Hague makes case for English votes for English laws

29 Sep 14
William Hague has said the Conservatives are ‘wholeheartedly committed’ to increasing the autonomy of Scotland and Wales, but indicated this must be matched with reforms to ensure that only English MPs can vote on matters affecting England.

By Richard Johnstone in Birmingham | 29 September 2014

William Hague has said the Conservatives are ‘wholeheartedly committed’ to increasing the autonomy of Scotland and Wales, but indicated this must be matched with reforms to ensure that only English MPs can vote on matters affecting England.

Speaking to the Conservative Party conference yesterday, Hague – who has been asked by Prime Minister David Cameron to chair a Cabinet committee to address the question of ‘English votes for English laws' – said reform was now needed.

Ahead of the no vote in the Scottish independence referendum earlier this month, the three UK party leaders pledged to provide extra powers to Holyrood.

Hague said that additional powers to Scotland and also to Wales were now on their way.

‘But such further devolution turns the matter of Scottish MPs continuing to vote on even the most minor policies in England from an anomaly into an injustice, and from an issue that many want to postpone into one that must be now be faced,’ he told delegates.

‘It is time for the way decisions are made to be fair to all, including the voters of England. My longstanding view is that when Parliament makes decisions affecting only the people of England, or only the people of England and Wales, then those decisions should be made only by the MPs elected to represent them.’

If the representatives of Scotland are able to decide many of their own laws at Holyrood, then MPs from Yorkshire, Kent or Norfolk gathered together must have the right to do so, he added, although the ‘grossly wasteful artifice of regional government in England’ has been rejected.

Hague added the committee has begun its work and was open to a cross-party deal on changes, but if no agreement can be reached then the issue will be placed before the electorate next May.

‘So we will argue our case with the other parties, but in the absence of agreement we will relish taking our case to the country.’


Spacer

CIPFA logo

PF Jobsite logo

Did you enjoy this article?

AddToAny

Have your say

Top