Four types of MP

Labour first refused to come to any talks about tackling the problem of England. Then they refused to put their solution into the government White Paper. When it came to Scottish devolution they both attended the all party talks and contributed to the White Paper. Clearly Labour doesn’t like England.

Now they tell us that if we go ahead with English votes for English issues there will be two classes of MP. It was their devolution mess at the end of the last century which created four classes of MPs. Scottish Westminster MPs can do least for their constituents, as they received the greatest devolution. Welsh and Northern Irish MPs can do more than Scots, but they too have variable items devolved to Assemblies so they cannot carry out those tasks for their constituents. Only English MPs have the full range of powers with no English devolution.

The injustice came by allowing Scottish MPs to vote on English health, English education and English local government when they cannot influence or vote on Scottish health or education or local government. Labour need to explain why they ever thought that made sense.

Now Labour want to pretend that allowing England some of the devolved power Scotland enjoys will mean they could not govern the country as a whole!. It means nothing of the sort. Just as a Conservative UK majority government could not now govern Scottish health or schools or local government, so a future Labour majority government without a majority of seats in England could not govern English health or education or local government without the consent of English MPs. What’s unfair about that?

Labour needs to learn that the union matters it left to Westminster for all the country are the economy, defence, foreign affairs and most of welfare. Why on earth they campaign about health for the General Election in Scotland and Wales I have no idea, as of course next May does not settle anything about Welsh or Scottish health anymore. Once Income Tax is a devolved matter for Scotland England will expect to settle our rate without the help of Scottish MPs.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

86 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/24/johann-lamont-resigns-scottish-labour-party-leader

    I find it odd that MP’s of all hues, especially Labour ones, are at odds with various classes of MP’s when, they both support and campaign to have MEP’s. Whist giving away powers to an unelected executive in Brussels, they also, by small increments, give away voting and debating rights to the Toy Parliament in; “Oh where is it this week ?” Strasbourg or Brussels. Not sense of outrage from those on all sides of the Green Benches on this, is there ?

    What concerns me, is the various layers of bureaucracy that are being created. From Supranational Parliaments, right down to unelected and near unaccountable Quango’s and NGO’s / Charities. All in my view are a cost to the taxpayer in one way or another, and all of whom have varying degrees of power and influence which, by enlarge, does very little good except for the private accounts of those heading such organisations.

    There does not seem to me a clear and coherent plan for England. There also does not seem to be a willingness, especially from English MP’s from all sides, for such a plan.

    The only plan that I see, is to create more administrative jobs, with the power to raise some taxes and levies to spend on things ‘they’ wish.

    What I seek, apart from justice for me and my fellow countrymen, is to remove the burden of the endless layers of administration. Gone should be the Mayor of London and that pathetic Assembly. Gone should be Police Commissioners. And so on.

    We need to think outside the box. We need separate Parliaments for all the Home Nations with equal powers. We need to abolish the HoL and replace it with elected equal number of UKMP’s from the Four Home Nations and, surprisingly, a representative of each of Her Majesties Dominions. This I propose for a ‘very’ specific reason.

    The ‘Lower’ UK Federal Government would manage matters on a UK and International level, and many devolved powers would be managed by the Home Nations.

    As to those who wish to balkanise my country, England, I say this. Let the English decide in a free and fair referendum on this matter. Let them decide, as others have been allowed to decide, on the manner and means by which they wish to be governed. Let TRUE democracy, ie the people speak and decide on what is in their best interests.

    I do not ask for more. I ask for the SAME !

    • DaveM
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      “As to those who wish to balkanise my country, England, I say this.”

      GOOD LUCK!!!

      Amongst those people the misunderstanding of the English resistance to change and outside direction is phenomenal. They just need to look around them – never has the name ‘Middlesex’ been so popular!! And as for exploiting regional differences – the people of Hull and Grimsby were never so united as when they were united in resistance to the creation of Humberside.

      I don’t think the left realises the immovability of a passive wall of English resistance. I just wish people would reflect that when they vote.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 18, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        DaveM

        Because we have people who will still vote for a man and a Political Party, even when said man is caught calling them a bigot behind their back, just for asking a simple, honest question.

        And the same could be said of all the others.

        I do not care who people vote for, but the tribal voter is a type of voter I loath. If every politician, including our kind host, had to sweat blood and tears for every last vote in every constituency, we would be living in a democracy, rather that the sham that we have.

        • DaveM
          Posted December 18, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

          Quite. The Monty Python Labour voter is the most frustrating I find – most of them would actually vote Tory if they knew what they stood for.

          I bang on nearly daily here about mainifestos and publicity but never see any campaigning around my area and never see anything on TV or radio about positive Tory policies.

    • Jagman84
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      It is all academic. The EU is in charge nowand true democracy has been abolished. Both the Westminster and EU parliaments have been reduced to “talking shops” with no ability to change what is coming from Brussels or Strasbourg. We are paying tens of thousands of politicians that have, effectively, been made redundant. No wonder we are in a financial mess, despite George Osborne’s proclamations.

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        The’ jagman’ we have witnessed on the box uses more than rhetoric to express himself.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 18, 2014 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        That’s the spirit ! Just give up !

        No ! No ! No !

        As someone once said.

        • DaveM
          Posted December 18, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

          Thanks Mark B. I too am becoming annoyed at the dispirited defeatist attitude of many on here. I think people should get out and about more – things aren’t that bad!!!

