Speaking for England at party conference

Today I take my Speak for England campaign to Birmingham.

Mr Hague, acting for Mr Cameron, knows most Conservative MPs want him to find a way of delivering English votes for English issues this Parliament.

I have been overwhelmed by emails and messages of support, with very few against. The small number who disagree seek to pursue the joint Labour line of delay and splitting England into regions. The fact that Scotland is about to get the power to settle its own Income tax shows that we cannot delay justice for England beyond the changes for Scotland, and reminds us that we need an answer for the whole of England. Surely even Labour do not want different Income tax rates in Manchester from Leeds.

We have made clear in the discussions and consultations so far that we regard the Mackay proposals as completely unsatisfactory. Mr Hague started with some sympathy for this poor compromise, but now understands that most Conservative MPs including Mr Cameron do not think this is nearly good enough. This would only have given English MPs the sole right to sit on English Bill committees, leaving the full Commons the tasks of 2nd and 3rd Reading and Report stage and all the main votes. In other words it would not give English MPs control of their own affairs where these are devolved elsewhere in the UK.

We have made clear to Mr Hague that we want him to find out quickly if Mr Clegg will support a government motion to amend Standing Orders. Mr Cash has drafted a good motion, but it needs to include Northern Ireland and Wales appropriately to ensure that MPs only vote on issues which affect their part of the UK and not on issues where their part of the UK is exempted from the UK Parliament’s writ by virtue of devolved powers. I have suggested a tweak to Mr Cash’s motion to achieve this.

If Mr Clegg agrees we can do it quite soon after Parliament returns.

If Mr Clegg does not agree, then we wish the Conservative leadership to help us table a motion which despite not being a government or official opposition motion the Commons has to consider. The fact that all Conservative MPs would wish to vote for it and would be whipped to vote for it should help secure it a place in the Parliamentary timetable. It would be a travesty of Parliamentary procedure if there was no route to allow 305 MPs to debate and vote on a matter of such importance, and we think there is a route to allow us to do so. We may have a majority in such a vote, as it is quite likely some Nationalists and Labour MPs will abstain or vote with us.

Once we have established the procedure for English votes, it will be clear that Ministers handling business which is devolved elsewhere in the UK will need to have a majority of English MPs in support of their proposals. This may entail Ministers in English departments of a different party from the government of the UK, who would not have to be in the UK government, in those rare elections which produce a different majority in England from the UK.

I cannot understand why people think this would create two classes of MP. We currently have four classes of MP, with Scottish MPs the most wide ranging and powerful, and English MPs the least. A Scottish MP can vote on all English matters, and an English MP can vote on no devolved Scottish matter. We need to address that unfairness at the heart of Labour’s one sided devolution.


  1. stred
    September 29, 2014

    Good luck. This is absolutely right. However, all the signs are that Millipede and Clogg will try to delay until the election, while fulfilling the promises made during the Scottish referendum by Gordon brown and his collaborators, at English taxpayer’s cost. The excuse will be that the English regions are crying out for representation, although the only demands are coming from regional politicians, seeing the opportunity for more numbers and expenses.

    That Scottish and Welsh Labour MPs will obstruct is disgraceful. Cameron’ The Bendy Nose’ (see What’s in a Name), has sniffed the direction of the wind and sees electoral advantage in going along with the idea and embarrassing his Political Class competition.

  2. matthu
    September 29, 2014

    Damian Green MP on ConservativeHome: “We Conservatives must make the Conservative case for our membership. We must not allow the distorted view that pro-European Conservatives are a tiny minority to go unchallenged. Because it’s false, it’s damaging to the Party, and it’s put about by those who know it’s false, but who hope to make it come true by repeating it as often as possible.

    “The vast majority of the party, inside and outside Parliament, agree that Europe needs reform. We want David Cameron to succeed in his negotiations after the election and lead the campaign to keep us in, and to put this question to bed for at least another generation.”

    It would seem John Redwood stands corrected.

    1. Timaction
      September 30, 2014

      The EU is and always has been a political project for the creation of a European state by incremental stealthy treaty. Countries do NOT have to be a member to trade with it. Ask China, Japan, USA, Korea etc. etc. The latest direct annual costs are in the region of £10 billion net for foreign infrastructure and farmers and it is estimated that £185 billion is the annual costs of its regulations, and associated on costs on businesses and people e.g. Paying our people to receive unemployment related benefits whilst foreign workers take up low paid and unskilled jobs. £5 billion in working tax credits to foreign workers proves the point that it is NOT highly qualified workers! The common fisheries and agriculture policies costs the British people billions.
      Mass migration causes overcrowding and waiting lists in our health services as well as building on the greenbelt to accommodate them. 100,000’s of school places required for foreign children. The legacy parties avoid all these unpalatable truths.
      It’s good that Damien Green and the rest of his quisling colleagues remind us why we need to remove him and the rest from Westminster where he nods through the unelected dictatorship’s laws and directives, whilst receiving the British peoples money for his wages. etc ed

  3. Leslie Singleton
    September 29, 2014

    Labour say there is no quick fix and maybe they are right in the sense that there is no perfect quick fix; but there is no long term, perfect or otherwise, fix either, given that the four participants are of such different sizes and few want a federation on any basis. What must be done is “what lies clearly at hand” because we cannot “see dimly at a distance” as has been said. It is essential to emphasize that we are only talking devolved matters and even then those aspects that only relate to England. The Labour party is up a gum tree without a paddle on this.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 30, 2014

      I would dispute your claim “few want a federation on any basis”. I would say that relatively few have yet given the matter any serious thought let alone started to explicitly use the term “federation”, but even so there is now a substantial body of opinion in England tending in the direction of giving the English what the Scots have had for the past fifteen years, and that would be a federal solution.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        September 30, 2014

        Denis–If you are right I can only say that I have seen very little evidence of it

        1. Denis Cooper
          September 30, 2014

          Opinion polls.

        2. Denis Cooper
          September 30, 2014

          A survey was mentioned on the BBC News recently, I can’t remember the exact percentage but over half of those asked in England wanted it to have its own Parliament.

