Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Watch this space

Or at least watch for news about how the government in the UK reorganizes legislating in Commons.

The Tories are anxious to fend off the demands from UKIP and others on the right for more English power. So how about giving English MPs veto power over strictly English legislation? What is "strictly English legislation?" Let the speaker decide. Why not just devolution to an English legislature?

Watch this space.

New 'veto' announced for English MPs
The government will give MPs from English constituencies a new "veto" over laws affecting England only.

Commons Leader Chris Grayling said the change, also applying in some cases to Welsh MPs, would bring "real fairness to our constitutional arrangements".

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon called the plan "staggering in the extent... of its hypocrisy and incoherence".

Labour said it was an "outrage" that ministers wanted to rush into making "profound constitutional change"…

Under the proposals, all MPs would continue to vote on all key stages of legislation.

But English MPs - and in some cases English and Welsh MPs - will have a veto in Westminster when debating matters that have been devolved to the devolved administrations [Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland].

MPs will debate the changes on 15 July… and the system will be changed using the rules - known as standing orders - that dictate how Parliament conducts its business.

With more powers set to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament after September's independence referendum, Tory MPs have said it is not right that MPs representing Scottish constituencies can continue to determine laws affecting England only…

The Speaker will be asked to certify which bills or parts of bills relate to England or England and Wales only…

Tablet computers will be used to count MPs' votes as they walk through the voting lobbies so officials can instantly register whether they have used their veto in votes where the "double majority" rule applies…

New system
  • The Speaker will judge which parts of a bill relate to just England, or England and Wales
  • An England-only committee stage will consider bills deemed "England-only in their entirety"
  • Membership of this committee will reflect the number of MPs each party has in England
  • Where sections of legislation relate only to England or England and Wales, agreement of a "Legislative Grand Committee" will be required

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