    Do we need an English Parliament – No!
    But the English regions should be able to get on with running more of their own areas. The UK Government should become the Government for the whole of the UK, not a glorified local council and not held hostage by individual parts of the UK. In other words the UK Parliament should create frameworks and coordinate internal UK affairs(Not actually get involved in the day-to-day doing) then get on with the proper job of the UK’s external affairs.

    1. ian@Barkham
      March 1, 2021

      – an illustration. Sorry to much predictive text

    2. anon
      March 2, 2021

      Regional policy is a tool for EU federalista.

      We need many more conclusive and robust decisions enacted to ensure we are more similar to the sovereigns of NZ and the US in order to gain equivalence from the EU for trading purposes. Obviously we are not different enough.

      The association treaty agreed is basically to enable the rump UK to re-enter the EU. Hence why the fishermen were sold out? and NI left in muddle.

      WTO was always the way to go. With a robust national economic policy to counter any EU headwinds and propel a trading outlook amongst friendly sovereign nations.

  24. Everhopeful
    March 1, 2021

    Has our dear govt. thought through the implications of an online sales tax?
    The small matter of collecting it for example?
    Maybe the govt. doesn’t really want a recovery?

  25. ian@Barkham
    March 1, 2021

    It might seem off topic,(it does relate) but is the EU a Country or is it a trading block. That question is prompted by the EU’s demand for both an Ambassador in the UK and expectation of equal standing at the Group of Seven (G-7), this is intended to be intergovernmental organization made up of the world’s largest developed economies.
    If its a trading block there are bigger in the World that don’t make the same demands and they wont be there. If it is a Country then why are two of its States(France & Germany) there? Does the UK seek to include the Scots, Welsh and NI?
    The point being as within the UK there is an imbalance in representation and voice. i.e. the USA has one voice the EU 3
    The Worlds so-called(and its only them that think it) Political Elite & Class bring all forms of Government, Law & Order, Democracy down and destroy the opportunity for better things for everyone. That’s the ego of someone thinking they know what’s best for others when they themselves are the problem.

  26. JoolsB
    March 1, 2021

    With respect John, and you are one of the few politicians in Parliament I have any respect for, I find it insulting when politicians say they are against equality for England, i.e. an English Parliament on grounds of cost. If that is the case, then dissolve the Scottish, Welsh & NI Assemblies. No doubt it is the English taxpayer paying the billions it costs to run them plus the expense of having 117 MPs travelling to Westminster to meddle and vote on what are becoming increasingly English only matters. (EVEL is a toothless meaningless sop which is an insult to every man, woman and child in England)

    I totally reject the idea that an English Parliament would cost more money, if anything it would save money. Why would we need anywhere near 650 UK MPs for a start and all the cost they entail with their salaries, expenses and pensions? Isn’t that the real reason they oppose an EP? The building is already there so no need to spend millions on new buildings as happened for the others. And finally 800+ cronies, political has beens etc. could be laid out to grass saving £320 a day each just for signing in.

    A politician wearing two hats will not work John. It is impossible for the same person to stand up for the UK one day and England the next. Currently 553 UK MPs with constituencies in England cannot even bring themselves to say the word England, let alone stand up for it. Why should we believe that would change?

    Rumour has it even Labour intend to appoint a Minister for England if they should form the next Government. Meanwhile the party that owes it’s very existence to England doesn’t even propose that. England took the UK out of Brexit because for the first time in their lives they we’re given a voice and were fed up of being ignored. Your party are making a big mistake John if they think they can get away with continuing to treat the English as second class citizens. The only net contributors to the UK coffers and yet the English get the least of the lot and not one of them gives a toss. The virus has shown the English what UK Governments of all colours have tried to hide, ie. they are treated differently. They watch the devolved nations making their own separate decisions when they alone have to abide by what the UK Government tells them. They watch MPs from outside of England voting on whether England should go into lockdown. They watch the pathetic excuse of a Government that charges their kids £9,250 a year when the rest of this so called union’s kids get them free or heavily subsidised by this Tory Government and they wonder why they alone have to pay for their medicine should they get sick or why when visiting cancer stricken members of their family they alone have to pay a fortune for the courtesy of doing so. They look on in amazement that our NHS staff after all they have done will not receive a pay rise when Sturgeon courtesy of the English has done so for the Scottish NHS and insulting they alone will see their parking charges double for the courtesy of parking at the hospital to attend their patients.