          No policies are perfect because they have to try and please everyone. The reaction here to the WP was disappointing I thought – there are positives in there, and as we have been saying from the beginning – EVEL may not be perfect but it’s a start towards what we want (ie. an English Parliament with parity across the UK) and a tool to make more democracy in England.

          Just to dismiss it as ‘not good enough’ and kick it to the side is exactly the kind of attitude which will result in even less self-determination and democracy. I’ll never give up on this or the whole EU issue!!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      During the referendum on AV there were some acerbic comments from Australia about the near idiotic level of debate in this country about something which they all took for granted and hardly any of them wished to change.

      I guess that any Australians looking at how all of the main political parties in this country are now desperately trying to prevent the establishment of the kind of federal system that they have had for over a century, and thanks originally to an Act of UK Parliament for goodness’ sake:

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/63-64/12/contents

      and which very few Australians would wish to undo, will be shaking their heads in total bemusement at the stupid antics of our politicians.

      But maybe they should remember that some of these present day politicians are the direct philosophical descendants of those politicians who had the leading Chartists tried on trumped up charges and transported to Australia, in effect unjustly exiled from their own country in contravention of Clause 29 of Magna Carta; much the same crew who bitterly opposed the Great Reform Act of 1832, no lovers of democracy then and not now either.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        In fact the best thing coming from Britain (after our emigrating professionals) is the example we are showing our commonwealth cousins as to how not to run a country.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 18, 2014 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Denis.

        Funny thing, is this:

        The provisions of this Act referring to the Queen shall extend to Her Majesty’s heirs and successors in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

        I wounder now as the President of the European Council is now our Head of State and that the UK has passed Sovereignty to the EU, does that make Australia a part of the new EU Empire.

    • Hope
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Excellent post, spot on. W also do not need MEPs or the huge cost of the EU. Our criminal justice system does not need the ECHR or Human Rights. Our poor and elederly people should be put first before overseas aid to help corrupt regimes.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Indeed, but it is Labour who seems almost certain to decide/stitch this all up after May. This given that the chances of an overall Tory majority seems to be only about 8%.

    What is needed is for a new direction from Cameron to give him a chance of victory there is still not sign of this, no vision. The country is crying out for cheaper energy, far less EU, an NHS that actually works, selective immigration, real growth, less government, lower taxes, fewer regulations …. but we just get the opposite from Cameron everytime.

    • lojolondon
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Absolutely – a proper “conservative” party would be absolutely all over all those issues you mention. But the current Conservative Party is all about keeping the left-wing Westminster / BBC happy, not about real people in the real world. Who else could suggest that we borrow £15 Billion pounds every year, just to give it away? And where else but Westminster would that be seen as the right thing to do, and attract no criticism, indeed attract support from all the major parties? And still, the major issue in Westminster for all parties is, “how to win the trust and votes of the people they govern, while refusing to deliver any of their wishes”?
      That is why voters believe the LibLabCon are all the same, and entirely dependant on the Biased BBC to propagate their message and keep dissenting voices off the airwaves, or at least to brand them lunatics and crooks at every turn.

    • BobE
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      There is a very good chance that the SNP will be the kingmakers after May.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Why on Earth is Cameron (in PM’s questions today) still defending the absurd investment in “renewables” (as they misleadingly call them), the green investment bank, the cutting of carbon dioxide emissions and the totally bonkers Climate change act. They make even less sense with the low oil prices and they made no sense at all even before. A piss down the drain energy policy and job destruction mechanism being pushed by Cameron and Davey.

      Does the government have no sensible physicists or energy engineers to advise them (get Lilly and Patterson back at least)? Are all in government in thrall to yet another barmy religion. Surely we have more than enough religions without any new ones? Especially in light of the recent appalling mass murder of young children, done as usual in the name of a religion.

      Talking of religious problems is Chilcot Inquiry actually finally going to be published soon?

    • Hope
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      No chance. I am sure by now LL that you must realise there is no hope of Cameron changing his Europhile ways and putting foreign countries and foreign people before those who pay his wages.

  3. Peter A
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    don’t know what Hague’s playing at! Due to Islamic terrorism in Sydney and the machinations of the mainstream press the case of EVEL is not getting the publicity it deserves. You were excellent on both the DP and LBC yesterday John. Keep plugging away!

    Perhaps the Tories should campaign heavily on the NHS, focusing on the Labour record in Wales.

  4. David Price
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    It is all very well lambasting Labour, it is obvious why they have no appetite for non-English MPs being excluded from English votes.

    However, it is not at all obvious why the Conservatives arbitrarily rule out an English Parliament as an option.

    What is your explanation and justification?

    For the avoidance of doubt I don’t believe UKIP has a role in this, they say nothing about English devolution/home rule, in fact less than any other party, in their policy statements. If you and the Conservatives refuse to even consider a devolution proposal then truly none of you speaks for England.

    • formula57
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Indeed! If its own parliament is good enough for Scotland, why is the same not good enough for England too?

    • Monty
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      “However, it is not at all obvious why the Conservatives arbitrarily rule out an English Parliament as an option.”

