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How's this going to work in practice?  John Redwood thinks it's England's turn? Is it a two tier parliament now?  A lot of crabbit S.N.P. MPs.

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as far as i know it means no scottish mp can ever become a minister or pm.

i think it beaches the act of union too as some are saying its indy (for us) by the back door.

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I don't see how that can be correct, tiggy wigs, How can the PM for the UK be classified as an EVEL issue?  ...And I am not sure if someone can be a minister in two parliaments?   Did Alex Salmond leave the Scottish Parliament in order to stand for Westminster?  <scratches heid> 

As I understand it, it will put an end to laws, such  as English only tuition fees, which was carried by Scottish Labour MPs who voted against them for their own constituents.

As a Scot living in England, it seems fair to me and should be applied where is it clear that the issue ONLY affects people living in England; and would be similar to devolved issues in other parliaments and assembly's?  

I am sure where there is ambiguity, there will be plenty of argy bargy on the matter through the reading stages; and I would have thought it would be incumbent on Westminster to demonstrate that it was an English only issue?

That's my understanding, so far but I am sure there will be lots of nuances that need ironed out.

It seeks to answer the question put by Labour MP Tam Dalyell, who asked "Why, under devolution, Scottish MPs could vote on English-only legislation while English MPs could not vote on some Scottish laws." It's a reasonable question?

 

 

 

Edited by harper

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they would have to make sure that all their ministers and pm can vote on all issues i think.

or theyd be left in a situation where the minister who would be proposing a bill couldnt as he was from a scottish constituency or where the pm couldnt vote on an issue, i dont see how that would be allowed to happen.

it is a mine field of ifs and what ifs though i agree

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EVEL is a step in the right direction but a federal UK would be my preference.  I am done with independence for one part of the UK, to be honest.  I want to see a fair deal for all parts of the UK, including Scotland.

I'm wondering why a Scottish MP would be proposing a bill that would ONLY be relevant in England  but anyway.... the recent change in English fox hunting ban being a prime example - what a hash that was...

My understanding, and I have only looked at it roughly, is that all MPs get to vote but there is an additional English only vote if it is an English ONLY matter.  I honestly don't see what the issue is here?  Both the Irish, Welsh and Scottish get to vote on their own devolved issues, without input from England.  Cross boarder issues, notwithstanding, why should it be an issue that England has the same consideration on issues that ONLY affect England.  In fact, there is more cross border involvement in English matters than on any devolved issues. What is the big deal here?

As it stands...If a Bill contains elements which do not apply to Scotland, Northern Ireland and, in some cases Wales, an extra stage will be added to the process to allow those MPs whose constituencies are affected to give or withhold their consent to the legislation – effectively, a veto. For those Bills which wholly and exclusively relate to England, the Committee stage will be taken by English MPs only, but with all MPs voting at the other stages.

These are sensible and pragmatic steps which do nothing to limit Scottish MPs’ rights to represent their constituents, but which do give MPs from other parts of the UK the chance to veto proposals which only affect their constituents.

If Evel had been in place thousands of our young people would have been spared English tuition fees and for that reason alone, I support it.

Edited by harper

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I don't think it's at all straightforward. One of the main concerns relates to the reduction of funding for Scotland based on decisions made by English MPs.  For example if there is a decision to extend privatisation of NHS in England then this would have a detrimental effect to funding in Scotland. 

Another English Own matter appears to be regarding expansion plans at Heathrow.  I think it could very fairly be argued that national airports in such a small country as the UK are a matter for all parts of that Nation.

It certainly pushes the country towards further division and could possibly hasten Independence.

It also rules out any chance of there ever being a Scottish Prime Minister as he, or she, would be unable to vote on matters relating to the whole Nation. 

It's an absurd mess and once again demonstrates Cameron's inability to think strategically.  270 ministers voted against it. Quite remarkable really as there are, after all only 59 Scottish MPs.

The BBC reported that there were supporters who voted from all nations – that would be one Scottish MP - Mundell.  Hardly accurate reporting.

 

Edited by Pat

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The West Lothian question has needed to be addressed for some time.   England was left out of the devolution process and EVEL is one way of addressing this issue, albeit clunky and a bit late in the process.  