    The only fair and democratic answer is an English Parliament with dedicated MPs who will put England first instead of last every time. Unfortunately the current incumbents would not do that as we have already seen. The very least that should happen is the English are asked in the same way Scotland, Wales and NI have been asked more than once. England has never been asked because 650 self serving MPs might not like the answer. And we call ourselves a democracy.

    P.s. No doubt this will stay in moderation.

  27. BetterTimesAhead
    March 1, 2021

    “and drive through a levelling up economic agenda.”

    What does this mean Sir John?
    Is it the Great Reset, aka a left-wing desire to redistribute wealth?
    If so, then forget it.
    The voters never gave the Government a mandate to do that.

    If you mean levelling up within the UK and revisiting (abandoning) the unfair Barnett formula, then bravo Sir John!

  28. James
    March 1, 2021

    The one thing that was holding the UK together was our membership of the EU- no doubt about it- but now?

    1. NickC
      March 1, 2021

      James, You mean the UK was split apart before 1st Jan 1973? Well, I never!

    2. James Matthews
      March 2, 2021

      EU membership for the UK was second only to oil (in the days when using it was respectable) in underpinning the revival of Scottish nationalism. It lead the Scots to believe that if they departed the UK they would still be guaranteed a common market with England – the reason they signed up for the Union in the first place. Now that the UK is out, that guarantee has expired, though Westminster may be daft enough to offer another one

  29. ukretired123
    March 1, 2021

    I admire Sir John for just “Speaking for England” as for decades of has been unfashionable to say so. Agreed we don’t need another excuse for more layers of government and waste. However we do need a counterweight laws against extreme devolution elements as demonstrated by the asymmetric power of Scottish devolution.
    Running a country on PR by MSM as in Scotland’s case is ridiculous beyond parody when it has proved to have failed basic tests.

  30. Original Richard
    March 1, 2021

    In addition to a fairer devolution for England we also need a fairer distribution of UK MPs.

    I live in Kent, which if it had the same number of MPs per population as Wales, would have an additional 7 MPs an increase of 40%.

    We also need a reform of the HoL as this house is clearly totally unrepresentative of the UK population

    I have no objection to HoL members being nominated by UK political parties, rather than being directly elected, but the numbers each party can nominate should be proportional to the votes they received at the last GE and include those parties who fail to achieve an MP because of the FPTP system.

  31. William Long
    March 1, 2021

    Your doubt of the Prime Minister’s interest in constitutional reform for England, chimes with the impression I got that his recent hurried setting up of the ‘Cabinet Union Strategy Committee’ is far more about finding ways of placating the Scotch than dealing with the structure of the Union as a whole. But I am struggling to recall any instance of anyone, including the Prime minister, giving any cogent reason as to why the maintenance of the Union with Scotland is such a vital thing, appart from the fact that it has been in place for three hundred and fourteen years. I can see plenty of ways in which it is of benefit to the people of Scotland, but as far as the rest of us are concerned, the only major obvious positive is the strategic security advantage of controlling all the shores of our island.
    I hope you will use any means you can to persuade the Prime Minister that if he is going to address the Union with Scotland, he must include the interests of all the constituents of the UK, and in particular the need for a way to be found for English MPs to deal with English issues. I agree that your ‘Grand Committee’ solution is infinitely better than yet another enhanced local council, and it makes me wonder why this solution was not used for Wales and Scotland too.

  32. Nig l
    March 1, 2021

    Off topic but related to yesterday. A must read article in Conservative Women shredding Boris’s approach, giving us one of the most illiberal lockdowns in the world, not particularly any better at saving lives etc than other freer countries whilst spending or rather wasting unnecessarily massive amounts of our cash.

    The Chancellor should say as a prelude to his budget ‘we have wasted a massive amount of your money and now you have to give us some more (to waste!)

    Of course he won’t but we know the reality.

  33. glen cullen
    March 1, 2021

    Brexit – only half achieved
    Immigration – not achieved
    Devolution – a complete and utter mess

    We need an equal and mutual devolution settlement for each of the four nations – what we currently have is a hopscotch of ideas, laws and party politics

    Rip up current arrangements and start again

    1. Fred.H
      March 1, 2021

      and quoting Salmond: Leadership – Failed.

