Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK elections of 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019 (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the tag “devolution”

Northumberland Votes for Northumberland Laws?

Speaking in the House of Commons, MP for Hexham Guy Opperman said people in Northumberland are keen to see constitutional change.

Blocking Scottish MPs from voting on Northumberland’s affairs must happen as a matter of urgency, a North East MP has claimed.
Journal 16 December 2014 : Government must press on with English votes for English laws to fight ‘injustice’, Hexham MP Guy Opperman has said

I would equally like to see Southern and Midlands MPs from voting on Northumberland’s affairs – as a matter of urgency. Read more…

Conservative views of Devolution

Amber Rudd on BBC Daily Politics (BBC2 5 November 2014) seems to have complex – even contradictory – views on Devolution. Read more…

English Devolution – Identity and Viability

On Democratic Audit Ellie Geddes of IPPR argues that the north of England should take the opportunity to make the case for a degree of devolution and range of powers, concluding.

Whatever the outcome of September’s referendum, it is likely that Scotland will get further powers through some form of greater devolution. There is no doubt that the United Kingdom is evolving and the devolution agenda is coming to the forefront. If the north of England is ever to get its voice heard and gain control over its own affairs, ensuring it is not left behind, now is the time for it to speak up and be noticed.

This raises important issues of identity and viability. Read more…

Mixed Mandates

Today’s Independent (10 July 2013 ) reports:

English MPs are to be given the power to “veto” Westminster laws that do not relate to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, as part of sweeping constitutional reforms being drawn up by ministers.
Under proposals currently being finalised and expected to be announced in the autumn, English MPs would be able to reject legislation on devolved issues such as education, the NHS, transport and the environment, even if it had been passed by a majority of all MPs in the House of Commons.
Oliver Wright: English revolution in House of Commons: Plan to give England’s MPs right to veto on issues not affecting Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

I fail to see how this is actually going to improve the situation and suspect the Tories know this and might be planning mischief. Read more…

West Lothian or West Minster Question?

The McKay Commission has reported today (25 March 2013 Report of the Commission on the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons) on how to try to unravel the “West Lothian” Question.

This relates to the impact of MPs for areas in devolved administrations having an impact on English affairs, when English MPs have no vote on devolved matters.

Sir William McKay proposes a number of procedural measures that fall short of giving English MPs a veto on English matters.  He discards a number of solutions: Read more…

London is housing a problem

The housing benefit controversy illustrates just what a mess London is in. Read more…

Debating the West Lothian/Glamorgan Question

So the Nationalists are taking legal action regarding their exclusion from the Television Debates.

It’s the mess of the West Lothian Question and as has been remarked the debates have become the election. I’m not sure there is a “clean” way out.

If you live in Scotland or Wales – which are run by parliaments/assemblies that include the Nationalists – you have seen the debates offering the three “main parties” which will have given you a very skewed view of what is on offer. In Northern Ireland by comparison the three main parties are not standing so the “skew” will have little effect (excepting the possible effect of the Cons link with the Unionists). If we end up with a hung/balanced parliament at Westminster, the balance could be skewed by the impact of these skewed debates on Scottish and Welsh voters.

If the Nationalists do end up holding the “balance” in the Westminster Parliament I would be interested (as someone in an English constituency) in what they propose – I would also like to see their programme subject to examination – and a debate may be the way to do it.

Alternatively I suppose the “debates” could be restricted to England and additional debates arranged; Compo, Foggy and Clegg plus “Braveheart” in Scotland and C, F & C plus “Glendower” in Wales – but I doubt that the Summer Wine Three would agree!

It’s a mess, but the is what happens with partial devolution.


The Debates and the West Lothian Question

Our constitutional structure is in a pickle and I see that the BBC Trust are to hear an appeal from the Nationalists regarding their exclusion (BBC News website 18 April 2010) from the TV debates.

There are a number of issues around the debates in relation to the current constitutional settlement.

  • The areas to which the debates were broadcast (the whole of the UK?) do not necessarily match the areas in which the subjects under discussion applied.  Most of Home Affairs (education, health etc.) discussed in the first debate have been devolved, but I believe the citizens of Scotland and Wales (and probably Northern Ireland) heard long irrelevant discussions about these issues.
  • To the Scots and the Welsh this gives a totally distorted (and potentially incorrect) view of the Conservative, Liberal and Labour policies in those countries and excludes the views of the nationalists who actually run education, health etc., in Scotland and Wales.
  • Yet when non-devolved issues are discussed (e.g. Foreign Affairs), we will only hear from three of the parties and yet in a hung parliament the Nationalist input could be as decisive as the Liberal’s input.

Ironically we could end up with a conservative majority in England, but a non-conservative coalition (or supported minority) government in the United Kingdom determining English policy in relation to Education, Health etc.

It’s a funny old world.

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