I think issues the NHS and Heathrow will have to be examined carefully and there will have to be rigorous scrutiny and process for extending any proposed legislation into a final English only vote.  I am sure there will be robust debate and opposition where it is felt that cross border issues apply; but there are clearly areas where English ONLY matters will apply and this should be settled by English MPs. 

<still scratching heid> I have to say I am still baffled about the Scottish PM issue, we've had two already, so this must be some constitutional thorn that is going over my heid... you'll have to say more on that one?  

I am also baffled about the SNP claiming it will push the country towards further divisions..... I thought that was what they wanted?  As I understand it, everything stays the same and the extra vote only applies when the issue affects England only...seems fair to me.

I agree it is an absurd mess and I do think a UK federation is long overdue or something that meets the needs of all the chooks in the UK nest.   We are adding on bits of legislation here and there to rectify grievances and everyone is getting the 'ump - as they say down south.

Edited by harper

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I think in the long game SNP supporters might consider EVEL to be an attractive constitutional change, harper, and a driver towards Independence but in the short term it does make Scottish MPs appear rather relegated to a second class position.

You only have to watch Westminster at work to see how debate works?  At the moment the war cry of 'high wage low welfare economy' ticks every box and shuts down all discussion. I have absolutely no faith in there being 'rigorous scrutiny' of any topic nor do I think for one minute that Scottish MPs will have any say in anything pertaining to the Health Service in England – despite the fact that there could be serious budgetary consequences for Scotland.

The Prime Minister issue seems to me to be pretty clear.  Say, as we have had before, a Scottish Prime Minister – he, or she,  would not be able to discuss and participate in decisions affecting England.

As things have stood and as they will stand Westminster does most certainly not meet 'the needs of all the chooks in the nest.'  Good way of looking at it.  I think we've ended up with a cuckoo.

 

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The Prime Minister issue seems to me to be pretty clear.  Say, as we have had before, a Scottish Prime Minister – he, or she,  would not be able to discuss and participate in decisions affecting England.

Ok, call me thick but I still don't get this.  My understanding is that all ministers participate in all legislative matters but that there will be extra tier for English only matters,  if and when it applies. I am not sure in what context we would have two Prime Ministers, pre independence but isn't that just the same as the UK PM not having any say in issues devolved to the Scottish Parliament?  I can see that the SNP are in a difficult position but when the current system can result in the disgrace that is English tuition fees, then something needs to be done? I am not sure why the SNP would want a say in English only matters and I am not sure that national funding issues, such as the NHS, would be categorised as a English only issue.  

The cry at Westminster is Tory led.  Evel is another matter...

Edited by harper

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It's a theoretical issue but it seems to me to be ludicrous that we could have a Prime Minister being asked to step out of the chamber.  I don't think people grasp what's being proposed. I think Tommy Sheppard has summed the issues up pretty well in his usual astute and sensible way: He also addresses the tutition fees topic, albeit, looking at it from a different viewpoint.

"History was made today - and not in a good way. For the first time ever the rights of Scottish MPs have been curtailed in the Westminster Parliament. There will now be two classes of MP – those that can vote on everything and those that can’t.

"I made a speech which you can see here but it's worth highlighting a couple of points. The UK parliament has decided to devolve power within the British state over the last 18 years – hence the creation of Scottish and Welsh parliaments and the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly. I’d be the first to admit that this has created an anomaly in terms of the governance of England.

This is a constitutional imperfection, but it’s pretty minor in comparison to others. If you’re looking for flaws in our political system wouldn’t more of a priority be that a party can have a majority in the House of Commons with barely more than a third of the votes cast, or that most members of the parliament aren’t elected in the first place.

That said, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t look at the problem. Every SNP MP would gladly, and with good grace, vote for measures which would give the people of England more control over their own lives. There are many ways to do this: an English parliament, regional legislative assemblies or even new powers for the existing structure of local government in England.

The EVEL proposals involve none of this. They are not about devolving power to the people; they are about the Tories keeping power for themselves. In truth, this is a political campaigning move, not a constitutional reform. It is about the Tories pandering to an English nationalism promoted by UKIP which sees them leeching support on their right flank.

The irony is that they are doing this in such a way as to fuel distrust and resentment amongst the people of Scotland. At the moment all MPs have equal rights in the parliament. No MPs can vote on devolved matters, me included.

The Tories are trying to make the House of Commons into two different things: a UK legislature on the one hand and an English legislature on the other. You can only do this if some MPs have more rights than others.

