Monday, March 25, 2013

McKay Commission proposes a two tier House of Commons, where English MPs could finally hold sway on England-only laws, measure undermines democracy and is politically dangerous, Tories need to fix their Scottish Party

Dear All

In response to the West Lothian Question, an idea has been put forward, Laws that affect England alone should no longer be passed in the Commons without the consent of a majority of English MPs.

When someone goes to Westminster, they have full voting rights, whether they intend to exercise that right is purely a personal matter, but the reality unless independent, most MPs follow the party line.

The inquiry has concluded Scottish MPs shouldn’t be voting on English domestic matters, you could view this as a move against the Labour Party who tends to dominate in the number of Scottish MPs returned to Westminster.

Lib Dems have 11 MPs, the SNP 6 MPs and the Tories have 1, in the form of David Mundell.

And you can understand up to a point, why this is a problem, in 2004, Tony Blair pushed through tuition fees for England even though most English MPs voted against the policy.

I think that on this issue that English MPs could be legitimately angry, because in Scotland under devolution, Scottish students don’t pay. In that respect, England should be the same, Students should get ‘free’ higher education.

Like Scotland, the English system is in need of major reform.

When Tuition fees when through, it passed only because Scottish Labour MPs packed the lobbies in favour of the move, the party system of being whipped!

People can be made to back the wrong policies, especially when they could be disciplined and lose their seat.

Tony Blair was the wrong man to lead the Labour Party, he came in hope and left a trail of misery behind him.

An independent commission, led by former House of Commons clerk Sir William McKay, has said more needs to be done to ensure English MPs have better control.

If this idea was adopted, a Scottish Prime Minister such as Gordon Brown wouldn’t get a vote on his own government agenda, how can this be right?

Quite simply it isn’t.

Should an Englishman or woman be denied the right to vote if they represent a Scottisg seat?

Under the McKay Commission, apparently yes.

The report calls for a compromise ‘double-lock’ system, under which laws that apply in England alone are approved first by English MPs before they go to a vote before the whole Commons, which comprises MPs of all four nations of the UK. 

I think this is a slippery slope, if the creation of different tiers of MPS is allowed, it undermines democracy.

Equality demands each MP has the same rights in the House of Commons, the claim that this is to ensure that MPs from other countries are not relegated to ‘second class’ status is bogus, entirely bogus.

Everyone has a vote but we have fixed it before hand to ensure the outcome!

In politics, there is always piecemeal, bits added here, and bits added there, no thought what further down the line this could mean, then a patch to fix a mistake, it hardly invokes confidence in the system.

The new regime is designed to solve the so-called ‘West Lothian’ question, which asks why it is that Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish MPs have the same right to vote at Westminster as any English MP now that large areas of policy are devolved to national parliaments and assemblies.

Well, I would say in reply, human rights!

Many Conservatives have called for purely ‘English votes for English laws’, with MPs from other nations barred from voting on such issues.

They are wrong, it undermines the Union, it undermines the House of Commons and it undermines democracy.

Democracy isn’t perfect but in the House of Commons, we expect equal rights for equal members. If we can’t grasp that concept there, things are worse than people think in Britain.

This idea could also make governing impossible, which cannot be a good thing.

Sir William McKay said:

‘Surveys have shown that people in England are unhappy about the existing arrangements, and support change. There is a feeling that England is at a disadvantage, and that it’s not right that MPs representing the devolved nations should be able to vote on matters affecting England. The status quo clearly cannot be sustained. Our proposals retain the right of a UK-wide majority to make the final decisions where they believe UK interests or those of a part of the UK other than England should prevail.’ 

A Cabinet Office spokesman said:

‘We will give the report very serious consideration before we respond.’

This report is wrong; it could end up unworkable and a government winning an election only to find that the opposition is in control.

The solution for Conservatives is to fix their ‘Scottish’ problem, 1 MP at present, the collapse of their vote, number of seats across the board and internal problems.

Second class MPs based on a geographic area they represent is entirely wrong.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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