      Here’s why. It would give rise to a second power base, which the UK party leaders would view with great apprehension. We are all witnessing the spectacle of the new leader of the Scottish Labour Party squaring up to Milliband. I expect Cameron would be just as nervous of a powerful and influential leader of the conservatives in an English parliament.
      Perhaps they should have thought of this before they all charged into the scottish referendum promising all sorts of ill defined inducements. We might have all been better off with Scotland gone altogether.

  5. stred
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    After your appearance on Daily Politics the interviewer did at least repeat several times the question- what is complicated about English votes for English matters. However, throughout the programme they chose unelected Lord Heseltine as guest and, as could be expected, he was solidly pro European and finished by competing with Labour and Dum over which party was offering most regional devolution for England. No mention at all about previous referenda in which this extra layer of bureaucracy were rejected by taxpayers. In the news, the subject was presented as too complicated to sort out and received equal coverage to the death of a Rhino.

  6. stred
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Off subject, would it be a good idea to phone Vlad and tell him what happened during the ERM debacle and how much money George Soros made?

  7. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Labour needs to learn that the union matters it left to Westminster for all the country are the economy, defence, foreign affairs and most of welfare.

    Add in education and health Mr Redwood and you have a blueprint for smaller national and “regional” government with a chance to really reduce the deficit. Two birds, one stone – happier voters

  8. Old Albion
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Labour knows it cannot win a general election in England. So as ever, it’s party political advantage before fairness, justice and equality (for England)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Can Cameron win an election even just in England? Not with his current duff direction. His policies are essentially Libdem in all but name and thus entirely wrong on nearly every issue. The Libdems are a party that cannot even retain its deposits currently, so out of touch with public opinion are they. As of course is the BBC propaganda outfit.

      I see Michael Heseltine still thinks the UK will join the EURO. We are still rather likely to have Ken Clark MP after May too and about a hundred of others with similar views. The party is rotten to the core. Who would want to join it with the current leadership but more Libdem types?

      But then membership has halved since Cameron started leading it over the cliff. So clearly few are joining it and very many more are leaving.

      • Andy
        Posted December 18, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I think I’m correct in saying that the Tories have a 63 seat majority in England. I note that the LibDems, not so hot on democracy you’ll note, have not given the Tories a free hand in English health, education and local government. And lets be honest here. The reason Labour and the LibDems oppose ‘English Votes for English Laws’ is entirely because at the moment there is a clear Tory majority in England. And lets not forget that Devolution in Scotland and Wales was to cement one party Labour rule in Edinburgh and Cardiff. Not quite worked out as planned has it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      ?

      Labour has repeatedly won general elections in England in the past, and thanks to the perfidy of the LibDems in blocking the boundary changes I guess that on present poll ratings it could still win the largest number of seats in England even if it did not win an overall majority. I suppose it partly depends on what is meant by “win”, if the LibDems retain getting on for 20 seats and UKIP and the Greens each win some seats, and there may also be a few independents, then just getting the largest number of seats is not necessarily enough to “win” the election in the sense of getting an overall majority, either for Labour or the Tories.

      • ChrisS
        Posted December 18, 2014 at 12:45 am | Permalink

        Let’s resolve the whole sorry mess by going for equal national parliaments and move to PR for all elections. Right of centre parties (UKIP & Conservatives ) might well get more than 50% of the total English vote and could possibly form an overall majority in the UK Parliament. If the arrangement was like the Euro Elections, the SNP would probably not completely dominate Scotland at Holyrood either.

  9. Richard1
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Now we have gone down this foolish devolution route it would be good to make the best if it. Let’s get all taxes devolved – if we are going to devolve income tax, and there’s some talk of corporation tax also, why not CGT, VAT, inheritance tax etc? There is then some chance England could set sensible and competitive tax rates even if there is a majority of big govt leftists in the UK parliament as a whole. This whole devolution mess is just another part of the disasertous legacy of the 13 year Labour govt. Let’s hope we avoid another!

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      And compound the foolishness by signing and sealing it with further tax raising concessions to the Far-Left?

      • Richard1
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        It will be mayhem in Scotland of course – and Wales if they get tax devolution given the colour of politics there. But it would mean the far left couldn’t impose socialist level taxation on England without a majority of English MPs. We would of course also need to make sure that the English taxpayer wouldn’t be on the hook to bail out Scotland when their socialistic tax and other policies lead to revenue shortfalls – they will have to live with the consequences and cut services.

    • FCA
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      How will HMRC cope with all the different rates of tax? How will they define who is entitled to which rate? Birth, residence or grandmother. Will a Scot living and earning in the South East be entitled to claim lower Scottish Income tax etc.? If rates are higher in one part of the country will immigration take place to the area with lower rates? Do politicians of all parties know what they are doing (Mr Redwood excepted)?

      • Richard1
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        Presumably people will have to choose their tax residency.

      • Andy
        Posted December 18, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        I think that at the moment it could not be done. With the self employed it can be, no problem. However for those employed by companies and on PAYE the system is set up around the employed and as far as I know it is a unitary system, not seperated out by country. It would need a new system for it to work.

  10. DaveM
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    JR: “Why on earth they campaign about health for the General Election in Scotland and Wales I have no idea, as of course next May does not settle anything about Welsh or Scottish health anymore.”

    Simple – because most people in England are unaware that that is the case, thanks to the BBC. They just think it’s called “NHS Scotland” because it’s in Scotland.