The proposals themselves involve an additional consent stage where English MPs will have to meet and give their consent. Effectively this means we get asked to step outside whilst they have a discussion. But crucially, at this stage English MPs could kill a proposal stone dead and we would get no further debate on the matter. When I pointed this out, quoting the proposed clause (84 N (4) if you can be bothered) you could see Tory MPs scouring the order paper to check. I genuinely think many of them did not realise this. [AND I THINK MOST PEOPLE DO NOT REALIZE THIS]

The other problem is how you define what is a piece of England only legislation. The proposals say that it is where only England is affected geographically and is a matter where the Scottish (or Welsh) parliament can legislate separately. Sounds fair? But hold on a moment, sometimes things that happen in England affect people in Edinburgh. Let’s take the example of tuition fees. If there’s a proposal to increase tuition fees in England it would make it harder for students in Edinburgh to go to Newcastle or Manchester universities. It would also mean Edinburgh’s universities would have to put up fees for English students. Anyone telling me that the people who elected me wouldn’t want me to try to influence that decision?

Or what about the health service? The SNP has always voted against the privatisation of health services in England because of the knock on effects on the health service here – and because we don’t want US health care corporations getting a foothold on our border. But from now we may be unable to vote on particular proposals.

All of this is unnecessary given the Tories have a UK as well as an English majority. There will not be a single piece of legislation passed as a result of these proposals that would not have been pushed through anyway. It just makes it a bit easier and the majority a bit bigger for the Tories. But in doing so they have made Scottish MPs second class citizens in their own parliament.

All of this fuels the arguments for the most obvious way of all to rectify constitutional anomalies – and that is to take the power to govern ourselves. That day just came a little closer after today’s votes."

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Mr Sheppard doesn't really address the issue of tuition fees as at all.  The vote for tuition fees in England was carried by a vote of 5.  My understanding is that if it been an  English only vote it wouldn't have got through and Mr Sheppard wouldn't have to worry about rises in English tuition fees.   

He also states, "Every SNP MP would gladly, and with good grace, vote for measures which would give the people of England more control over their own lives.  Nice sentiment, how about showing some of it by waving tuition fees for English  students attending Scottish universities?   The SNP sit in Westminster to represent the people of Scotland not England, as they should; and  let's not pretend otherwise.  The SNP are also too bound up with breaking up the UK to be considered the party of unity.

As the man says ..  "I’d be the first to admit that this has created an anomaly in terms of the governance of England." No shit, Sherlock.  There are many in England that would welcome an English parliament but they have not been offered one,  EVEL is about as good as it gets for England; and how patronising of Mr Sheppard to link anyone that holds that opinion to UKIP.  

Sorry, not buying this one...

 

Edited by harper

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There's been an anomaly since forever but this is a dug's breakfast.  We've now got a parliament where the Tories' main interest is in building a stronghold and let's face it that's what this is about. Secretly the SNP are rubbing their mitts with glee but Shepperd. the Englishman makes sense . Don't know how you can look at it any other way - basically it's a quasi English Parliament playing into the hands of Ukip and English Nationlism takes a big step forward.

This was Tory driven not a cross party measure and it's aimed at keeping Labour out. Scotland's interests are of no interest to Cameron and Co but their main concern is keeping their grip on their ideologically driven position of tearing apart the welfare state.  The focus is on the South East.  So see what Harper is saying about Federalism but this isn't Federalism. 

The tuition fees are a devolved issue. The Tories are all for hammering the youngsters so now they can crack on.  EVEL is as good as it gets for England.  They are in a very superior position.

And agree would be daft to have an MP who got turfed out the door for many decisions. Cameron's not counting an there being a Scottish Prime Minister the position is designed for the Oxford boys.

 

 

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Shepperd the Englishman? He's Irish ... :P

I am sure English tuition fees were introduced by Labour and carried by the Scottish Labour vote.

"The tuition fees are a devolved issue"  Time England had some devolved issues of their own. ;)

"England is in a superior position."  Yup, London pavements are paved with gold and there is no poverty in England.  Ya think?

Quasi English parliament where the majority of Bills will involve all ministers, with a few reserved for English only matters.... hmm, how do you square that one?

Majority governments of any persuasion tend to maintain strongholds.... bit like the SNP in Scotland. ;)

EVEL is a pale imitation of what federalism could look like.  Bring it on!