          There are some older polls here:


          1. Leslie Singleton
            September 30, 2014

            Denis–“English Parliament” has a noxious whiff of Motherhood about it and I did not use those words. I have not followed these Polls but I would guess with a fair degree of confidence that “Federal Solution” would evince a different response. I suspect you agree with this, which is maybe why you subtly changed the subject. In my survey of one (myself) I find I am unable to fathom what is wrong with EVEL. I want minimum change, being a proper old fashioned Conservative. Besides I find full parliaments for Wales and Northern Island a bit ridiculous.

          2. Denis Cooper
            October 1, 2014

            1. I’m pretty disgusted you should say “English Parliament” has any kind of “noxious whiff” about it.

            2. If anybody wants a fourth separate devolved Parliament and government within the UK, the devolved institutions for England which are missing from the current arrangements, then whether or not they understand the word “federation” that is what they are asking for, and perfectly reasonably as well given that we are already part way to a federal system for the UK and cannot now go back on that.

            3. I also prefer minimum change, provided that it works.

            4. If JR could have brought himself to publish my comments which are still in moderation then you would perhaps have seen that there are major problems with his proposals.

  4. Richard1
    September 29, 2014

    I think fair minded people in Scotland will recognize there needs to be justice for England in these devolution arrangements also. Therefore its entirely reasonable to tie measures allowing English MPs to speak for England to the new devolution powers for Scotland. If the Labour Party block justice for England, then they will carry the responsibility for breaching the ‘vow’ of more powers for Scotland.

  5. Elliot Kane
    September 29, 2014

    Absolutely right, John. Well said!

  6. Sandra Cox
    September 29, 2014

    John, disappointed to hear there might be a problem getting even a smidgen of democracy for England through the Mother of Parliaments.

    As you are currently rubbing shoulders with William Hague, I wonder if you would be able to put a few questions to him (I tried several times to post on his interview with the Sunday Telegraph but the comments section was not responding):

    Mr Hague, in the past I put trust in you and voted for the Conservative Party because you led it – in opposition you had ideas I could relate to. However, since coming into government, along with David Cameron, I am disappointed that you appear to have put the interests of the EU ahead of those of the UK.

    As you now have responsibility for looking into the long-standing democracy deficit in England, can you:

    1) Please deny or confirm the rumour that David Laws recalls that in the coalition negotiations, the Conservative team opened by dropping English laws/MPs proposal without any concession, to the astonishment of the LibDem team.

    Scotland has enjoyed devolution since 1997, and you recently said that you have been talking about English Votes for English Laws for the past 15 years so why, as an opening gambit did you not insist this was non negotiable. It appears you felt it worth sacrificing England to get the LibDems aboard. Unfortunately, your government now finds itself wondering how to bring them on board again to get through a “Devo Minimum” solution for England in order to get through Devo Max for Scotland.

    2) Please tell me why you are, at the behest of the EU, so keen to break England into regions. Is the government attempting a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy that would make us even more vulnerable to EU manipulation?

    3) Please explain why you think the English should accept anything less than what has been, or will be granted to Scotland?

    Mr Hague, until I receive satisfactory answers to the above questions, I have to believe that you and your government are conspiring with the EU and others to deny the English democracy and justice. Yes, the same “justice and democracy” that David Cameron (in his UN speech), says he wants to export to the Middle East.

    Reply Mr Hague did not handle the coalition negotiations

  7. Alte Fritz
    September 29, 2014

    This all just seems unanswerable.

    Voters proved convincingly that English regional government was unwanted. Since the Scots will, for good or for ill, have ‘devo max’, just what is the problem in fairness for England? Is it that obscure a notion?

  8. David Price
    September 29, 2014

    Has time been made available in the conference agenda to widen the debate on the English question?

    Cameron needs to clearly disband his inner circle and start listening to those outside his comfort zone of the metropolitan elite. Consulting and working with a wider inclusive group on the issue of English parliament would be a good start.

    There also needs to be a clear demonstration of support and intent on this matter to the country as a whole.

  9. Christian
    September 29, 2014

    Excellent. Keep up the good work and good luck.

  10. Lifelogic
    September 29, 2014

    Indeed who could object to this other than Labour (and the Libdems) just for pure political & unfair advantage?
    But Cameron is hardly leading the charge his interview with Marr yesterday which was pathetically wet & vacuous (on both sides).

    Just now on Radio 4, Owen Patterson said Cameron was being very canny in not giving a shopping list (for the EU powers he wants back). Quite the reverse as I see it. Worse still he does not want even to try to negotiate selective EU immigration. It is the lack of a good list of demands, a positive low tax vision and the refusal to say we will leave the EU without these. That surely is the clear problem with electorate. The modernising drivel has not worked it lost the last election and looks like loosing this one.

    Cheap energy, lower simpler taxes, less regulation, efficient but smaller government, selective immigration, a free trade only EU – what on earth is not to like. A positive vision that would clearly deliver real growth, real jobs and prosperity.

    We shall see what the people think in the, so far two by-elections.

  11. Tyke
    September 29, 2014

    Please don’t leave a job half done. It is only with an English Parliament that England can be firewalled from future governments who will want to divide the nation into smaller parts for political gain.
    Do not let that happen. Please.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 30, 2014


  12. Sandra Cox
    September 29, 2014

    John, I do apologise for omitting to thank you in my earlier post, before going off into a rant.

    I’d like to think this can all be done in a calm and collected manner, but the frustration and anger seems to be bubbling under the surface!

    Please be assured, despite any comments to the contrary, the enormous effort you are putting into this process is greatly appreciated.

  13. Margaret Brandreth-J
    September 29, 2014

    Let us hope that Mr Clegg does agree.
    The piece this morning looks like a parody on Dickens with’ Mr Cash’ and ‘standing orders ‘ featuring.

    I agree let us at least keep the power we have . We have become fragmented as it is and any further regionalisation would in effect mean satellite parliaments doing their own thing and local despots making life uncomfortable for non compliance to their wishes.

  14. Old Albion
    September 29, 2014

    Spot on again JR, particularly the comment on ‘two classes’ of MP. Good luck.

  15. Lifelogic
    September 29, 2014

    Osborne, just now (on Radio 4) again foolishly ruling out saying the Tories will lead the country out of the EU – should we not get a good deal. Clearly will not get a good deal, Cameron is not even asking for a good deal!

    He also says Cameron held a referendum in Scotland against the advice of many and the march for separatism has been reversed. I rather doubt that too, held back slightly perhaps.