    Likewise, the majority of people in England won’t be aware that Labour refused to even entertain the idea of justice for England, they’ll just think it was a White Paper put together by the Coalition, to which Labour’s only reply was “it’ll create 2 classes of MP”. How do you think England’s reaction to that would be if they knew that was truly the case?

    I genuinely don’t mean to suggest that Lab or the BBC are utterly callous, but the horrific events of the last couple of days must be a bit of a relief for those two organisations because all the focus would have been on the WP otherwise.

    We go on and on about manifestos here. Most of your posts are simple and clear, and the subject matter appeals to a large proportion of the electorate. They just need to be publicised by a (metaphorical) massive great bloke with a huge loud hailer!!! Otherwise all most of the electorate sees is BBC spin.

  11. alan jutson
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    John.

    Please keep on plugging away for the most simple and logical solution, which is for a full English Parliament, with the same devolution Power as Scotland.

    Should Wales and Northern Ireland also want it, then that is fair too.

    We simply cannot have one Country in the Union as a special case. its all four the same, or nothing for anyone as far as I am concerned, as that is a true and fair Union.

    Scotland, Wales and N Ireland have their own parliaments/ assembly where English MP’s are not allowed to contribute.
    So what on earth is the Problem with excluding those Three Country’s Mp’s when English Business is being discussed and voted on.

    The real negotiation should have been what powers to devolve, but the three amigos gave all that away in a panic Vow just a few months ago, so we are where we are.

    We do not want England to be broken up into regions with separate powers because that would break up England and set County/city/town against Town.

    We already have Mp’s who represent all areas of England, who contribute to any discussions, so what is wrong with keeping that voting arrangement.

    Why do Politicians always want to complicate matters.

    The old maxim “Keep it simple stupid” has never been more needed.

  12. Oli
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Quite agree re Labour position – they really need to be more grown up about it and recognise the elephant in the room; as do LibDems. However, have to say the proposals and four options from WH seem something of a damp squib; the very inclusion of options rather than a clear and bold position is itself a little disappointing. I fear these options will only lead to more confusion and play into the hands of those who insist is is too complicated to give England a voice. Only strengthens my desire to go all out for an English Parliament and nothing short.

  13. mick
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    i think you are on a road to nowhere with a English parliament Mr Redwood, the lib/lab`s need the Scottish mp`s if they are going to win future elections every body can see this, its just smoke and mirrors from them, but not to worry only 140 days till May 7th then hopefully we will have UKIP the ones the con/lab will have to grovel to

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Your first battle is with your own party’s leadership. Rather than clarity and decisiveness, Hague has chosen evasiveness and undue complication. Many of us expect little more from your party but you must be very disappointed.

    • Bert Young
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Not true ! Wm Hague put across the outcome of the negotiations of the coalition . His tongue was in his cheek but he was robust and determined that a solution was reached in this Parliament . My view was that he fully supported the English having control over their own affairs .

      • David Price
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Mr Hague does not support the English having full control based on what is in the white paper.

        The white paper carries the positions of the separate parties to the discussion, the Conservatives and the LibDems. The Conservative position clearly states at the top of page 25;

        “We are not in favour of proposals to address the West Lothian Question by creating an English Parliament or by reducing the number of Scottish MPs at Westminster.”

        Instead the options include proposals where the Speaker decides what is or is not germain and faffs about with wether English MPs can veto a bill. The most obvious option of an English Parliament giving full control to English MPs is explicitly excluded and no reason or justification given.

        My view is that Mr Hague is determined that an overly-complicated sop is delievered in this parliament.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        What solution do you think is going to happen in this parliament, which ends in just four months? Three different options from the Conservatives, none of which will be introduced before the election when no doubt they will produce yet another option. I think it is you who has his tongue firmly in his Conservative cheek.

      • JoolsB
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        The outcome of the negotiations of the coalition was one proposal from the Lib Dums supporting EVEL based on PR and THREE possible proposals from the conservatives when one was all that was required, ie. the one Cameron promised on the steps of Downing Street on the morning of the 19th Sept. ie. English votes for English Laws. The other two, as Brian Tomkinson says, have lead to unnecessary complications and evasiveness, all to appease and mollify the feelings of the Scots, Welsh & NI MPs and stuff the English.

  15. ChrisS
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    None of the arguments put up by Labour and the Libdems yesterday had any worth whatsoever. The unpleasant intervention from Gerald Kaufmann was particularly reprehensible.

    The entire issue revolves around the fact that England is such a dominant proportion of the Kingdom that it would barely seem credible for a UK Government to be elected then not have unfettered control over English matters. Once the whole business was started, sooner or later this was going to be an inevitable consequence of devolution.

    In the case of Labour, their argument really comes down to their difficulty in forming a majority government at all without at least 30-40 Scottish MPs to bolster their numbers, irrespective of their ability to pass laws in England.

    Let’s imagine, for a moment, that we were starting afresh, with a clean sheet of paper.

    We would surely give each constituent nation of the Kingdom equal devolved powers. We would also devolve more powers regionally over transport and infrastructure spending.

    All MPs would have equal sized constituencies work part time on a part time salary because they would only be concerned with UK wide issues.
    Crucially, in answer to Labour’s facetious argument, all MPs would then have an equal role.

    As far as England is concerned, it would be up to us alone to decide whether we want a separate lot of MEngP to run English matters or ask our MPs to do both jobs.