  34. Original Richard
    March 1, 2021

    For democracy to survive all elections/referendums require both the losers’ consent and for them to know for certain that they have lost.

    In the case of the Brexit referendum the losers’ certainly didn’t give their consent and tried undemocratically to overturn the referendum result.

    But fortunately, despite many efforts, they could not prove that the result was incorrect.

    This is why it is absolutely imperative that all our elections/referendums are run with the elimination of any possibilities of fraudulent voting no matter how small and insignificant may be the appearance of some frauds or how inconvenient or expensive to implement the preventative measures.

    Only those who do not believe in democracy will be against the complete elimination of any and all possibilities of fraud.

  35. Denis Cooper
    March 1, 2021

    Well, JR, here is somebody in Devon purporting to speak for England instead of you:

    “English people have no empathy with people on the Northern Ireland side of Irish Sea”

    “That the United Kingdom is perfectly happy to retain the Northern Ireland Protocol should not come as a major shock to anyone.

    After 37 years living in England it has long ago become abundantly clear that people here have absolutely no affinity or empathy with those of you across the Irish Sea.

    The resurgence of English nationalism has been accompanied with a resentment at what they perceive as subsidising the other three nations with generous subventions.

    My self respect would not allow me to force my company where it wasn’t wanted.

    Unionists have three options … ”

    This will come to a head if the Supreme Court agrees that the Northern Ireland protocol is unconstitutional and Boris Johnson then introduces a short Bill to expressly legitimise it notwithstanding any provisions of the 1800 Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland.

    Like the short Bill that Theresa My had to introduce because the EU referendum Act promoted by David Cameron had somehow neglected to say what should happen if he lost the vote.

    How would the Tory MPs vote then?

    Would they vote to break up the United Kingdom deliberately, rather than accidentally?

    reply I Would not vote for the NI protocol.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 1, 2021

      Meanwhile, the EU says “Jump” and the UK asks “How high?”


      “The European Commission has been reassured by the UK that checks and controls on GB imports at temporary Border Control Posts (BCPs) at ports in Northern Ireland ports will continue … ”

      Those will be among the checks and controls that Boris Johnson said would only exist over his dead body.

  36. Mike Wilson
    March 1, 2021

    A rebuilding of Hadrian’s wall (in the correct position) would be a much better use of taxpayers’ money than HS2.

    Is the government making any plans to replace Faslane with an English base for our nuclear submarines?

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      March 1, 2021

      Mike, I think anything important to England should be removed from Scotland now. We shouldn’t wait for independence in Scotland. Just get things out now.

  37. agricola
    March 1, 2021

    The problem with devolved areas of England are manifold. They aquire so much numerical and financial clout that they dominate. They naturally work for their own self interest wheras central government control, properly conducted, should be a balance in everyones interest. They have the ingredients to be predominantly socialist, so though one may have the overall votes in a national sense, they are too dispersed to balance powerful metropolitan areas. Metropolitan Brittain may have powerful voices, but the largely rural areas of Devon & Cornwall, East Anglia, and the Lake District still exist on local MPs, District, Town, and Village Councils. Much less clout than Andy Burnham’s Greater Manchester or Mr. Rose’s West Midlands. Given an equitable national government in Westminster I conclude that devolution is over rated if you have the UK as a whole in mind. That the EU saw it as a tool to divide and conquer makes it highly suspect.

    It should be sufficient for the MPs of the West Midlands to realise they need an integrated transport system and bring it about. You do not need the burden of a devolved government to realise it. Perhaps you first need MPs that represent people rather than political parties.

  38. Frank
    March 1, 2021

    A devolved English Parliament wouldn’t necessarily mean more politicians. They would be taking work away from the UK Parliament so the UK Parliament could be slimmed down. If we had, say, 200 members of the English Parliament and, say, 300 members of the UK Parliament that would mean fewer politicians. Fewer politicians is a good thing and something we should aspire to.

  39. Iain Gill
    March 1, 2021

    Tony Blair is claiming that he is working for the government? why is nobody in the government contradicting this nonsense? Makes a mockery of democracy if he is indeed in a senior position of power.

  40. a-tracy
    March 1, 2021

    John, what do you want this government to change for England this year?