    Not to mention that we are now likely to get 16 year old’s voting in the whole of the UK thanks to that foolish decision.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 30, 2014

      Cameron did not hold a referendum in Scotland, Salmond held the referendum by special permission from the UK Parliament at Cameron’s urging.

      Whereas the Catalan President intends to hold a referendum without permission being granted by the Spanish authorities:


      Except that he’s pretending that it isn’t a referendum, it’s a “non-referendum consultation” – the same kind of argument that Salmond was developing before the UK authorities decided to give in and let him have his referendum.

  16. mickc
    September 29, 2014

    Cameron has no intention whatsoever of allowing your proposals to succeed.

    They will be delayed and delayed……and then dropped.

    1. Independent England
      September 30, 2014

      Just as Mr Cameron will be dropped by English voters at the next general election if he fails to deliver on his 2010 manifesto committment to resolve the West Lothian Question.

  17. Brian Tomkinson
    September 29, 2014

    JR: “Mr Hague (acting for Mr Cameron), started with some sympathy for this poor compromise, but now understands that most Conservative MPs including Mr Cameron do not think this is nearly good enough.”
    As I previously posted, without continuing pressure Cameron will not deliver. His appointment of Hague (about to retire from Parliament) to deal with this was a worrying sign. Without your pressure and that of your colleagues it seems clear that Cameron would not be on your side but that of the man he deliberately chose to act on his behalf. How sincere is he? I note that you are speaking at a fringe meeting. Does this ‘Speak for England’ campaign not warrant a session at the main conference? If not, you need to be worried as, yet again, you may be being strung along by Cameron as he has done for the last four and a half years..

  18. oldtimer
    September 29, 2014

    Agreed. This issue needs to be pursued with vigour as soon as Parliament returns from the recess.

  19. agricola
    September 29, 2014

    Go for it whatever the odds on success, we the people wish to see where our representatives stand on the subject of English votes for English business. If Clegg is against it, then it will only add to the litany of subjects that he puts first, on behalf of a very illiberal and undemocratic rabble, whose days are numbered.

  20. Iain Moore
    September 29, 2014

    ” shows that we cannot delay justice for England beyond the changes for Scotland,”

    There is an equally important reason why any more delays are unacceptable, for soon a generation of English youngsters will have been born as second class citizens, grown up as second class citizens, and in two years time get the vote as second class citizens. That should NOT be allowed to happen. When they get the vote they should get the vote as equal citizens to all the other nations of the UK.

    16 years is more than enough time to have had the debate, and arrived at a solution, that Labour haven’t, doesn’t mean that the debate hasn’t been taking place else where in the country. Giving English people quality shouldn’t be allowed to be delayed by a Labour party for their own narrow party interests.

    Where others put country before party, Labour put party before country.

  21. Lesley
    September 29, 2014

    In all this Constitutional change it could be time to have two or three M.P. s that would be the real representatives of those of us who live abroard.

  22. Joshaw
    September 29, 2014

    “I cannot understand why people think this would create two classes of MP.”

    It isn’t really a valid criticism anyway, it’s one of those statements like “two tier system” that one is supposed to accept as intrinsically bad without any form of explanation.

  23. Richard Jenkins
    September 29, 2014

    Mr Redwood – please clarify a point of parliamentary procedure. If English vote for English laws can be achieved by a simple parliamentary motion amending standing orders, then surely it would be possible for that important constitutional change to be reversed by a future government that had an overall majority in the House of Commons, but not a majority in England? This would rather defeat the point of the change.

    Reply Of course a new Parliamentary majority can always change Standing Orders, but by convention do not usually do so. In this case where the cause is just it would be politically difficult for a new majority in a future Parliament to reverse.If we did it by new law that too could be repealed.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 30, 2014

      If it was a new law then that would necessarily involve the Lords in deciding who would be allowed to vote on what in the Commons. There is nothing wrong with that in principle; the Lords still have the constitutional role of deciding whether MPs have reasonable grounds for wanting to postpone a general election, which was done during both World Wars but with the consent of both Houses, the Lords still having an absolute veto on any Bill to do that. It could even be arranged that the Lords would have an absolute veto on any Bill to reinstate the right of MPs elected outside England to vote on English-only laws, and/or it could be arranged that any such Bill would have to be approved in a referendum in which the voters in England agreed to that being done.

      However the practical problems are that a) unless the LibDems allowed it to be a government Bill, which seems very unlikely, it would have to be another Private Members’ Bill, and b) either way the present unelected legislators-for-life in the Lords would be even more certain to vote down the proposal than the elected legislators in the Commons, and then there would be insufficient time before the general election to invoke the Parliament Acts to by-pass them.

      By the way, JR, I realise that my other comment is very long but it makes the important point that your proposal would greatly increase the incidence of what would be bipartite coalition governments in all but name, and would sometimes lead to what would be tripartite coalition governments in all but name. Given that one advantage claimed for the FPTP electoral system is that it is far more likely to lead to a single party government with a coherent programme as presented to the voters in its election manifesto, rather than some coalition agreement botched up behind closed doors after the election, this seems to be a contradiction.

  24. Bert Young
    September 29, 2014

    Well done for pursuing the English for English cause . If Clegg cannot be persuaded , then the motion should be put anyway . There will be many Labour MPs who will not support it for obvious reasons but , there will be some who will ; the timing of this matter before the election will have an important bearing on the outcome . Hannan has also emerged at the right time with his views on a deal with UKIP emphasising the extent to which such a deal would result in a majority . I have long supported the view that the Conservatives have to move over to the right to win back the public , the ground they tread on now is shaky and apt to be swayed by a number of matters ; significant issues are – the European Court of Human Rights , Immigration Control , keeping the EU at bay , Taxes and further Educational Reform . Of course the NHS will always be a very significant item – preserving and improving it has to be high on any Party’s list . The Conservatives have very little time left to sway voters so they must put their skates on ; the leadership is weak so it is up to their more senior MPs to force change .

  25. sm
    September 29, 2014

    It has been my VERY long-held view that expecting Mr Hague to do anything to upset the applecart of received opinion is an utter waste of time and effort.

  26. Denis Cooper
    September 29, 2014

    Well, JR, the moment that I read in your second line the words

    “Mr Hague, acting for Mr Cameron”

    an alarm bell started to ring in my head.