    I can’t imagine that any voter would chose the latter option, particularly as our MPs seem to be able to do both jobs now without any problem. ( One wonders what all those Scottish MPs find to do all week ?)

    As Westminster would only be used for part of the week, MEngPs could sit as the English Parliament on the other days.

    It would be no business of NI, Scottish and Welsh MPs that England chooses to ask its MPs to have a dual role. After all, they would always be free to call a referendum and vote the Stormont, Holyrood and Cardiff assemblies out of existence and follow the English model.

    English MPS would receive a separate salary as members of the English Parliament and England would pick up the bill for the proportion of time Westminster is used for English matters.

    As for regional devolution this is long overdue. Transport and infrastructure needs to be devolved to the regions who would be expected to pay for it out of their share of taxation.
    For any large national undertaking, the regions would need to make a sound business case and sign up to paying for it out of the return achieved. That will kill of HS2 for a start.

    Personally I would also devolve the NHS so we would see different models develop in different regions and other areas could then see what works and adopt best practice. It would then no longer be a Westminster political football endlessly exploited by all parties for their own narrow interests.

    All Westminster would do is give each citizen a Health voucher to use wherever they wished to be treated and the money would follow the patient. Personally I would include private hospitals in this and allow the patient to pay the difference if they thought it a worthwhile use of their own money.

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      “I can’t imagine that any voter would chose the latter option, particularly as our MPs seem to be able to do both jobs now without any problem. ( One wonders what all those Scottish MPs find to do all week ?)”

      Have to disagree on this one. The MPs currently sitting in the UK Parliament are UK MPs elected on a UK mandate. As for speaking up for England, they have problems even saying the word let alone standing up for it. Two hatted MPs will not work because it will be impossible for the MPs wearing the English hat to take the MP when he is wearing the UK hat to account because he/she would be taking themselves to account. The only democratic option which the main two and a half parties refuse to contemplate, is to reduce the number of UK MPs from 650 to say no more than 150 for reserved UK matters and replace the rest with MPs elected to and dedicated to an English Parliament.

      As for what do Scots (& Welsh & NI) MPs find to do all week? That’s easy. They spend their time meddling and poking their noses into English only business of course!

      • ChrisS
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        I tend to agree with you up to a point, Jools.

        We can only hope that, if what we all want to see ever comes about, English MPs will able to be held to account on their performance in standing up for England.

        The general election will become a much more complicated affair because each party in England will need two manifestos, one for UK matters and one for English ones.

        This of course will not be the case in other parts of the UK.

        English voters will be much more interested in the English policies as they will have much more effect on them.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 18, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        Well, we’ve been through all this before, and so there is little point in me repeating facts about the volume of work on matters reserved to the UK Parliament, in which the MPs elected outside England have just as much legitimate interest as the MPs elected in England.

        • ChrisS
          Posted December 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps our host will post something about the relative workload for the various classes of current MPs.

          In particular :

          1. If constituencies were to be equalised by population across the UK, is it fair to assume that a current English MP would be fully occupied on an average week dealing with all matters ?

          2. If constituencies were to be equalised by population across the UK, how much time in an average Parliamentary week would then be taken up by UK-only matters ?

          3. After the current proposed changes, how many days would a Scottish MP require at Westminster to deal with UK matters not devolved to Scottish MEPs ?

          4. If equal Devolution was introduced across all four home nations, would it be right to used the figure from 3 above as a basis to assess remuneration for the new role of UK-only MP ?

          We can then agree to pay the difference between this figure and current remuneration for the English MPs for their England-Only role.

          I suspect that this would make overall parliamentary representation in England considerably cheaper than that in Scotland and Wales where the role is split between MPs and MSP.

          Reply I sued to represent a constituency with 20,000 voters more than the average, handling all issues as it is in England, and was able to deal with the workload. That is why I favour fewer MPs and doing both the English and UK roles.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 19, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

            Your point 1 would make little difference to the average number of constituents for each MP in England.

            Scotland already uses the same electoral quota as England, and while Wales and Northern Ireland are still significantly over-represented there would only be a small number of seats to be reallocated to England and Scotland, assuming the same total number of MPs, and so the average number of electors per MP in England and Scotland would only be marginally reduced.

            Your points 2 and 3 could only be answered by getting MPs to fill out timesheets detailing exactly how they were using their time throughout their tenure. Obviously the MP for the Western Isles would be putting down a lot of time spent on travelling, both between London and his constituency and between the different islands, but then he could be doing other things on many of those journeys so even that would not give a precise answer.

            I’ve previously given the link to Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998 with its extensive list of matters reserved to the UK Parliament and government, and I’ve previously pointed out how few of the Acts of the UK Parliament to do not extend to Scotland wholly or in part; but none of that makes the slightest difference to those who are determined to spread the gross misrepresentation that MPs elected in Scotland have nothing to do except interfere in English affairs, and so I can’t be bothered to repeat it all over again.