    Wouldn’t it be the case that you could get the most popular decisions through for England should your side collectively want to?

    The big issues like England only student tuition fees – well what do you do with the people who are currently or due to pay their 9% graduate tax or have paid off their student loans, do they get debt cancellation. It is unfair that in our Union some never have to pay their graduate tax even when working in England – could that 9% graduate tax be levelled up if they take a job in England to match their compatriots? Or even this graduate tax removed if they manage to get a job in the devolved regions?

    Could we have the same Sunday opening times that they have already granted in Scotland?

  41. acorn
    March 1, 2021

    Boris made himself Minister for the Union with no responsibilities and a £10 million budget. There is now a call for a Cabinet level person to big-up the Union and the UK internal market. Hence phrases like “Speaking for England” are being dropped ’till the other side of the Scottish elections.

  42. James Matthews
    March 1, 2021

    Disappointing, but not entirely a surprise and at least honest. Many of us who are English nationalists by default would, everything else being equal, be happy for the Union to survive. The problem is that everything else is far from equal and there is now no realistic prospect that, within the Union, it ever will be. I wonder, when, as seems inevitable, this government starts conceding further powers to Scotland and Wales without addressing the constitutional consequences for England, will our host maintain his position? I hope not, but fear he will.

    I recall that a considerable time ago, I think before he became London Mayor, our Prime Minister wrote an article in the Spectator (sorry, I can’t now find it but subscribers may be able to) accepting that asymmetric devolution was unfair to England and should be reformed. Yes, Brexit and Covid 19 are enough for any government to be getting on with. That may be a reason for putting the issue further down the agenda, but not for dropping. Just another example of a politician discarding temporary clothing when it is no longer convenient?

  43. Christine
    March 1, 2021

    The more power you give to the devolved governments and city mayors the more our English towns and villages lose out. Why should we subsidise all the facilities that the cities get like free public transport, the arts, public buildings, parklands etc.? You have given Khan the right to tear down our history and we have no say in it but it is us and our ancestors, not his, who paid for it in the first place. The more power you give to these tin-pot dictators the more insular and divisive they become.

    If you argue that English MPs should cover the work done by the devolved parliaments then equally you should argue that the other parts of the UK have fewer MPs as they haven’t as much work to do.

    What a mess politicians have made of our country. We want less government, not more. We want lower taxes and less public spending. Cut the number of MPs and certainly cut the number of those sitting in the House of Lords which has become its own gravy train driven by Boris and his chums.

  44. The Prangwizard
    March 1, 2021

    I’m going break with convention and good manners as defined by some, – and not for the first time – and claim this as my ‘I told you so’ moment. Sir John has been a fake, a fake Englishman. His slogan ‘speaking for England’ was false. He spoke about it, but not for it.

    His Union always came first, England often last, as he would never insist or campaign that England came first in anything – in conflicts he would fall back and keep his head below the parapet.

    No Tory (Unionist) can be considered a true Englishman or Englishwoman.

  45. beresford
    March 1, 2021

    Just watched Boris on Sky News answering a question on the number of migrants crossing the Channel. He launched into the usual stuff about the ‘wicked’ traffickers without mentioning the culpability of the migrants themselves. If I seek out a criminal and pay him to assist me in a criminal act, am I a victim? What this has to do with ‘Speaking for England’ is that English people are ignored as the Government proceeds with the UN’s agenda of altering the demography of white-majority countries. We can only assume that this is to destroy national identities and enable the ‘Great Reset’ to be imposed.

  46. Alexander Woodward
    March 1, 2021

    An English Parliament need not create extra politicians and expense as the westminster parliament can be downsized accordingly if it’s remit is purely ‘federal’ issues such as defence, foreign policy.

    An English parliament based somewhere central outside a major city (Doncaster?) would save considerable sums as well as help ‘level up’ parts of the country outside of London.

    The other advantage of this is that it would be much more transparent to the other countries which elements were at the Federal level and which were not.