    To save you the trouble of editing out my full opinion of Mr Hague I will refrain from expressing it, and merely point out that back in May 2010 it was “Mr Hague, acting for Mr Cameron” who led the negotiations with the LibDems which resulted in important items in the Tory election manifesto being omitted from the Coalition Agreement, one of them being the commitment to address the West Lothian Question.

    Excluding MPs elected outside England from votes on English matters would be to the general advantage of a party which had few MPs elected outside England compared to rival parties in the Commons; after all these years of insisting that it would be wrong it is very hard to see Labour now agreeing to do the decent thing and allow that change to go through, but much the same applies to the LibDems – I find that 23% of their present MPs were elected outside England, compared to 26% of Labour MPs but only 3% of Tory MPs – and in their case abstention would be enough to enable Labour to block it.

    1. Sandra Cox
      October 1, 2014

      As a newcomer to your Diary (and not as savvy about these things as more seasoned contributors) I can see that my post on the subject of “Speaking for England at Party Conference” would have needed shortening, heavy moderation, or pulling due to a bit of rant about William Hague’s role in politics. However, I can see that others, such as Denis Cooper, made some of my comments on the 2010 coalition negotiations so I don’t feel too bad.

      I appreciate your time constraints and realise that this subject has expired for the time being here, but, having removed what may have been the offending bits and extensively modifying and shortening the remainder, I’ll try again:

      I am disappointed to hear there might be a problem just getting over the first hurdle in this process – it grieves me that you are having to bring the LibDems on board, yet again, to get through “Devo Minimum” for England in order to get through Devo Max for Scotland.

      As William Hague now has responsibility for looking into the long-standing democracy deficit in England, might I raise grave concerns that I have regarding the whole process, not only with his stewardship, but with others who appear to be “players”:

      1) For months, we’ve had the heavy mob – Clegg, Heseltine, the BBC and various other individuals and talking shops – softening us up to regionalisation as if it is a given, and throwing taxpayers’ money at a ‘divide and conquer’ bribe that would make us even more vulnerable to EU manipulation?

      2) Following the Chequers meeting, we had Andrew Lansley telling the BBC that there was a consensus that English MPs should have a decisive say on matters affecting England only. But he said there was “little appetite” for a separate English Parliament, due to all the additional bureaucracy and cost it would entail.

      “Little appetite”? Says who? The English? The “Players”? Or just another skewed poll we’re all supposed to take as gospel?

      If this process gets through the first hurdle, let alone gets within spitting distance of an English parliament, we really cannot leave it in the hands of those with “little appetite” or those who feel that a price can be put on democracy.

      John, all this shows just what we’re up against, and I’m extremely grateful to you for your efforts.

  27. Richard1
    September 29, 2014

    Off topic but can we imagine the chorus of rage, orchestrated by the BBC and groups such as hacked off, had eg the daily mail sought to entrap 6 Labour MPs by means of the use of false identities on social media?

    Perhaps the daily mirror should now be closed down like the news of the world?

  28. John Page
    September 29, 2014

    People don’t think it would create two classes of MP, they’re just sloganising.

  29. acorn
    September 29, 2014

    I am thinking “Northern Ireland Votes for Northern Ireland Issues”, that should work well, what could possibly go wrong there? Anyway, English votes for English issues is purely a Westminster thing.

    JR said yesterday “There is considerable enthusiasm in the Conservative party for fiscal devolution. Devolved governments should be more responsible for raising the money they spend.” Oh how we laughed! Since when?. Since the Scotland result; that’s when!

    The Conservative party has never ever been in favour of devolving fiscal powers below the national level, to any form of “elected” sub-national / local government. It only ever delegates by diktat to local Quangos that are field units of Westminster / Whitehall Departments. It has always feared local government political power bases forming; like the GLC did under Labour.

    At best, the UK will end up with a massively imbalanced quasi-federal structure; like India; or, may I say it, like the EU. What a success they have been. The British designed the version in India, remember! England has ten times the population of Scotland; seventeen times Wales and twenty nine times NI. Which one will be the Elephant in the federal room.

    Who gets to decide if an “Issue” is English; Scottish etc or Quasi-Federal? That should be fun, what could possibly go wrong with that? Which Court will deal with the appeals when likely most will be challenged by the non English?

    Reply The Conservative party offered more fiscal devolution to Scotland before the referendum wobble. The division of powers for current devolution is laid down in an Act of Parliament and has worked fine. The new one will be similar. Anything devolved to Scotland would on my model also be an English issue.

  30. Robert Taggart
    September 29, 2014

    Agreed Johnny, but, beware of Liebores new stalling tactic – highlighting Lundun !
    Lundun has devolved powers (not too many mind) – ergo – Lundun MP’s in particular and MP’s more generally have no power over those matters.
    Lundun matters not !

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 30, 2014

      London is part of England. It was part of England in the days of the LCC and it was part of England in the days of the GLC and it is still part of England now that there is the GLA.

      1. Robert Taggart
        September 30, 2014

        Indeed – Liebores use of this little devolution amounts to nothing more the a ‘Red Herring’ – but its use suits those Reds !

  31. Timaction
    September 29, 2014

    I agree Mr Redwood that this matter could be settled quite quickly for the English. So why has it taken 4 and a half years to come to the fore? Just a few months before a General Election?
    There is only one party who will stand up for the British people and the English and we all know who it is.
    Far too little too late. Will we hear EU renegotiation or Human Rights changes or control of immigration in the next few months as well? Ignored and brushed under the carpet and kicked into the long grass by the Tory led coalition over this Parliament. The shifty interview of your leader yesterday summed him up. His picture and answers painted a thousand words and his disingenuous intentions shone through.
    The public have woken up to who speaks for them and places them before their party.

  32. Lifelogic
    September 29, 2014

    What is the point of boasting about changing a few minor regulations on trivial matters (like liqueur chocolates) at conference just now, when the Tories have introduced absurd new PAYE report laws, endless more complexity to employment, health and safely and tax laws, half baked compulsory pensions and idiotic gender neutral insurance and annuities. Soon absurdities on vacuum cleaners and lawn movers! Daft building regulations and absurd energy productions laws.

    Adjusting the deck chairs while blasting holes in the hull comes to mind.

