A call for fair votes

WOKING MP Jonathan Lord is outraged over the potential ‘injustice’ of Scottish MPs (of which there are 59) being given the power to vote on both Scottish and English laws, while English MPs would have no say on Scotland.

On Tuesday, Conservative Leader of the House of Commons, William Hague MP, announced plans to demand ‘English Votes for English Laws’. He said this would give English MPs a veto on England-only legislation, without which the Scottish National Party might hold Westminster to ransom.

OUTRAGED - Jonathan Lord MP doesn't want Scottish MPs voting on English matters
OUTRAGED – Jonathan Lord MP doesn’t want Scottish MPs voting on English matters

Mr Lord told the News & Mail: “I was delighted when Scotland decided to remain part of the UK in September. It would have been an astonishing time to split up our country, just as we are returning to growth and prosperity, and our enormous deficit is being brought under control.

“We can now also see even more clearly the shaky presumptions the independence campaign was built on.

“The recent collapse in the price of oil has wiped no less than £15.5 billion off Alex Salmond’s projections that the North Sea would generate £20.2 billion for an independent Scotland in its first three years – a potentially devastating miscalculation.”

The day after the referendum, at which a majority of Scottish people voted to remain part of the UK, Mr Salmond announced his intention not to stand for re-election as Leader of the Scottish National Party and to resign as First Minister thereafter.

He was succeeded as leader by his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon – the only candidate – the day after his resignation on November 18. Mr Lord added: “Following promises made during the campaign, the Scottish Parliament will, over the next few months, receive the biggest transfer of powers it’s had since it was established.

“More than half the money spent in Scotland will come from tax raised in Scotland and, with the agreement of the Government,the Scottish Parliament will receive increased borrowing powers to support investment.

“It will also potentially be given a raft of  new powers in other areas such as welfare, employment, transport and industry – in addition to those it already has over health and education.

“In summary, the Scottish Parliament will be responsible for how it raises most of the taxes it spends and will have control over a vast swathe of domestic policy. It will be accountable for these decisions to the Scottish people, but English MPs at Westminster will have no say whatsoever in how Scotland legislates and runs its affairs in these areas.

“Unfortunately, Ms Sturgeon seems to think it is completely acceptable that the SNP’s Westminster MPs should still be able to vote on matters that affect only England – even though English MPs will have no say over matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

“So, after the election in May, it is quite possible that Scottish MPs will have the decisive voice on issues and laws that affect only England, even if it means riding roughshod over the majority of English MPs.

“That’s simply not fair, which is why I have become a patron of the cross-party Fair Votes for All campaign. I am collecting petition signatures and hope to receive as much support as possible from Woking residents.

“Judging from emails and letters from local people, I am by no means the only one to feel strongly about this potential injustice. It is a matter of fairness for Woking people, whose voice on English issues is currently being diluted by Scottish MPs.”

Chairman of the Fair Votes for All campaign, Graham Stuart MP, said: “Jonathan Lord is standing up for his constituents. As more powers are handed over to the Scottish Parliament, this basic constitutional unfairness cannot be ignored any longer.”

Labour has refused to act on this issue and, without the backing of the Coalition Lib Dems, Mr Hague’s plans will have to go on hold until after the election.

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