English votes on English laws won’t work, we need an English Parliament

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

Obviously I’m disappointed that the Scots threw away their once in a lifetime chance of independence yesterday but they’ve had their chance and wasted it. Now it’s our turn to sort out our country.

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband have promised the world to Scotland but they can’t make good those promises without putting it to the British parliament and it’s not going to go smoothly. There are MPs demanding an English Parliament and others demanding English votes on English laws. Cameron has promised to ban Scottish MPs from voting on English laws (even though it won’t work – more on that in a moment), Miliband has ruled out anything that will prevent Labour from using their Scottish MPs from passing laws in England and Clegg will only support the recommendation of the McKay Commission which was to change nothing except add an extra stage in the legislative process so English MPs can make their views known. Both Miliband and Clegg only want power devolved to “city regions”.

It is an absolute disgrace that all three leaders of the old parties have happily promised to give the Scottish government extensive new powers but none of them will entertain the idea of an English Parliament. Cameron thinks we should accept a half-arsed fudge that won’t even work whilst Clegg and Miliband think that not only should we accept a half-arsed fudge but unless we live in a city or its suburbs we should accept the sum total of nothing.

English votes on English matters won’t work because anything that costs money will mean Scottish MPs can claim an interest in it because it affects the amount of money available for Scotland. It would change nothing other than dragging out the legislative process in England and delaying the inevitable implementation of an English Parliament unnecessarily. So as it’s got to happen and the British nationalists will try everything they can to prevent it from happening, let’s dispel the myths that they will be using to argue against it.

The most common argument is that it would increase the number of layers of government, increase the number of politicians and cost the taxpayer more money. This simply isn’t the case. We currently have three layers of government in England – local government, House of Commons and House of Lords. By replacing the House of Lords with a federal British Parliament and replacing the House of Commons with an English Parliament we would still have three layers of government. By doing away with the House of Lords we would cut 775 politicians in one fell swoop. By reducing the number of British MPs from 650 to 200 given that three quarters of their job would be done by someone else we would cut another 450 politicians. An English Parliament would need about 400 members so that gives us a net reduction of 825 politicians. According to a paper written by Christopher Gill when he was a Conservative MP, that would save around £250m adjusted for inflation and MP pay rises. For the numerically challenged, here’s a helpful graph:

[visualizer id=”3269″]

Another common argument is that England is too big and that it wouldn’t really bring decision making any closer to the people. This is probably their strongest argument but it’s easily countered. In a geographical sense it doesn’t bring decision making that much closer but democratically it does. At the moment MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can make decisions affecting only England which they have no say on in their own constituencies because it’s a devolved matter. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish people have given their British MPs a mandate on reserved matters – those things that their own devolved governments don’t have any power over. British MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have no mandate to interfere with the NHS, environment, transport, etc. in England  An English Parliament would only have members elected in England to represent England. A committee of British MPs elected in England voting on British laws for England isn’t the same as an English Parliament with members elected in England to make English laws for England. The sky fairy worshippers realised two thousand years ago that no man can serve two masters – it’s in the bible – so why can’t British nationalists see it?

Let me address the point about bringing decision making not being closer to the people at the same time as the vacuous argument that an English Parliament would break up the union and play into the hands of the EU at the same time. There is an absolutely valid argument that devolving decision making to a local level – be it regional, county or local authority – would improve accountability and decision making. I would envisage an English Parliament devolving power to a local level once the transfer of powers from the British government has taken place. It’s an important distinction that power is devolved from an English government to a local level and not from the British government because local government in England should be subordinate to the English government, not the British government. It’s also important that England has a national government to keep the country together in the face of constant pressure from the British establishment and the EU to break it up into regions and to be able to compete on the global stage in a way that a Birmingham city region or the north east of England couldn’t.

Another argument that will be used against an English Parliament is that England is too big to have a federation with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They will argue that there are no examples of a federation working with one member bigger than all the others put together and that England will dominate the union because of its size. There are three key points to address in that argument. Firstly, it is correct that there are no examples of federations with a mismatch in size that you would see in the UK because it’s never been tried. That also means there are no examples of federations with such a mismatch in size not working. There was no evidence that eating mouldy bread could cure diseases or that if you sailed far enough east you would end up where you started rather than falling off the edge of the world until someone tried it. Secondly, the size of England is irrelevant when it comes to devolved matters because they’re devolved. If they were relevant to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland they wouldn’t be devolved. Finally, England should dominate the union. Not to the detriment of the rest of the UK but the needs and priorities of 85% of the population should carry more weight than those of 15%.

One of the arguments that MPs like to use to dismiss an English Parliament – especially MPs elected in Scotland – is that it would create a two tier of MPs. They say that if Scottish MPs can’t vote on all legislation then they would be second class MPs and all MPs should be equal. But there is already a two tier system – British MPs elected in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can’t vote on devolved matters in their own constituencies, only in England. MPs elected in England can vote on all legislation in their own constituencies, including things that are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

English vote on English laws simply cannot work and the only way to address the inequality that seriously threatens the union is to create a devolved English Parliament with at least the same powers as the Scottish Parliament. Why should we accept an inadequate, unworkable compromise instead of equality?