  33. They Work for Us?
    September 29, 2014

    Thank you for your efforts in trying to secure English votes for English issues.
    Your opening remarks about Mr Hague’s first try solution does support the view that unless the Conservative party elite are continually scrutinised and have their feet held to the fire then prevarication, obfuscation and anything to delay or keep business as usual will prevail.

  34. Lifelogic
    September 29, 2014

    Patrick McLoughlin is quite right to champion British Engineering but why do the conservatives so misdirect them into daft electric cars, trams, road blocking bus and bike lanes and so called “green renewables” then kick them in the teeth endlessly with daft regulations, over taxation, idiotic employment laws and dysfunctional overpriced banking?

    Why are state sector largely parasitic paper pushers so very often paid so much more than often excellent engineers?

  35. Denis Cooper
    September 29, 2014

    JR, you say:

    “Once we have established the procedure for English votes, it will be clear that Ministers handling business which is devolved elsewhere in the UK will need to have a majority of English MPs in support of their proposals.”

    Well, the publicly funded health service is a prime example of business which is already devolved elsewhere in the UK. It isn’t immediately apparent from the website of the UK Department of Health, but Wikipedia helpfully explains:


    “The Department of Health (DH) is the department of the United Kingdom government responsible for government policy on health and adult social care matters in England, along with a few elements of the same matters which are not otherwise devolved to the Scottish Government, Welsh Government or Northern Ireland Executive. It oversees the English National Health Service (NHS). The Department is led by the Secretary of State for Health with a Minister of State and four Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State.”

    Then you continue:

    “This may entail Ministers in English departments of a different party from the government of the UK, who would not have to be in the UK government, in those rare elections which produce a different majority in England from the UK.”

    So basically in those circumstances where one party got a majority of all the MPs elected across the whole UK, but another party got a majority of the MPs elected in England, the UK government would immediately become a coalition government in all but name, with a department such as health becoming a kind of enclave within the UK government of the first party which was either entirely controlled by the second party or was a kind of condominium with control shared by the two parties; throw in the possibility that no one party had achieved an overall majority of all the MPs elected across the UK and then the UK government could superficially become a coalition government of two parties with some manifesto-negating coalition agreement having been negotiated between them behind closed doors after the election, but in reality a coalition government of three parties in all but name, with some ministers drawn from the third party having partial or complete control of policy areas where only the business for England had not been devolved away from the UK Parliament and government because our UK politicians had stubbornly refused to even contemplate granting to the English people the same separate devolved Parliament and government that they had previously granted to the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish.

    So how often would we find ourselves with this fine kind of mess? You say that it would be “rare”, but that is only taking into account the occasions when a Labour government has depended upon its MPs elected in Scotland for its overall Commons majority; if you bear in mind that it always wins most of the 40 seats in Wales – in 2010, 26 of them – and the Tories win few of those seats – in 2010, only 8 of them – then it might not be so rare that we end up with a UK government including MPs of two or three parties.

    And then there is Northern Ireland, where UK citizens are still over-represented in the UK Parliament in the same way as UK citizens in Wales are still over-represented but those in Scotland no longer are, and none of the three old UK parties get any MPs elected so that there are 18 MPs floating around who could tip the balance in the Commons one way or another and determine whether it would be a Tory government of the UK with the health service in England being under Tory control as an integral part of that UK government, or it would be a Labour government of the UK but the health service in England being a kind of enclave under Tory control …

    As I have commented previously, once the UK Parliament passed an Act saying in its first line:

    “There shall be a Scottish Parliament.”

    and going on to divide powers between the existing UK Parliament, “reserved”, and the new Scottish Parliament, “devolved”, then it was setting the UK on the path to become a federal rather than a unitary state; and as we certainly cannot go backwards on that we should go forwards and complete the process of federalisation with four components not just three, as the only practical way to deliver justice to England and its people, but most certainly not with the twelve EU regional components that the euromaniacs want.

    Reply The English Ministers in my model would be free to govern as their majority anted just as SNP Ministers are in Scotland. I don’t see it as a coalition between SNP and the London based UK government.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 1, 2014

      Why not just accept that the only clean solution is to hive off all the “devolved” areas to a separate English Parliament and government, as with Scotland and increasingly with Wales and Northern Ireland, and leave a smaller UK Parliament and a smaller UK government to deal with the “reserved” matters?

  36. English Pensioner
    September 29, 2014

    You are right to seek to prevent Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs speaking and voting on those English matters which have been devolved to their own parliament/assemblies. One thing that this issue has demonstrated to me is the inability, or unwillingness, of governments and many MPs to look ahead further than the end of their noses! Certainly there should be no more devolution until the English situation has been resolved.
    To most people, this is an issue that should have been dealt with when the original devolution debate took place. I can remember remarking at the time “But what about home rule for England” and even mentioned it to my MP, but the issue was totally ignored by Westminster. Why can ordinary people see potential problems but not our MPs?

  37. Terry
    September 29, 2014

    After the Scottish referendum debacle and the ‘bribes’ that ensued, continuance of West Lothian Question is now utterly indefensible and it is shameful to argue otherwise. Do the opponents of EVEL have no place in their hearts for a basic human quality called, ‘honour’?

  38. acorn
    September 29, 2014

    JR, while at the conference, please could you ask Mr Osborne what will happen if he fails to reduce the government’s budget “deficit” and consequently increases the “national debt”? How will this harm our economy that uses a sovereign floating fiat currency called the Pound? Who else will attempt to harm our economy, and what financial weapons will they use, as the Austerity weapon is exclusive to the Treasury?

    Is Mr Osborne and our other financial enemies aware that Pounds are issued by the monopoly supplier, the British Treasury and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Bank of England? Are our enemies aware that these two entities can never run out of Pounds. They can pay any invoice presented to them in Pounds; can never become insolvent in their own currency; can castrate any Bond vigilantly who steps out of line.

    MOSLER’S LAW: There is no financial crisis so deep that a sufficiently large tax cut or spending increase cannot deal with it. Corollary 1: The funds to pay taxes and buy government securities, come from government spending. Corollary 2: Taxes function to regulate aggregate demand, and not to raise revenue per se.

    I only ask because the lack of spending power in the private sector amplified by austerity economy, is showing up now. August Aggregate M4 / M4L Money Supply is minus 1.5% and continues to drop.

