An English Parliament is more necessary than ever

This General Election has seen the Conservative and Unionist Party confirmed as an English political party.  Of the 10,706,647 votes cast for the Conservatives across the United Kingdom, 9,911,062 were cast in England.  The Conservatives currently hold a clear majority 297 of the 533 English Parliamentary seats (with one seat yet to elect an MP).  In the devolved countries – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – out of a possible 117 seats the Conservatives won a paltry 9, securing just 795,585 of the 4,606,283 votes cast.

Despite this level of support in England, the Conservatives unbelievably plan to continue treating England as a second class country within the United Kingdom.  England alone has no national legislature. England alone is forced to accept governance from the UK Parliament.  The Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish legislatures control major areas such as health, education and transport in their countries with no outside interference.  Those same core governmental areas in England are controlled by Westminster, with MPs for Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish constituencies detemining how England is run, safe in the knowledge that what they decide to impose on England will not affect their own constituents.

The Conservative plan is to allow MPs for English constituencies to look at Bills ihe early stages before putting them to the vote in the House of Commons – where the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish will continue to have the fundamentally undemocratic ability to vote on them.  You might be asking yourself why, given this has been known for a while, has the need for an English Parliament has suddenly become more urgent?  The reason is the outcome of the General Election.

David Cameron, in his desperation to become Prime Minister, has offered the Liberal Democrats the chance to govern with the Conservatives in a coalition.  If the proposal is accepted, it would be a political shotgun wedding and become a fractious marriage.  There will always be the possibility that the Lib Dems will walk out of the relationship, abandon the Conservatives and set up home with Labour, with whom they are more compatible.

If this happened, Labour and the Lib Dems would secure the support of the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru) and almost certainly the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Social Democratic & Labour Party (SDLP) and Alliance Party MPs from Northern Ireland.  The combined votes of these parties would be 336, giving this grouping a majority in the Commons.  Their legislative agenda in Westminster would, by definition, affect England more than the devolved countries because England does not have the degree of self determination granted to the other countries.

In such circumstances without power being devolved from Westminster to an English Parliament, major polices concerning health, education and transport among others, would be imposed upon the English through the votes of MPs from outside England, representing parties that have not stood for election in English constituencies, or parties that have been overwhelmingly rejected by English voters.  The situation differs from the last Parliament because Labour had more MPs in English constituencies than the Conservatives.  But now the position is very different.  The imposition of legislation on England that can only be made possible by the votes of non English MPs is a very real prospect and something that would be completely unacceptable.

The Conservatives need to act swiftly to present a Bill to form an English Parliament that could properly protect the interests of the English, before the possibility of the Tories being turfed back into ineffective opposition.

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8 Responses to “An English Parliament is more necessary than ever”

  1. 1 The Filthy Engineer 08/05/2010 at 8:17 pm

    Do we really need another level of bureuocracy? Wouldn’t be better to abolish the scottish parliament and the welsh assembly instead?

    After all. All of them come with a high cost in quangos and hangers on.

  2. 2 JohnRS 08/05/2010 at 8:53 pm

    Excellent article, we definitely need to restore the democratic balance within the UK. The idea of celtic MPs deciding on the servcies available to English voters is completely unnaceptable but has been ignore by al parties since devolution.

    But do we really need two levels of elected representatives in each of the four countries? Can we not have MPs elected to cover both roles, as they used to do prior to devolution, and have (say) two weeks a month spent in their local legislature and the rest at Westminster? Fewer politicians, lower costs, more accountability etc.

    Obviously the number of Welsh, Irish, Scottish troughers would be halved but that’s no bad thing.

    Also one other vital key requirement of any change…all UK constituencies need to be of very similar size. It is not acceptable that some Tory MPs in England have a majority that’s large than the entire number of voters in some Scottish areas. We can’t go on with the current inbuilt Labour bias.

    If we go for 10% reduction in MP numbers as proposed by Cameron this gives the Electoral Commission all the justification it needs to ensure that a vote in one part of the country means the same as in any other.

  3. 3 Autonomous Mind 08/05/2010 at 9:08 pm

    It wouldn’t be acceptable in those countries as they were created after a binding referendum. The argument that an English Parliament would be another level of bureaucracy isn’t accurate. It would take over legislative power for English matters, leaving Westminster to focus on UK-wide matters, such as defence. It would also realise the aims of increased localism and local accountability.

  4. 4 Autonomous Mind 08/05/2010 at 9:16 pm

    I think devolved power and national accountability would be far more democratic. It would allow us to dramatically reduce the size and role of Westminster to cover UK-wide matters alone. That way we could have a much bigger reduction in the number of MPs and redraw the constituency boundaries to broadly equalise the number of voters in each constituency.

  5. 5 FloTom 08/05/2010 at 10:38 pm

    Support England sign The English Claim of Right

  6. 6 Mike Spilligan 09/05/2010 at 7:43 am

    I’m all for an English Parliament, but not based on the same proportions as the Scottish one – that would mean we would have about 1,170 MEngPs – which highlights how ridiculously top-heavy the Scottish one is.

  7. 7 Peter Bishop 08/02/2011 at 5:15 am

    33,000 women who will be robbed of 2 years pension

    My wife is affected by this as her birthday is 14.3.54 and yesterday we got round to deciding who we should contact to express our concern. It was only then that I realised that there are further changes linked to the women’s retirement age i.e. winter fuel payments and bus passes. (ref this link to BBC Moneybox )What really infuriates me is that there will seemingly be no change in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so it seems they will enjoy these things at 60 while anyone (man or woman) in England will wait until they are 66!

    Are you aware of this and the final insult that it would appear that MPs from the whole of the UK will presumably vote on more changes that will only affect England?

  1. 1 Gordon Brown to resign. Lib-Lab pact? England to be ruled by celtic coalition? « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 10/05/2010 at 6:59 pm
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