    There’s no reason why an English FM could not be directly elected…

  47. Newmania
    March 1, 2021

    When the last choice we got was between a Nationalist wrecking crew and Jeremy Corbyn it could not be clearer that the whole rotting edifice does not work . The UK`s constitution only took its modern form in the early 20th century. It is not ancient in any useful sense and operates as closed shop in which triangulation is the key tactic.
    FPTP has some advantages but our extreme unreformed fossil democracy has too many disadvantages . The question of an English Parliament, and fair representation, should be part of a radical reform of the system including the additional of some proportionality and the position of the Lords .
    We cannot go on being dictated to by ‘safe seat ‘ sinecure holders .One might be more disposed to believe Brexit was really about democratic accountability if we had any

  48. London Nick
    March 1, 2021

    Sir John: time is a limited resource. Time spent on one matter is not available to spend on another. As a Unionist you should therefore be devoting your energies to those parts and those citizens of the Union that most need your help. At the moment, that is NOT England. The region most in need of your help is Northern Ireland, which has been betrayed by YOUR party and YOUR prime minister, and as a result of the failure to deliver a genuine Brexit, which YOU campaigned for. You therefore have a moral DUTY to get the NI Protocol scrapped so that all movement of people, animals and goods between GB and NI is COMPLETELY unfettered, and that movement from London to Belfast has no more checks than from London to Birmingham.

    And secondly, you have a DUTY to help all the fishermen of the UK, who, once again, have been stabbed in the back by YOUR party and YOUR prime minister in the Brexit sell-out to the EU. If you can resolve those two problems then you will have helped your country and your countrymen much more than by fretting over some minor constitutional issue which would, in fact, be best resolved not by increasing devolution to one part of the country (England) – and thus creating more division – but by ROLLING BACK devolution from the other parts of the country (Scotland, Wales and NI). We are ONE country – let’s think like it and act like it.

    reply Of course I am concentrating on the NI and fish issues

    1. glen cullen
      March 1, 2021

      From the date of referendum it will be 10 years until we can instruct the French to stop fishing in our waters…and that’s only if the government of the day has the will

    2. NickC
      March 1, 2021

      London Nick, Very well said. both Northern Ireland and UK fishermen have been betrayed.

  49. Remington Norman
    March 1, 2021


    A good start would be to recruit some competence into the current ministerial team. At present goverment is managed (or more often than not mismanaged) by ministers who are no better than low-grade social workers.
    We deserve better.

  50. Original Richard
    March 1, 2021

    A major reason why devolution has not worked for Scotland was that it produced a government/leader who was not interested in working for the best interests of Scotland but solely on disrupting the governance of the UK wherever possible and winding up anti-English sentiment in order to promote separation from England.

    1. rose
      March 1, 2021

      The other reason it did not work was that it replicated Westminster government at Holyrood instead of bringing about true devolution. The same mistake was made in Cardiff.

  51. kb
    March 1, 2021

    What is the job of this new cabinet minister though?
    The only things I can think of are, (1) making sure that England’s subsidy of Scotland and the others is given due publicity at every opportunity;
    and (2) perhaps he or she could sponsor new legislation, setting out how the national debt will be apportioned should any member leave?
    Both of these are very worthwhile tasks for someone but they are rather limited.

  52. ChrisS
    March 1, 2021

    I do understand that Boris has other things to attend to, other than speaking up for England. In fact, I always thought that dealing with Brexit alone would have been enough to put the English Democratic deficit on the back burner. However, we are playing a long game and do think it was extremely disappointing that you have dropped “Speaking for England” from this website.

    As others have said, The attitude of the Scots and changes in NI demographics might give us the English Parliament we all want to see, albeit with 40 Welsh MPs, 14 of which are Conservative and only 4 are Welsh Nationalists.
    However, it would be dangerous to drop the idea of an English Parliament because the Scots, if they have any financial common sense at all, will again reject independence. We therefore do need a plan to move to a more democratic solution for England.

    This must not include “Balkanisation”, dividing England into regions roughly the size of Scotland.
    England is one Country and must remain so. English devolution will cause exactly the same kind of problems we have seen with Scotland and is unnecessary as long as the Conservatives follow through with their “Levelling Up” agenda.