  39. The Prangwizard
    September 29, 2014

    Listening to William Hague’s speech on the subject to your conference, it seemed to me that he was saying that if Clegg won’t agree your party will then leave the issue over until the General Election; that is, there is no support from the leadership for a secondary motion – so your ‘travesty’ may well come to pass.

    In spite of his sounding determined and saying it must not be delayed, I do not believe Hague has any real appetite for reform – indeed he may even privately be against it still; certainly your leader doesn’t and I am sure they hope to frustrate any justice for the English, while falling over themselves to favour Scotland – and Ruth Davidson was arguing strongly for ‘devomax-plus’ today. I want to be wrong. I want your party to do the right and proper thing, but I fear the worst. Cameron must know that to give England the same rights as Scotland will undermine his position.

    Nick Robinson has been talking about Cameron’s view of Mark Reckless; it is clear Cameron hates people who come under the category of ‘not one of us’. He apparently ‘loathed’ Mr Reckless for that. I wonder what he thinks of Daniel Hannan who said quite openly I think that Cameron intends to trick the people of the UK over the EU referendum vote.

    This why I refer symbolically to the need for a new Cromwell, we must get rid of those elites like him who think they have divine right to rule, and who despise the ordinary people. Cameron and his clique are an embodiment of that.

  40. Daisy
    September 29, 2014

    A brilliant interview on LBC this morning – great to hear genuine enthusiasm combined with lucid explanation. Well done and thank you.

  41. Lifelogic
    September 29, 2014

    Osborne just now “you cannot tax your way out of a recession” has he only just realised? Why has he been trying to for the past 4+ years with 50%, 45% IT, 40% IHT, 28% CGT and 299+ tax increases.

    1. Lifelogic
      September 29, 2014

      Not even a mention of Inheritance Tax his last, blatantly ratted on, promise of approx 6 years ago. Does he think we have all forgotten?

      1. Lifelogic
        September 30, 2014

        IHT actually increased each year by Osborne through inflation.

  42. bluedog
    September 29, 2014

    Dr JR says, ‘I cannot understand why people think this would create two classes of MP.’
    And, ‘A Scottish MP can vote on all English matters, and an English MP can vote on no devolved Scottish matter.’

    As one who advances the view that there will soon be two classes of MP, and not four, this writer wonders if he has it wrong, but respectfully suggests not.

    Please consider the second statement above. While a Scottish MP of the UK Parliament may vote on all English matters, as also may an English, Welsh and NI MP of the UK Parliament, no member of the UK Parliament, including Scottish members of the UK Parliament, can vote on devolved Scottish matters. In this regard, all members of the UK Parliament currently rank pari passu.

    Neither can any member of the UK Parliament, be they English, Scottish, Welsh or NI members, vote on matters pertaining to any other devolved assembly, such as the Welsh or NI assemblies. Once again the UK MPs, English, Scottish, Welsh and NI rank pari passu. This writer is therefore at a loss to understand this statement, ‘We currently have four classes of MP, with Scottish MPs the most wide ranging and powerful, and English MPs the least.’ One can only beg to differ. All MPs at Westminster currently rank pari passu, as previously explained.

    What is now being proposed is that Scottish, and presumably Welsh and NI MPs in the UK Parliament, be precluded from speaking on English matters debated in the UK Parliament. Thus the rights of Scottish, Welsh and NI MPs will be diminished in the UK Parliament because these MPs will forfeit their right to debate English matters.

    Accordingly, two classes of UK MPs, English on the one hand, and Scottish, Welsh and NI on the other hand, will be created within the UK Parliament. If there are soon to be four classes of MP within the UK parliament, with each of the English, Scottish, Welsh and NI MPs having different rights, political catastrophe seems inevitable.

    Importantly, this point relates purely to rights within the UK Parliament. The reason for this potential divergence in rights is because England is on a constitutional pedestal as the sole undevolved entity within the United Kingdom. England therefore remains the sole unitary member state of the UK, so that English Members of the UK Parliament are compelled by default to debate English matters within the UK Parliament. It is no fault of Scottish, Welsh and NI MPs of the UK that they are permitted to debate English matters. The fault lies at the feet of those who resist constitutional equality for all member states of the UK. If there were an English Parliament for the debate of devolved English matters by English MPs, the problem would not arise. English national MPs would not sit in the UK Parliament, but solely in the English Parliament. MPs representing English constituencies of the UK Parliament would sit in the UK Parliament, representing England in non-devolved matters. At present the English Parliament and the UK Parliament are one and the same, an increasingly awkward co-habitation.

    The only viable solution to the current state of affairs is to accept the doctrine of constitutional equality so that each of the four member states of the United Kingdom has its own parliament dealing with devolved matters. In passing, thought needs to be given to the nature of devolved matters, and there is an argument from precedents in other jurisdictions that UK Parliament concessions to the devolved parliaments have already gone too far.

    Permit me to make a very wide point. The United Kingdom can be assessed over three epochs of approximately one century, 1707 to 1801, 1801 to 1916, and 1916 to 2014. The significance of these dates needs no elucidation. The point to be made is that in the first two centuries the United Kingdom was a highly successful and expansionist joint-venture with all its constituents as signal beneficiaries. Administrative inequities could be largely overlooked as the benefits were of such magnitude that bickering seemed petty and churlish. In the final century, the era of thrilling conquest and abundance has passed, and administrative inequities have become sources of existential threat to the Union.

    It is therefore of paramount importance that these administrative inequities are seen through the prism of the United Kingdom, and not from the perspective of regional advantage. Otherwise it will prove that the Scottish vote was not the end of the destruction of the UK, but the start of its final stage.

    You are right to champion England and a devolved parliament for England as you appear to favour, as that measure will put all member states of the UK on an equal footing, which must be done in a process of UK constitutional reform. Tony Blair’s partial devolution has done enough damage to the Union.

    It is time to take firm action to prevent final rupture.

  43. Eddie Hill
    September 29, 2014

    Absolutely right.

    I think that devolving powers to the English regions is a complete red herring. There is no way that, say, the South East of England is analogous to Scotland or Wales. They are different nation states within the union, whereas the South East is a region of England, a separate nation state within the union.

    I can only think that Labour wants to split England into regions because it may then be able to hold power in certain regions of England, whereas without its Scottish MPs, it may never hold power in a separate England.