  16. Liz
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    The media, & particularly TV & radio media ,have a problem in understanding what devolution so far has meant – they keep saying the NHS instead of NHS England, NHS Scotland etc. The same with education. The BBC TV early news chose to have as the political correspondent commenting on EVEL a Scot, who seemed to find it funny. They only employ Scots to comment on Scottish affairs, native Welsh speakers on Welsh affairs but do not apply the same rules to England . That tells you eveything you need to know – they favour the Labour position who they know cannot get back into power without the Scottish MPs voting on English affairs. Neither Ed Milliband or Nick Clegg are true democrats or they would not seek to disempower the English voter. The weird thing is that David Cameron seems to be back tracking on EVEL too.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      NHS Scotland is a contradiction in terms and just shows how muddled this entire shambles has been.
      To the ……..SNP though, putting the two together makes propagandist sense, as this sits well with their attacks on Tory ‘cuts’ to the NHS and furthers their cause with the lowest social classes in Scotland to whom their main appeals are aimed.

  17. Sir Graphus
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    What is wrong with having 2 classes of MP? Better than 2 classes of voter.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Indeed; but at present the body of UK citizens is divided into not two but four classes of voters depending on where they live, with those resident in Scotland being first class citizens and those resident in England being fourth class.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Indeed but we have lots of classes of voters too.

      Some in safe seats or where a career politician (who responds only to party not electorate) will win – have a vote of no real value at all. Other get to chose between the less bad of two potential winners. Others are in large constituencies are clearly under represented. That is before we even look at the regional and devolution distortions. Voters who support parties with regional appeal are hugely over represented compared to other parties.

      MP already divided into self interested Career politicians/party place people who have no interest in the electorate at all, beyond getting voted in. They just say what they think will achieve this. They respond mainly to party, elect leaders like Cameron and spend a lot of time with their expense claims and “consultancies”. These are alas perhaps 70% of parliament.

      The rest often have principles but rarely get very far for that reason.

  18. eeyore
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    So keen are Labour and Lib Dem MPs to carve England into regions that one really wonders whether it might not be kinder and wiser to give them what they want.

    How salutary it would be to see the South East, freed from the burden of Scotland, Wales, the North and the South-west, power ahead in prosperity and happiness.

    And how salutary too to see those underperforming, overcomplaining economic badlands, stuffed to bursting with government towns and hereditary claimants, learn how their bread is really buttered.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      But I expect you would have been happy enough to see tens of thousands of men from those “economic badlands” volunteering to fight for their country.

  19. Bill
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Agree with the tenor of the remarks above.

    What is inconsistent – even shameful – about the Labour Party’s current stance is that they did not offer a ‘Constitutional Convention’ while Blair and his erstwhile mentor Derry Irvine were tinkering with the reform of the House of Lords and the setting up of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

    I remember hearing it said at the time that no one was clever enough to understand the reforms of the Blair government except Irvine – and this was the man who spent £650,000 on wall paper http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/politics/61665.stm.

    Arguably the options for English laws for English voters now being floated are simply an extension of the process they pushed through. If we did not need a Constitutional Convention then, we don’t need one now.

    • sjb
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Derry Irvine did not spend £650,000 on wallpaper; it was £59,000. Assuming the quality materials lasted 100 years that works out at £590 per year.

      • Bill
        Posted December 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        If you are right, I apologise. I made the mistake of believing the BBC’s report.

  20. JoolsB
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    John, I’ll say it again as you decided not to show my comments in your last article. The three options Hague proposed yesterday are an insult to every man, woman and child in England. The only option which should have been on the table (other than an English Parliament) is the one Cameron promised on the morning of the 19th Sept., i.e. ENGLISH VOTES FOR ENGLISH LAWS. Yesterday Hague in a bid to mollify the Scots, Welsh & NI MPs, appeared to be pushing something totally different where all UK MPs including the 117 Scots, Welsh & NI ones can still vote on English only issues albeit in the final stage of the bill as long as enough MPs with English seats have supported it first. This is a rotten idea and just as undemocratic as the present system because parties vote along party lines and not national lines and should Labour get in next May propped up by Scots Nats, we all know Scots MPs will still be setting the agenda for England through their colleagues with English seats before they then have a final vote on what was their idea in the first place. How does this insult deliver any form of justice for England?

    Despite England crying out for a voice, the attendance in the house yesterday was abysmal, obviously a sign of how much MPs purporting to ‘represent’ English seats care about England. I counted less than two dozen Tory MPs and a handful of LibDums. Labour were slightly better but of course they were only there to ram home their opposition to the idea of only those elected in England having any say on it – heaven forbid!

    Yet again Cameron has reneged on a promise. He won’t deliver EVEL and by doing so has shown yet again that he does not give a stuff about fairness for England. (I won’t say equality because that has never been proposed for England, we’re still waiting.) Don’t be surprised when England returns the favour next May John. All three Con/Lab/Lib parties deserve England’s contempt!

  21. agricola
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    If you go ahead with English votes for English issues it is logical and democratic. Any of Haigh’s alternatives are unacceptable. This is what Scotland ,Wales, and Northern Ireland have to varying degrees. None of the latter three countries need a set of MPs just to visit Westminster and debate joint national or UK issues.

    They all have a set of MPs in their own Parliaments and Assemblies who can visit Westminster to debate none devolved and UK issues. Better still do it by video conferencing and save on travel and subsistence. My only caveat is that voting should be based on equal sized constituencies throughout the UK.

    We all know why Labour and the Lib/Dems are against this. They lose power in England until they have a political programme and a history of competence that they can sell to the English. We the English should not be forced to buy into policies we do not believe in
    due to an undemocratic balance in the Westminster Parliament. I am frankly tired of their blatantly dishonest approach to this question.

