In the House of Commons this week, the Leader of the House, William Hague MP, made a statement on spreading devolution to England. The Island’s MP, Andrew Turner, has said he is pleased that the Government properly understands the needs of England and wants to ensure the Island doesn’t get left behind.
During the debate, Mr Turner intervened and said:
“I am grateful to the Leader of the House for the work he is doing to introduce EVEL, that is English Votes for English Laws. Will he ensure the English can vote as quickly as possible – particularly to protect smaller Island and rural areas from the City Deals and metropolitan areas like Manchester and Birmingham.”
In his statement Mr Hague said,
“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 theirs.”
The Wales Bill has already completed its final stages in Parliament and the Northern Ireland Secretary is hosting talks on a number of issues, including reforms to ensure the devolved institutions work effectively.
There are proposals for England to have equivalent powers to Scottish parliaments, and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies. These will make it clear that a majority of English MPs will be sought to back any proposal to change purely English matters – for example, reforms to our schools and colleges, or changing how the National Health Service delivers health services.
As well as covering the issue of English votes on English laws, the position of both parties in the coalition Government have been set out clearly in a White Paper. The Labour party was invited to also submit their proposals for the publication but they declined to do so.
Mr Turner, continued:
“For fifteen years people from all over England, and from all parties regardless of politics, have been pressing more and more for devolution. There is nothing wrong with Scottish devolution, or Welsh devolution, or Northern Irish devolution – it is quite crazy, though, that English devolution should be made to wait until changes to the House of Lords and half-a-dozen other schemes are sorted out as seems to be the position of the Labour Party.
“Englishmen – and English ladies – have waited and waited and waited. There comes a point where they are prepared to wait no more!”