Consider the following:
Unpopular “reforms” such as Foundation Hospitals, student top-up fees, and the new undemocratic Planning Bill – have been imposed on England by the votes of Scottish Labour MPs.
If Camoron’s New Tories are really nicey-nicey, they’d want this anomaly to be resolved: it’s not very democratic is it? It’s rather nasty, in fact…
But no, not quite. Rather than simply support devolution for England (they didn’t support it for Scotland or Wales, either!) they Tories want to save their beloved Union. It’s the only union they support – though I suppose Ken and co are fans of the European Union…
So, instead of an easy-to-understand proposal for an English parliament, we have the confusing report from Ken Clarke – which might not even be adopted by the Tories as party policy, despite Camoron asking Clarke to come up with some ideas on the West Lothian Question. No, really:
For matters relating solely to England, only English MPs should vote, while English and Welsh MPs alone should vote on issues only affecting those two countries, it argues.
MPs from all countries could later vote to pass or reject the bill as a whole, the committee adds.
Mr Herbert seemed to agree in principle, saying: “Just as most of Scotland’s laws are now passed with the consent of the Scottish people, expressed through their elected representatives, so it is right to require English consent for laws affecting only England – or English and Welsh consent for laws affecting only England and Wales.”
The proposals will not necessarily become Conservative policy, although party leader David Cameron himself set up Mr Clarke’s Democracy Taskforce to come up with usable ideas.
Mr Clarke said his plan was a “compromise”, more workable than simply banning MPs from other countries from voting on England-only laws, and that this would help preserve the Union of England and Scotland.
The ideas comes amid concerns that the Scottish devolution settlement has created two classes of MP.
In Scotland, legislation on issues such as health and education are controlled by the country’s own parliament at Holyrood.
But policy for England is decided by the full Westminster parliament, with MPs from all parts of the UK able to vote.
Since some powers were devolved to the Holyrood parliament, there have been calls for just MPs with English constituencies to vote on England-only matters, or even the setting-up of a separate English parliament.