  22. Atlas
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Succinctly put, John.

    But will Cameron deliver?

  23. Qubus
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I have to confess to not following this topic very carefully. However, the obvious and equitable solution surely is clearly: Scottish MPs should not vote on devolved issues.
    End of story.

  24. Bert Young
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I saw much of the debate and came to the conclusion that there would be little hope in coming to a conclusion before the election . The Labour party see this issue as part of their election platform and a divergence from the UKIP threat ; they are desperate to have the Scottish MPs on their side knowing they have no chance of control without them .

    There were only a couple of constructive points made from the opposition benches yesterday ; most were pathetic attempts to discredit the case for England . Democracy surely must be at the forefront ; the proportion of England in the Union is undeniable and its majority should count . I think that UKIP will come out with its case for England and majority rule otherwise its case on Europe is lost .

  25. John E
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Just adding my voice in support. You are spot on.

  26. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    What is the matter with BBC journalists. Interviewing a senior Labour figure recently, they protested that EVEL would create ‘two classes of MP’.

    Why didn’t the interviewer (think it was Andrew Neill) point out that WE HAVE TWO CLASSES OF MP ALREADY. As Tam Dyell said:

    “For how long will English constituencies and English Honourable members tolerate … at least 119 Honourable Members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland exercising an important, and probably often decisive, effect on English politics while they themselves have no say in the same matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?”

    It was heartening to see you, Mr. Redwood, clearly exercised on this matter yesterday in parliament. Good to know some English MPs care about this.

  27. Eleanor Justice
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Well done Mr Redwood! but after hearing all the England haters against you I would not hold my breath.Any thing with the word England on it is a red rag to a bull to these people
    I am a member of The Campaign for an English Parliament and over the years we have heard every argument against this undemocratic state of affairs.
    And I do not think after yesterday we are any nearer. EVEL not good enough.

  28. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Apart from the mantra : “English Parliament ” I fear the English electorate do not have anything to get their teeth into.

    British education at most levels does not train children in the nuts and bolts and the “how-to” of democracy. It may talk “about” this or that committee and provide appropriate ticks, stars and house-marks on a child’s neat stick-drawing showing the interlinking relationships in general terms via narrow black ink line but ONLY ruled pencil margins at both sides of the page measuring exactly ONE centimetre width but NOT using blue fibre tip-pen,( as the former class teacher allowed ) with ALL words double and NOT single-underlined. That’s yer lot Children of Cromwell’s Revolution hundreds of years on!

    If representative democracy, as we know it, is to promote constitutional change via multi-tasking, multi-titled “same old faces” being almost rubber-stamped into power by an increasingly lower number of people actually voting for anyone at all in smaller and smaller versions of Westminster in political ponds called English, Welsh, Scottish Irish, Regional, Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western or Dogger Bank then our children need a proper political training rather than what passes as education.Training is needed in “How to be a Chairperson , a Trades Union Secretary, a Delegate to a Local Party Committee etc ad nauseum or just forget it. Politics is the Art of the Possible not a means of getting even more free lunches for what has become literally, whole families of politicians where at Town Hall meetings of Councillors do not refer to their colleagues as anything like a “The Right Honourable Member says….” but ” Like I told you yesterday witnessed by our Mary, cousin Jack…”

  29. Bryan
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Offering multiple choice for EVEL is a recipe for doing nothing or even worse – a compromise. Aaaahg!

    As a fellow Yorkshireman I find Mr Hague most disappointing, vague and wishywashy rather than his Tyke upbringing where for most 1+1 still = 2.

    I now read that Scottish genes Mr Cameron has told Mrs Sturgeon that he will support her campaign for votes for 16 year olds. Oh dear!

    He is in Office by virtue of the English vote which he continues to disregard at his peril. To paraphrase the Bard – better he woos us sooner than too late.

    Or are we at that point now?

    • ChrisS
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      I too was deeply unimpressed with the options put forward by WH.

      It looks very much like Cameron has no intention of fighting for true EVEL any more than a proper renegotiation with the EU.

      He’s obviously going to go along with some wishy washy compromise which none of us will be satisfied with.

      As a Conservative I’m very disappointed because even when he’s talking about issues that are outside the coalition he fails to offer clear policies we can be happy with.

  30. Iain Gill
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I thought the 4 different types were something along the lines of:
    1 Those allocated a safe seat as the child of someone high up in the party
    2 Those that have done PPE
    3 Those that have never done a proper job in their entire life
    4 Those that keep banging on about the NHS being the envy of the world (it isn’t) despite it being regarded as sub standard by the vast majority of patients who actually come into contact with it
    Not many left if you exclude those 4 eh?

  31. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    This is outrageous self serving behaviour by labour.
    However I am equally vexed by the two classes of Mp currently working at Westminster.
    There are those, ever careful to tow the party line. This breed are in the job for the money, the cache of being an Mp. This group have usually jettisoned all political convictions that might get in the way of their desire for power and influence.
    Secondly we have the honest Mp that simply wants to make a difference, serve their own country and people. This breed are mostly made up of those that have done something of substance before entering politics.
    Unfortunately we seem to have far more of the former than the latter.
    This week we have David Cameron redefining the deficit as a % of GDP (instead of in cash terms) in order to claim that the ‘deficit has now been halved’. What kind of bankrupt spiv of a leader would use a change of metrics to create a false good news message..

