Scottish MPs to get power to vote down key English laws – Gove’s desperate bid to save UK

Labour's Jon Ashworth says he would support Tory NHS bill

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Ministers are set to announce English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) will be scrapped. The rule was introduced in 2014 by former Prime Minister David Cameron to give “millions of voters across England a voice” following the Scottish independence referendum.

It means MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not have a say on bills deemed to apply only in England, but the rule has rarely been used.

But critics of the plans said it was an “incomprehensible mess” which amounted to a charter to break up the union.

UK Government sources told Express.co.uk ministers were due to scrap the concept after the policy had been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the April 2020 suspension was due to end, Ministers decided to “evaluate” the concept as part of a new Union agenda.

They added: “We want to create a Parliament which is representative of the whole of the UK, not just England.

“It is also of the majority view the concept is no longer needed.”

This publication understands Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove is leading the move backed by Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack.

However, the Scottish Tories feared the move would boost SNP influence in Westminster amid plans for a second independence referendum on the horizon.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman also added: “There is a strong case EVEL was the wrong response to the perceived unfairness of MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland voting on matters solely affecting England.

“We will consider any proposals that come forward. In a parliament, every member’s vote should count the same, regardless of the issue.”

The SNP welcomed the move and said it was “about time” the decision was made.

A party source added: “Scottish MP’s will no longer be treated as second class citizens in Parliament and get the respect in votes they deserve.

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“Of course English bills will affect Scotland.”

The Scottish National (SNP) party erupted over the move after they were blocked from voting on an “English-only” bill about the NHS in February 2020.

However, SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the bill would have spending implications for Scotland.


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