 

 

Edited by harper

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They have devolved issues, harper. Health, Justice and Education.  English students pay fees. The Scottish Government chose not to charge tuition fees but I don't think they would be able to do that if they offered this deal to other UK students. It would be bedlum as who would choose to study in England if they could go to some of the world's top universities and not pay?  I don't think it's right and not sure what you mean by the Scottish Labour Vote?  Surely they've not now split the Labour party into sections?  SNP would not have been voting on the issue.

Yes, the majority of MP are English but I think Westminster is becoming more of a Tory stronghold.  That seems to be the plan.

 

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The bottom line is that there is a United Kingdom Parliament where some Nations within the Union are excluded from decision making.  It's a mess.

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Fees were charged for students from England, Wales and NI at the request of the UK Government who wanted to ensure a consistent approach for those students in England, Wales and NI across the UK.  If England wnat free education they just have to vote for a Government that promises it .....like the Lib Dems may be 

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They have devolved issues, harper. Health, Justice and Education.  English students pay fees. The Scottish Government chose not to charge tuition fees but I don't think they would be able to do that if they offered this deal to other UK students. It would be bedlum as who would choose to study in England if they could go to some of the world's top universities and not pay?  I don't think it's right and not sure what you mean by the Scottish Labour Vote?  Surely they've not now split the Labour party into sections?  SNP would not have been voting on the issue.

Yes, the majority of MP are English but I think Westminster is becoming more of a Tory stronghold.  That seems to be the plan.

 

I am aware of what issues are devolved and the decision of the Scottish Government and the Labour MPs who voted for tuition fees in England.... only too well. 

"The Higher Education Bill was backed by 316 votes to 311 at Westminster.  Some 46 Scottish Labour MPs voted with the government, even though the plans will not apply north of the border. Five voted against and three abstained."

 Had EVEL been in place for the final reading of tuition fees, as an English ONLY, issue, tuition fees would never have been passed.  It would have been defeated. This is why I believe EVEL is an important step in addressing the West Lothian Question.  

...And it's not the first time foul play has been called on UK democracy.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3432767.stm

 

Edited by harper

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I think that was wrong, harper.  I think it's a scandal that the tuition fees are so ridiculously high but I do not think that EVEL is right and it's an excellent example of foul play in something called UK Democracy.

It is sheer arrogance to use the UK Parliament as a place where all MPs do not have equal rights, when it is supposedly the parliament of nations.

I definitely get the point that Canny Lass has made about the main purpose being to keep Labour out and no doubt many SNP ministers will be rubbing there hands in glee as Cameron breaks up the union.

And the issue of future Prime Ministers is of paramount importance.  No more Ramsay Macdonalds.  It will be all 'Oxford boys'.

And given that the Speaker is adopted from candidates identified by the 'Father of the House' then the guy with the veto will be very likely to toe the line. 

I think we've covered the topic more than the BBC and the newspapers despite this being such an important constitutional change – probably slipped past the majority of the population.

 

 

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If we are talking about anomalies, the issue of devolved matters for England should have been dealt with alongside the setting up of the other UK governments and assembles and I think the biggest disgrace of Scottish Labour MPs was that they voted against tuition fees for their own constituents while backing it in England.  How can there be trust in grace and goodwill where something like that could happen?

Every other part of the UK has devolved issues, I don't see why England should be the exception.  It may not be the most elegant of mechanisms to achieve it but, as I have said, this is a good as it gets for England and I would hope that it is eventually developed into federalism for the UK,  Maybe once England has some parity over issues that should be reserved then I might start to worry about hypothetical issues; but, as always, we can agreed to differ. xxx  

As it stands, the average man on a English street sees Scotland, (quite rightly), being able to make decisions on devolved issues and also have a say in English only matters.  Historically, the SNP have abstained from voting on matters that do not affect Scotland and I feel this is the right thing to do, as did Alex Salmond.  I think the crossing of that line over fox hunting was a bad move on the part of the SNP and has played a part in strengthening the case for EVEL.   Cross border issues will be complex but I don't see the SNP shying away from ensuring that Scottish interests are at the forefront of their debate.  We haven't actually seen EVEL put to the test yet. 

Edited by harper

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I think it was disgraceful toeing the Labour line of backing the Tories – one of the reasons Labour has all but disappeared in Scotland.