    1. Independent England
      September 30, 2014

      In an English Parliament elected by proportional representation it is unlikely that the Tories would be able to gain an overall majority.
      At the last general election the Tories gained 39% of the English vote, Labour 28% and the Lib Dems 24%.
      That would have translated into 207 Tory seats (they won 298 under FPTP) 149 Labour and 128 Lib Dem.
      Maybe that is why the Tory leadership is not keen on the idea of an English Parliament?

    2. F.Cunctator
      September 30, 2014

      This whole waste of tim concerning The Lothian question arose because at first a few people started talking , for their own ends, about 4 nations. There was one nation the UK with one Government and all parts of the nation were represented by elected MP to the same HoC. Criticisms about the “Westminster Parliament”, used pejoratively by the Scots and others, are quite ridiculous the physical meeting point had to be somewhere. Perhaps these people would have been happier with the Parliament moving to a different on a regular basis , a la European Parliament. The members woulds have been the same with the same views so why move about.
      Blair intending to split the UK, as instructed by his masters, gave Scotland devolution
      the greatest of all his myriad errors. It was immediately obvious that they would take actions detrimental t both Scotland and the UK, and they did. There is one nation needing one Parliament but with a much higher standard of MP willing, not to fight silly parish pump politics, but to rationally consider the Nation’ s governance as a piece for the good of all HM subjects. All else is a myth.

  44. Stuart Saint
    September 29, 2014

    Please add my name to your growing list of supporters for this urgent legislation.

    Good luck and thanks for your work.

  45. Chris of Wessex
    September 29, 2014

    Its a good start but I don’t believe that English Votes for English Laws goes far enough we should work towards a full English Parliament solution in a federal UK with 4 parliaments under a tiny overarching UK parliament that only deals with matters of commonality such as defence etc.

    However bearing in mind how restricted you are for time before GE2015 and the fact that you are in a coalition you have my support and I would imagine the support of many other people in England too.

  46. Gareth Young
    September 29, 2014

    Some devolution to the lowest level should be encouraged but we don’t want an England that’s a post code lottery of services, differing tax rates and laws.

    An English parliament should be established, elected under proportional representation, with a commitment to devolution.

    The Lords should be abolished and in its place a federal parliament with some powers of scrutiny over the national parliaments of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to bring cohesion to a federal Union of Nations.

    If English cities and counties want to cooperate on services or for infrastructure projects this can be facilitated through regional grand committees.

  47. Demetrius
    September 29, 2014

    Birmingham is in Mercia.

  48. JoeSoap
    September 29, 2014

    If Mr Clegg doesn’t agree to this, then dissolve Parliament and go to the Country. His 2% would dwindle to even fewer.

  49. Mike Meteor
    September 29, 2014

    Very good Mr Redwood.

    We must not succumb to the ‘salami-slicing’ of regionalisation. We in England are entitled to the same devolution as Scotland and amendment to standing orders is an excellent first step – as an interim measure.

    Please keep the pressure up.

  50. Francis Lankester
    September 29, 2014

    Just what is the rush? There is a much more sensible approach than what is in effect English separatism. Much of the push for devolution was caused by power (and therefore prestige and national pride) draining away from our national parliament to the EU and giving separatists the confidence that they could achieve quasi-independence or actual statehood within it.

    First, renegotiate with Brussels and either repatriate major powers or leave the EU. Then do what Brian Monteith (ex MSP at the Freedom Association fringe meeting) spoke eloquently about in binding the peoples of Britain together. Re-establish the feeling in people’s hearts that as a sovereign nation we are truly “all in it together” again. Emesh everyone closer-in contrast to the separatists who are attempting to drive us apart.

    This ‘English votes’ panic puts the cart before the horse. Many policies in the short term look like good ideas, indeed appear to be ‘common sense.’ But common sense often turns out to be wrong when confronted with the evidence. It is much more likely that we will get regional government because of the sheer size of an increasingly separating England.

    What is most astonishing is this quite new harping on the term ‘English MP’s.’ When I voted for Robin Walker at the last election he became a British MP. Constitutional tinkering (although this is vandalism) is not Conservative at all. So let’s not do it. Especially, let’s not do what our separatist and Eurocrat enemies want us to do.

  51. Toby Ross
    September 29, 2014

    The basic unfairness is of course unanswerable but England is so powerful within the Union that freedom to act unilaterally will affect the other parts of the Union in a way that has no opposite.

    Whilst the problem is obvious in theory it is more difficult to determine where this arrangement has acted expressly against the will of English MP’s in practice. The most common example cited is that of the imposition of tuition fees for university students. It’s a fair point but if England is so agin the principle of university students contributing towards the costs of their tuition one wonders how there was an English majority for trebling that contribution a few years later.

    However, I agree that something must be done. Perhaps there could be an advisory vote of English only MP’s before third reading. We would then at least have a better idea of the scale of the problem and if further action needed to be taken to protect England from being governed against her wishes. I suspect that in practice a UK government would take measures to prevent any such conflict and thus act consensually to secure the consent of a majority of English MP’s. Not quite rubber stamping the wishes of English MP’s.

    Given the delicate balance of the Constitution I would be loath to fundamentally alter it further, in spite of all the anomalies, unless there is an overwhelming and demonstrable practical need. Call me an old fashioned Burkean Tory but you can never be sure you aren’t going to make things worse.

  52. a-tracy
    September 29, 2014

    Precisely there already two types of MP. England doesn’t want more, we want to rule ourselves on devolved issues no more but no less.

  53. zorro
    September 29, 2014

    Oh dear John, your views on corporate governance and how they should keep out of independence politics is positively causing a fit of the vapours amongst the usual suspects…… Bless… Poor Chuka thinks your comments were ‘vile and disgusting’, and as for such luminaries as Clarke, Burt, Blanchflower, Rudd, and Aaronovitch….. Without doubt you will be apologising profusely to them for not bowing at their temple of EU compliance….. Interestingly, they don’t comment on the political interference by companies in advocating to join the ERM years ago…..


  54. matthu
    September 29, 2014

    “Conference, we have been betrayed. People who volunteered for Mr Reckless, they supported him as a Conservative. People who pounded the streets, they supported him as a Conservative.