  32. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Well there’s good nationalism and bad nationalism:

    Scottish Nationalism good – English Nationalism bad.

    Scottish Nationalism – Far-Left, so good.
    English Nationalism – Far-Right, so bad.

    Scottish Nationalism – SNP, good.
    English Nationalism – UKIP and others, bad.

    Scottish Nationalism – Bullied and aggrieved.
    English Nationalism – Overbearing and arrogant.

    Scottish Nationalism – No nukes and no army, good.
    English Nationalism – Military and imperialistic, bad.

    Scottish Nationalism – Labour and pals hegemony, good.
    English Nationalism – Pals of Labour kept out, bad.

    etc…….

    • REPay
      Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Spot on – do you have access to the BBC editorial guidelines?

    • Iain Gill
      Posted December 18, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Open (antagonism ed) in Scotland against the English good…

      Charging English students studying in Scotland more than students from anywhere else in Europe good…

      Free prescriptions in Scotland expensive in England good…

      Free old age care in Scotland, old age care in England funded by selling the old persons home good…

      And so on

  33. acorn
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Off topic and much more interesting. The RAC reckons we will soon be buying Unleaded for 99 pence per litre. I reckon that could occur, if the price of crude oil comes in at circa $37 a barrel. At 99 p/l, 74.5 % will be tax.

    Anyway, the EVEL thing has been welded to the “pending” tray for five years at least. It will have suckered a few voters that always fall for these pre-election “theatrical” promises. There is no way the Westminster / Whitehall machine is going to give away anything worth anything, to a sub-national level of government.

    Cameron foolishly made some pre-referendum promises to Scots on split taxation (federal style without a federal structure – tricky); but, there is enough wiggle room to dilute those promises with a strong dose of smoke and mirrors.

    The only practical way to go is to regionalise England on a NUTS1 basis IF we stay in the EU. It works OK in other European federal states and particularly well in little Switzerland with its 26 Cantons forming a bottom up federal structure. (Westminster and Whitehall will be going for the smelling salts at the mere mention of such bottom up direct democracy).

    • bluedog
      Posted December 18, 2014 at 2:55 am | Permalink

      ‘The only practical way to go is to regionalise England’.

      Won’t happen unless directed by a military dictatorship.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 18, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      I do not object to more democracy being given to the people, especially Swiss style. But is must be with the full consent and will of the people. It must not be imposed from above as it is now. That is not democracy, that is dictatorship.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 18, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      I hope that JR has taken in your comment and will recognise that the only way to stop people like you trying to break up England under the guise of devolution is to establish and entrench a devolved Parliament for the whole of England.

  34. REPay
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if there are five classes of MPs.

    Those that sit for large populous constituencies (largely Tory and in the south east) and those that sit for the new rotten boroughs (largely Labour with smaller and shrinking voter bases.)

    • bluedog
      Posted December 18, 2014 at 3:00 am | Permalink

      Very true. Look at the Isle of Wight with 100,000 voters, whereas what used to be called the Western Isles boasts just 25,000; a shocking gerrymander. As most Western Islanders are on some degree of benefit and most Vectians (is that the right term?) are taxpayers, the injustice is profound.

  35. nigel
    Posted December 18, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    JR:
    You are spot on. What is the programme/timetable now for the White Paper?

  36. Terry
    Posted December 18, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Labour are adopting this posture purely for reasons of self-interest. They know that without their Scottish MPs, the Labour party would never again manage a majority in the Commons. As it stands, there are 59 MPs representing Scottish constituencies and this is way out of proportion with those representing England (533). I wonder who created that anomaly.

    Their argument is indefensible – It goes against the grain of democracy but there again, that’s socialism all over. They are only interested in holding power so that they may continue to dominate those of us from the back streets of Britain whilst always pretending that they are there to help us. Please! Never again!

  37. Peter Stroud
    Posted December 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Scots MPs have had influence when the purely English and Welsh hunting act was debated. In fact at least one took part in the committee stage, regardless of the fact that hunting was already banned in Scotland. I remember how Sir Nicholas Soames made the important point that the Scot had no right to be involved with the bill. Labour has no real regard for democracy, only narrow party politics.

  38. ChrisS
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    The Telegraph and Guardian are both reporting this morning that in an interview in the Indy, Salmond is hinting that the SNP will set aside their normal policy of not voting on English matters to support a minority Labour Government.

    If this is the case, David Cameron had better smarten up and forget his three option strategy and make absolutely sure that, going into the election, he has one clear policy on the subject : full EVEL.

    If we end up with a situation with Miliband in power, Balls proposes a draconian budget hiking up taxes on England and gets it through only with SNP votes, there will be hell to pay.

    Cameron has got his strategy wrong on all the major issues to do with the constitution starting with his insulting remarks about UKIP supporters and letting the LibDems get away with not supporting the equalisation of constituencies. I commented that this was a huge mistake at the time but now, the failure to put through that justifiable legislation which would have cost Labour an estimated 20 seats, and his failure to make any kind of deal with UKIP are likely to prove truly catastrophic.

    If just the constituency changes had been pushed through and Labour were to lose a further 25-30 seats to the SNP, it would clearly leave the Conservatives as the largest party.

    As it is, most pundits are predicting Labour to be the largest party and he will clearly stitch up a shabby deal with Salmond to try and run the country.

    You couldn’t make it up, could you ?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page