  53. John McDonald
    March 1, 2021

    Dear Sir John, you can’t say another layer of Government. The layer already exists by virtue of the devolved parliaments. The issue is that we may actually reduce the number of persons siting in parliaments with an English Parliament.
    The UK has one Parliament or devolved Parliaments otherwise grossly undemocratic . I don’t want the SNP having any influence on England.
    What you described as currently protects English ( by this I mean the people who live in England ) interests is just a fudge.
    In a way you are supporting the same thinking as Remain in regard to Brexit. Scotland , NI and Wales can leave Westminster but England must remain. Until England has its own Parliament, The Scots, Welsh and Irish will see Westminster as the English in charge but under the cloak of Westminster. The British are an independent lot and don’t like to be governed by a body miles away from them with no idea /clue of what is important to them in their local part of the British Isles.
    The SNP may have done nothing good for the Scots as well as the rest of us. But to imply that the Scots, Welsh and Irish have done nothing good for England by virtue of devolved parliaments is harsh. Oil, fish, and other cultural influences can’t be priced.
    Not withstanding the EU has governed the UK for the past 40 years. It’s now time for Westminster to take over on the international level. To make up for lost time and experience it should not be distracted by purely in-country English matters.
    If you add up the number of MEP’s we had and Westminster MP’s you could form another UK parliament with out an increase in head count. Those ex-MEP’s and MP’s not in the UK parliament would have larger constituencies. They could handle this as the burden of international responsibilities would be removed. There is no real problem if there was the will on the part of all Westminster MPs to be truly Democratic. Which in the end is what Britain stands for.

    1. Fred.H
      March 1, 2021

      ‘….all Westminster MPs to be truly Democratic. Which in the end is what Britain stands for.’
      Excuse me laughing. What a quaint idea.

  54. Mactheknife
    March 1, 2021

    As a Scot living in England for 50 years I’ve always said that Blair’s devolution was a huge mistake for Scotland and the Union. The powers given over to the Scottish parliament are skewed in one direction and are constantly abused. Whilst we continue to support this hegemony with cash they will do everything in their power to disrupt the union. Stugeon’s behavior during the pandemic has been pathetic.

    Its high time someone spoke up for England and if the likes of you Sir John are no longer willing to do it then who ?

  55. London Nick
    March 1, 2021

    Perhaps you don’t realise, Sir john, but although “Speaking for England” does not appear on your webpage, this is still part of the coding and therefore it DOES appear on the tab and at the top of the page on the computer.

  56. Paul Cuthbertson
    March 1, 2021

    Until Blair and the EU forced devolution upon us no one “appeared’ to have a problem.

  57. The Prangwizard
    March 1, 2021

    Here’s something practical to address.

    Search Library of Scotland which is found directly, to learn about Scotland and the Scots. Search Library of England and you get the British Library.

    Another example of the invisibilty of England. Do you think that fair?

  58. acorn
    March 1, 2021

    BTW. Those looking forward to the budget should have a look at “Public sector current receipts: Appendix D.”
    https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/economy/governmentpublicsectorandtaxes/publicsectorfinance/datasets/appendixdpublicsectorcurrentreceipts/current/datdataset4appendixdfinal.xls Click “Table” in the index.

    1. a-tracy
      March 2, 2021

      acorn, so have I calculated correctly that public finance receipts are about £42 billion down? About 6.5%? Which is amazing really isn’t it after a year of close-downs.

  59. Guy Liardet
    March 1, 2021

    Dear John. Now that the COVID emergency is over, we face another. The Climate Crisis. Please get Lord Gummer to agree that it should be tackled in a similar manner: viz weekly press briefings and plans and costings put to the public. With proper scientific support

    1. NickC
      March 1, 2021

      Guy, There is no “climate crisis”.

      1. glen cullen
        March 2, 2021


  60. acorn
    March 1, 2021

    BTW. Those looking forward to the budget should have a look at “Public sector current receipts: Appendix D.”
    https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/economy/governmentpublicsectorandtaxes/publicsectorfinance/datasets/appendixdpublicsectorcurrentreceipts/current/datdataset4appendixdfinal.xls Click “Table” in the index. You can see the hit receipts have taken on fuel duties, business rates and stamp duty land tax for instance.

    Also, in answer to a specific question asked elsewhere. To do away with Business Rates and charge Council Tax on residential and commercial property to the same rules; Council Tax would have to increase in aggregate across all property, from an average of 0.58% of current property prices to 0.9%. Business Rates are currently 3.0% of Commercial Property prices, down from 4+% a decade back.