We haven't seen it put to the test but we do know about the Veto.

And as explained by Sheppard. "The proposals themselves involve an additional consent stage where English MPs will have to meet and give their consent. Effectively this means we get asked to step outside whilst they have a discussion. But crucially, at this stage English MPs could kill a proposal stone dead and we would get no further debate on the matter. When I pointed this out, quoting the proposed clause (84 N (4) if you can be bothered) you could see Tory MPs scouring the order paper to check. I genuinely think many of them did not realise this. " [AND I THINK MOST PEOPLE DO NOT REALIZE THIS]

Their own MPs don't even understand clause 84 N(4)

EVEL was on the cards long before the fox hunting debacle - on the day after the Referendum to be precise so I don't think that is what prompted it? 

Things have changed with 56 SNP ministers at Westminster rather than six. I think they should lend their clout to issues that can be argued, such as fox hunting, to go beyond England. 

I would reiterate once again – if no Scots can be PM then Parliament is no democracy. 

Of course SNP will not shy away from putting Scottish issues at the forefront of debate. Neither will Cameron and Co give place any importance on them.

No one is arguing that there were not anomalies but give England their own Parliament and sort that anomaly – don't put them in charge at Westminster. That is just wrong.

I don't think anyone would argue with your view that this is the best thing for England.  However, it is supposed to be a Parliament of Nations.  I detest unfairness and arrogance and to me that's what EVEL in this form represents.

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I think Trident should be a Scottish only issue – including proposed cuts to the security.

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Labour introduced tuition fees for England and it was carried by the Labour majority, England and Wales.  Scottish Labour MPs also carried the vote for Foundation Hospitals in England, too, I believe.   I am not actually sure how the Tories and Lib Dems voted on either of these issue. 

I didn't say the fox hunting vote promoted it, I said it strengthened it - subtle but importance difference.

I think  there are many people in England that would like an English parliament but the expense of setting that up for the very few bills that should be reserved issues seems extravagant.  I am not sure why the people think Scotland should have the right to determine their own rights, without interference from England (rightly so) but that Scotland should have a say about issues that only affect England.  How is that justified, exactly? 

Yes, there are 56 SNPs in Westminster representing Scotland and campaigning for the break up of the UK... you can see how that doesn't really work for the rest of the UK...  and there are 594 others... it's not all on Mr Sheppard's shoulders.

I doubt that national defence will ever be a single country issue but I can see where you are coming from on Trident. 

 

 

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I don't think it's justified, harper, and neither does anyone else as far as I have heard. Everyone recognises the anomaly but it's not right that English MPs hold a superior position in what is, after all, supposedly a UK Parliament.  You don't rectify something by adopting an arrogant and high handed position.  And, erm, there is, of course, that little issue of P.M. and, dare I say other important positions. 

Yes, the issue of Trident is a disgrace. To have something so disgusting foisted on you and the commitment to a green Britain dumped. 

 

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They only have a veto on English only issues and Scotland's insistence in voting on English only matters could also be considered arrogant and high handed?  Evel may not have arisen if Labour had followed the SNP principle of abstaining from votes that clearly only affect England but we are where we are.

I have also read that it is a move to lock Labour out but they seem to have done that quite effectively themselves - with no immediate hope of a return to Government.  Sadly, I think we have the Tories for the duration.  Evel seems the least of it, although it does look like the Lords will kick Osborne's tax credit policy into touch.  Still, gives the SNP the perfect excuse to call another referendum:)

I am still trying to work out how the election of a PM could be considered an English only issue.... maybe it will come to me:) 

  

Edited by harper

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The election of a PM is not an English only issue – I didn't know that's what you were thinking but how could there be a Scottish Prime Minister when he, or she, would be unable to vote on all issues at Westminster. The notion is simply ludicrous. 

I really think that Gerald Kaufman, the longest serving MP, who has savaged EVEL (as has Angela Eagle and others) is spot on:

"Even the title of this motion sounds racist," he said.

"Is it not a glory of this house that every MP from those holding the highest office through to the most newly elected MP is equal in the division lobbies. Is it not a fact that this government is undermining not simply whatever differences there may be between outlooks from people of different counties within the UK but this government is undermining the whole basis of British democracy," he added.

He is so right.

The Tax Credits are a whole other ball game. Get tore in Baroness Meacher.

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