PROPOSALS for English Laws for an English parliament were set out yesterday by Tory cabinet member William Hague, Leader of the House of Commons.
He told Parliament: ‘The Prime Minister said that a new fair settlement to Scotland, must be accompanied by an equivalent settlement for all parts of the United Kingdom.
‘This is a fundamental issue of fairness for all the people of the United Kingdom.
‘Just as the people of Scotland will have more power over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have the opportunity to have a bigger say over their theirs.’
He added: ‘Today’s Command Paper covers proposals on decentralisation within England and proposals on English votes for English Laws.’ Emphasising a division between the Tories and Labour over this question he said: ‘…We invited the Labour Party to submit their own proposals for publication but they declined to do so.’
Later in the debate he said: ‘We have set out three options for resolving the West Lothian question in the Command Paper, all of them represent a stronger and more binding version for English votes for English Laws than the work of the McKay Commission.
‘But all rest on the guiding principle set out by McKay that decisions at the United Kingdom level with a separate and distinct affect for England or for England and Wales should normally be taken only with the consent of a majority of MPs for constituencies for England or for England and Wales.
He then set out the three proposals:
The first, barring Scottish MPs from any role in English and Welsh bills. The second, allowing English MPs to have a greater say over the early readings of bills, including in tabling amendments, before allowing all MPs to vote on the final stages.
And the third, giving English MPs a veto over certain legislation at committee stage. On the third he said: ‘An “English Grand Committee” would then vote after report but prior to third reading on a legislative consent motion.
‘English or English and Welsh MP’s would therefore be able to grant their consent or veto a bill or relevant parts of it and such decisions would have the same status in devolved matters.’
Hague is proposing a form of dictatorship, via an English veto over UK government policy.