    “People who donated money from their own pockets, who worked tirelessly for him, they supported him as a Conservative. They did so in good faith.”

    So said Mr Schapps at conference.

    But he’s wrong. People don’t vote for somebody because he is Conservative. They vote for someone because the party he represents aligns itself with principles and beliefs that coincide with their own.

    And when their faith in that party is shown to have been misplaced, do they adopt different principles and beliefs? No, they look for a different party that will uphold their principles and beliefs.

    Only luckless Mr Schapps can’t understand that.

  55. Narrow Shoulders
    September 29, 2014

    Your Chancellor spent today ringing the “slash benefit” bell to “save” £3.9 billion.

    If you turn off the sluice gate of cheap labour from abroad and make business train our young and others who are long term unemployed either by design or accident then the benefit bill will tumble.

    Also building 100,000 houses using 100,000 imported families is not going to help anyone. Immigration and Europe remain the elephant in the room at your conference. English votes is a sideshow which should be easily sorted by common sense.

  56. Bill
    September 29, 2014

    Thank you for this. It is the way forward: procedural clarity allied to an eminently fair idea, indeed an idea that is essentially democratic – one that expresses what democracy is all about. We wish our representatives to be allowed to frame the laws with which we consent; we do not want representatives of other people to frame our laws.

  57. matthu
    September 29, 2014

    “We are more than a star on somebody else’s flag.” – Mark Reckless, UKIP Conference 2014.

    One to remember.

  58. Richard
    September 29, 2014

    I thank you again for your efforts to bat for England on this important matter.

    What are expected to be the consequences of Scotland setting its own rates of taxation ? Will they be able to lower their rates or only be allowed to increase them to provide additional funds for any increased spending plans ?

    If Scotland is allowed to reduce its rates of taxation would this not lead to another tax competitor to England and enable large corporations and wealthy individuals to reduce their tax bill ?

    Alex Salmond’s plan may be to turn Scotland into another Luxembourg/Monaco/Channel Islands tax haven.

    The splitting up of England into regions, as Labour want, may not simply involve different towns having different rates of income tax. Scotland’s differing laws would be used as a precedent for (incompatible ed) law to be introduced into some parts of England.

    September 29, 2014

    Not heard it. Not seen it. I really do believe it is too late. All the shuffling of Cabinet posts and SENIOR positions such as the Police do-dah in #Rotherham. It’s all too late. The “electorate” has moved on. Only an astrologer would even think of what comes next..within the next decade. But it does not revolve around an ancient and not-fit-for-purpose building in West Minster, for sure, God Bless us, every one.

  60. steve brookes
    September 29, 2014

    thanks john, great job. wonderful to hear england spoken of at last

  61. Fred
    September 29, 2014

    It is grossly offensive that the Scots 5 million, Welsh 3.7 million, NI 1.7 million were all asked to decide their own future.
    The British government shows utter contempt for 50 million English by deciding to impose the minimum useless scam that will keep the less informed of the English taking to the streets.

  62. Kenneth R Moore
    September 29, 2014

    Not a good start. True to formMr Hagues’s first instinct is to buckle under pressure to accept watered down proposals..having to be shaken from his daydream by our host This plastic statesmans needs to spend more time with his piano.

    The left is just doing what it always does – if the facts don’t fit it just invents them to conceal it’s hidden England hating agenda.

  63. Stephen Gash
    September 29, 2014

    It’s more than a tad irritating that Scots like Rory Stewart and my own MP John Stevenson push hard for city regions when English folk have repeatedly rejected them in referenda.

    Frankly, they should do their bit for the UK and win Tory seats in their native Scotland.

    Any further devolution within England should come only after an English parliament and be decided by the English voters.

  64. Marek
    September 29, 2014

    Your opinion that businesses should not participate in the EU debate is so counter productive to your own cause that you must be a nutter.

  65. Kenneth R Moore
    September 30, 2014

    Hat tip to the Redwood..good to see an Mp getting on with his business setting out his case and making the effort to spread the word on this vital issue without mud slinging.

    Contrast this with his colleagues who are busying themselves trying to bring down a hard working principled family man who decided to disagree with them and leave the party. The Cameron clique really do think that the party is more important than the country – that is the depth of their delusion.

  66. Peter Stroud
    September 30, 2014

    Lots of people will be happy if Bill Cash’s suggestion is supported. Thank you for supporting it.

    Reply I seem to remember starting this idea! Bill and I work together.

  67. Fred
    September 30, 2014

    Keep pushing for England John. Go hell for leather for English independence and you will be PM before the decade is out. England is the future.

  68. Brian Tomkinson
    September 30, 2014

    Once again I see my comment has not been posted. If you don’t want to read my views then just tell me and save my time and yours.

  69. Stevie
    September 30, 2014

    We already have two classes of MP. Those who take responsibility for the consequences of votes in Westminster (those who voted for 9000 pound tuition fees etc) and those who do not, such as the Scots.

    Better two classes of MP than two classes of citizens. Labour propose to put the settled view of the 90% into a minority group. Only Labour’s grasp of numbers could create such a state of affairs.

  70. William Grant
    October 1, 2014

    ‘English Votes for English Laws’ needs to be enacted quickly, for the good of Scotland, too. There is every possibility that the SNP would win an overall majority in the next Scottish Parliament and their next leader has already gone back on her old promise that it would be fifteen years before another referendum. Labour’s and the Lib Dems’ Holyrood ranks, in particular, need to be boosted by Westminster-standard politicians in time for the next Scottish parliamentary elections. Scottish MPs need to know, soon, that they are going to be hanging around waiting to be in place for Speaker Bercow’s Urgent Questions sessions most of the time, if they stay in Westminster.

  71. Willer
    October 1, 2014

    Couldn’t you have seen this issue coming. It’s all rather reactive to the Scottish referendum. You could have had a summit on this topic at Chequers last year.

  72. Steven
    October 1, 2014

    It remains Labours mission on behalf of their masters in Brussels to carve England up into EU “Regions”.

    “We are entering an era in which national government, instead of directing, enables powerful regional and local initiatives to work, where Britain becomes as it should be – a Britain of nations and regions” – Gordon Brown. Jan 2000. *** Brown meant the ‘Nations’ being Scotland and Wales but England (the oldest Nation State in Europe) as no more than a collection of broken up EU “Regions of Britain”.

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