Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the successful passage of the Government’s proposals for English votes for English laws through the House of Commons on Wednesday 21 October following a debate in the chamber. This addresses the so-called “West Lothian question” where English MPs could not vote on matters which have been devolved to other parts of the UK, but Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs could vote on those same matters when the UK Parliament was legislating solely for England.
Under the proposals, English MPs will have a fairer say over laws that affect only their constituencies and have already been devolved elsewhere. During a new stage of Parliamentary consideration called the ‘Legislative Grand Committee’, MPs with constituencies in England (and, where relevant, England and Wales) will now be asked to give their consent to legislation that only affects England (or England and Wales).
Caroline has long campaigned for England to be able to decide its own priorities on issues such as health, education and local government, just as the people of more devolved parts of the UK are able to do. In the last Parliament, she set up a petition online and in her Gosport office calling for English votes for English laws to be introduced as soon as possible. Almost 400 local people signed the petition, which Caroline then formally delivered it to the Speaker in the Chamber of the House of Commons.
Commenting on the news, Caroline said:
“I am so pleased that the House of Commons has passed the Government’s proposals for English Votes for English Laws because this will ensure that English people have more of a voice over matters that only affect them. This is crucial for creating a fairer system and a stronger Union. It is wonderful to think that the views of the local people who signed my petition played an important part in bringing about this change.”
Chris Grayling MP, leader of the House of Commons said:
"We have delivered our commitment to introduce English votes for English laws. We are determined to strengthen the Union – we are devolving more powers across the United Kingdom, and now is the time to give the English more say over their own destiny. Our plans provide a fair balance by giving England more control over decisions which it alone is affected by, while ensuring that Westminster continues to be a place where those from across the UK govern in the best interests of those living within the Union.”
All MPs will continue to debate and vote on legislation at Second Reading, Third Reading and Report stage. This ensures that new laws are made with the agreement of the whole House of Commons, but that English (and Welsh) laws will only be made with the consent of MPs who represent those parts of the country. As part of the Government’s commitment to devolving powers in a fair and balanced way, the proposals will be reviewed after 12 months to ensure the process is working effectively.