  61. glen cullen
    March 1, 2021

    House of Commons today – Vauxhall Ellesmere Port question

    Every MP appears to be convinced that the plant will either go green / electric or fold

    Not one MP has debated alternatives e.g efuel or just maintaining the internal combustion engine

    MPs running scared of not being or appearing to be green

    Am I mistaken or is there more than one Green Party MP

    1. Fred.H
      March 2, 2021

      the important one currently lives in Downing St.

  62. DavidJ
    March 1, 2021

    All good points but what is needed first is to reverse Blair’s disastrous devolution and return to a truly United Kingdom with the same laws for all.

  63. hefner
    March 1, 2021

    ‘His mother told him someday you will be a man
    And you will be the leader of a big old band
    Many people coming from miles around
    To hear you play your music when the sun go down
    Maybe someday your name will be in light
    Saying Rishi you’re so good tonight.
    Oh go, go Rishi go
    Go Rishi go go
    Go Rishi go go
    Rishi you’re good’

    With apologies to Chuck

    1. Fred.H
      March 1, 2021

      an alternative:
      The best things in life are free
      But you can keep them for the birds and bees
      Now give me money, (That’s what I want)
      That’s what I want
      (That’s what I want)
      That’s what I want, (That’s what I want), yeah
      (That’s what I want)
      You’re lovin’ gives me a thrill
      But you’re lovin’ don’t pay my bills.

      And ain’t that the truth – written by Janie Bradford and Berry Gordy.

  64. rose
    March 1, 2021

    The difficulty with the English question is that the powers that be would never let England remain whole. She must be broken up into regions in their eyes, otherwise it is not fair. That is why nothing is done, decade after decade. We must be thankful for Cummings’s crusade against the NE being hived off. It stopped the rest of us being balkanised, for the time being. But as soon as the question is taken up again, the dissolution of England into regions, as planned by the EU, will be resurrected.

    The only solution is to repeal the Blair devolution legislation. God only knows how that can be done. And the Belfast Agreement and NI Protocol must go. Ulster cannot be governed like that.

  65. forthurst
    March 1, 2021

    Joseph Chamberlain opposed Irish Home Rule because he could see where it would inevitably lead. We are now in the corresponding phase with Scotland, in which Scottish MPs are no longer interested in the preservation of the Union but are willing to be obstructive in matters affecting England. It is time call the Scots’ bluff. Either they agree to the abolition of their parliament or they leave the Union lock, stock and barrel.

    In the bad old days, local matters, Local Government, Transport, Health and Education were decided at county level and in effect, there would have been nothing to decide a country level. Since then there have been continually efforts to destroy peoples’ local identities and loyalties by continually rearranging the administrative map and central government has snatched most powers to itself, making bad decisions that affect all equally and creating huge bureaucracies (quangoes) that are unaccountable to anyone and where most bad decisions are made. Were it not for the replacement of the Liberal Party by Bolshevism rebranded as Labour, one might call for a return to the status quo ante. However, there needs to be more accountability at local level, because the one-size-fits-all plays into the hands of people who wish to create administrations at country level.

  66. Will in Hampshire
    March 1, 2021

    It’s interesting that no-one in the comments so far today has mentioned the physical geography of these islands. Scotland complements England for defence and energy purposes: the deep waters of the lochs are better than anything else for managing submarines; the northern coasts & islands allow air defence aircraft to roam far and wide in the North Sea and North Atlantic; the extensive waters offer huge possibilities for more offshore wind.

    All of these things are useful for England. It seems worthwhile to do a deal to keep them.

    1. James Matthews
      March 2, 2021

      We did a deal in 1707. Our leaders paid a reasonable price. We did another deal in 1997/8. Our leaders paid a grossly excessive price.In 2014/15 our leader, David Cameron, (needlessly) supplemented that price. There is now every sign that our current leaders are preparing for another attempt to buy off the Scots at our expense. It is time to walk away.

  67. Lindsay McDougall
    March 1, 2021

    I speak, or rather write, for the United Kingdom, not England. I would prefer to reduce the power of the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland than do any more tinkering for England.
    Devolution has been a disaster for the United Kingdom.

  68. David Brown
    March 2, 2021

    I want to see the end of the UK.
    I want to see more devolved powers and an extension of Mayors with significantly more powers.
    Overall a Federal system is more preferential.

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