The English Commonwealth campaign has set up a petition for an English Constitutional Convention to let the people of England determine the form of government best suited to their needs. I would strongly urge you to sign it.


  1. Daggs (55 comments) says:

    Don’t disagree with a word of that Wonko.
    I know you are affiliated to UKIP. But did you know MP John Redwood is now leading a ‘group’ of MP’s from within Westminster, who are demanding recognition for England?
    Put aside any pre-conceived ideas you may have about him. In this matter he is showing dedication, determination and leadership and I for one support him.

  2. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    I did notice but a lot of these MPs are supporting English votes and claiming they’re supporting devolution. Redwood will support English votes when it comes down to it.

    • Ken Adams (4 comments) says:

      Hi Wonko, Redwood is calling for EVOEL but is in fact describing something that is a bit nearer to an English Parliament. Not an English Parliament because it is part time and has the same MPs in both English and UK parliaments also he says nothing about the Lords.

  3. Daggs (55 comments) says:

    I’ve ‘spoken’ directly with him on his website. His attitude is we need an English Parliament. However we may have to accept EvoEl as a first step on that road (and it’s better than nothing) I find myself thinking he may be right.
    Cameron has at last admitted we in England must have some sort of recognition. Miliband is backing away at speed and Clegg is just irrelevant.
    If Cameron has any sort of nouse? he will see, offering the people of England some sort of Devolution is a vote winner. Especially as Miliband’s lefties won’t.
    I’m still waiting for UKIP to declare their hand on this.

  4. Richard (2 comments) says:

    Although English Votes won’t work, it’s at least a start. It will throw up lots of anomalies which will need to be addressed. The concern is that English votes will be simply be a convention rather than law, which of course can be scrapped whenever it suits.

    The Tories will make mincemeat of Labour on the issue, and UKIP will make mincemeat of the Tories if it’s done badly.

    The important thing is the issue is finally out in the open, and won’t go away until it’s addressed.

  5. Steven (2 comments) says:

    Wonko, you give us Englishmen a bad name. Personally, I am extremely delighted the Scots decided to renew their mostly very successful partnership with us. Would you REALLY have wanted a potentially unstable state right on our border with Salmond and co letting in god knows how many migrants and thus threatening the integrity of our weak immigration controls? I wouldn’t. I do believe we need an English parliament. English Vote for English laws is an unworkable mess and will merely serve to stir-up more tension within the United Kingdom.

  6. francis (3 comments) says:

    I am quite happy to see Labour get minced up on this issue. To be quite honest the union is only hanging on threads now. 45% of Scotland does not want to be part of the UK (i.e 9 out of every 20 voters) and that is after the offer of bribes.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the SNP sweep away all the Scottish Labour MPs in May then surely another referendum will be due.

    I do agree that we need an English Parliament separate from the UK Parliament. We need EMPs elected to deal with English only affairs.

    Your model looks good, perhaps we need a new building situated in York or Lancaster for the English Parliament.

  7. Steven (2 comments) says:

    I doubt it. The Scots are very canny. They know their best interests lie in the United Kingdom. After all, it WAS a Scottish invention in the first place. The referendum was LOADED in the SNP and Yes campaign’s favour (a biased question, votes for mostly clueless 16 year olds who had watched Braveheart too many times than which is healthy) and yet they still didn’t win.

    The Scots are very well-used to voting differently for different institutions and also over the last thirty odd years they have mastered tactical voting down to an art form.

    They will vote overwhelmingly for Labour, the Liberal Democrats and even the Tories next May and ensure the SNP lose seats. Infact, I do expect the Tories to gain one or two seats in the borders, Perthshire and Edinburgh off the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

  8. Bob Anglorum (86 comments) says:

    In reality all layers of government operating in England are “British”. The House of Commons, the House of Lords and the local authorities which are British made corporations, they were created by the UK parliament.

    Should an Englishman wish to be particular, he need obey none of these entities, since his true constitution is to obey only the commons of England assembled in parliament. The House of Lords is inferior to the House of Commons, since the Commons represent the country and the Lords represent themselves.

    The termination of the House of Lords was virtually established by the Parliament Act, which officially made the Lords the “dead weight of the constitution”. But someone could question if that was only the British House of Lords.

    The British parliament has no de jure authority in England, and neither do it’s statutes. So what the British parliament with it’s British parties does or does’nt do, is really of importance only to the fools amongst us. These parties which are all unknown to English law, now believe they are the Gods of England, well I worship the country, not the Gods, and so does the law.

    And untill everyone else stops worshipping the Gods, then our countries will all suffer at the hands of extremists and perverts in their parties.

    Only one thing need happen, and that is for the Commons of England to assemble in Parliament, for the salus of the English people who will therby give their allegiance, once they have given theirs to us. And that their purpose will be true and not perverted, they will hear the petitions of the English people, and they will uphold and enforce the rights and liberties of the English people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.