Friday, March 10, 2006

The West Lothian Question needs sorting now

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs Lord Falconer has strongly rejected both an English Parliament and allowing only English MPs to vote on English issues. He claims there is
no demand at all for devolution to England or the English MPs only being able to vote on English issues.
One has to wonder where he's been for the past eight years, although at the moment all his jobs could perhaps explain it.

The West Lothian Question has still to be satisfactorily resolved and it is absurd for Labour Party ministers, the party that benefits the most from this anomaly when forcing things like University top-up fees onto England, to claim that it is irrelevant or that the current system is working. But it is true that electing another set of politicians is not an option that commands popular support, whilst having different categories of MPs with different voting rights would result in confusion and gridlock and Parliament. But there is a precedent for a compromise solution. When Northern Ireland was given its own Parliament back in the early 1920s, the number of Northern Irish MPs at Westminster was cut from twenty-nine to thirteen (later reduced to twelve with the abolition of the University constituencies). Northern Ireland had a reduced number of MPs in exchange for being able to vote on everything and it proved a workable solution at Westminster for fifty years. Why not repeat this and cut the number of Scottish MPs to about forty, with all holding full rights? It wouldn't answer every last point but it could work in a way that none of the other options could.

2 comments:

Toque said...

That's just a fudge. The British people may have been prepared to accept an anomaly arising from Northern Ireland, but that was then.

Why should the English accept continued interference from Scotland and Wales when they have their own legislatures when we haven't even been given the say in how we wish to be governed.

The Scots and Welsh chose to end the unitary state and ring-fence their politics from English interference, now we should have the right to reciprocate.

I for one won't accept anything less.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Why do we need to create yet another set of politicians, doing comparatively little to improve people's lives (just what has the Welsh Assembly done for the people of Wales?), creating more jobs and salaries for the political classes and confusing everyone?

Just what could an English Parliament do to benefit us all?

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