The Tories need to keep the West Lothian Question unanswered

If Iain Dale’s election predictions are right, the Tories may well be dependent on the votes of their Scottish and Welsh MPs (and their UUP allies) to have a working majority after the next election. Iain is predicting an overall Conservative majority of 12, including nine seats in Scotland and four in Wales.

As a consequence, the Tories will do nothing to fundamentally amend the West Lothian anomaly, because they’ll need their non-English MPs to vote through England-only legislation that doesn’t affect their constituents.

How would such a result affect their plan – if indeed this is still their plan – to allow only English MPs to revise bills at the committee stage? Presumably, if they didn’t have a majority of English MPs, then bills could be altered in ways unacceptable to the Conservative Party; and then the only recourse under Ken Clarke’s proposed system would be to vote out the bills at their third reading, making England potentially ungovernable. So if Dale’s prediction transpires, you can expect the Tories to quietly drop even this extremely modest nod in the direction of English votes on English bills.

No wonder the Tories are seeking to portray themselves as the party of ‘the [British] NHS’, including to voters in Scotland and Wales. They mustn’t be allowed to get away with this fraud!

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3 Responses

  1. How does this work? I would have thought they’d get a higher proportion of MPs in England. What happens if you take all of the other parties’ Scottish and Welsh MPs away?

    • You’re right, actually – I hadn’t thought of that. However, it’s still not clear whether they aim to actually implement Clarke’s recommendations. If they don’t, then they may still need to rely on Scottish and Welsh MPs to pass their England-only bills.

      Even so, Clarke’s recommendations, if implemented, could still require the Tories to depend on the West Lothian anomaly to get bills through: majority of English MPs at the committee stage but no, or small, majority of all MPs (needed to pass the bill at the third stage) – thus making the Tories reliant on their non-English MPs.

  2. Here in Cumbria the Tories are fielding at least two Scottish candidates and one Irish (not even from Northern Ireland).

    These candidates will undoubtedly be voting on English matters with one eye on Scotland or, indeed, Ireland.

    None of them would have a prayer of winning a seat in Scotland, so we English have them foisted upon us.

    It would be interesting to find out how many non-English candidates are being fielded in England by all the parties, not only the treacherous Tories.

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