POLITICS

SNP 'Outraged' At Plans To Block Scottish MPs From Voting On English Laws

01/07/2015 10:29 BST | Updated 01/07/2015 10:59 BST
Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Embargoed to 0001 Sunday May 17 File photo dated 29/03/15 of Angus Robertson as the SNP will be the "real and effective" opposition to the Conservatives, the party's Westminster leader has said.

Conservative Party plans to quickly push through changes to parliamentary procedure to give English MPs a veto over English laws are "democratic outrage", the SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson has said.

In the immediate aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum last year, David Cameron said the "millions of voices of England must also be heard". The government plans to do this by preventing Scottish MPs from voting on matters that affect only English voters.

However rather than tabling legislation, which would require a lengthy period of parliamentary scrutiny, the government hopes to introduce English votes for English laws (Evel) simply by making a change parliamentary procedure, known as the standing orders.

It has been reported the change will be introduced as soon as tomorrow. Robertson said the move would see Scottish MPs being given "a second class status" in the House of Commons. He has written the the prime minister demanding "urgent clarification" of the government’s plans.

"The ramifications of Evel would be far-reaching – an issue with such magnitude must be properly considered, scrutinised and debated. We face the prospect of MPs being barred from specific votes, hindering our rights to represent our constituents properly," he said.

"Restricting the voting rights of some MPs could be the single biggest change to the rights of MPs in decades- and doing so without following the appropriate parliamentary procedure is totally unacceptable.

"SNP MPs already don’t vote on English only legislation which has no financial impact on Scotland. We don’t need a change of the rules to determine what we can and can’t vote for. We certainly cannot have this rushed through without proper consideration of all the consequences."

Speaking during Westminster Hall parliamentary debate this morning, Tory Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach said EVEL was a "fundamental matter of fairness". She said to continue to allow Scottish MPs to vote on English matters "undermines the integrity" of the Commons.

During the election campaign, the prime minister said EVEL would be in place by the time of his first Budget - which takes place next Wednesday.

Cameron said without the change, "resentment" would start to build in England and put the union at risk. "English MPs will be unable to vote on the income tax paid by people in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, while Scottish MPs are able to vote on the tax you pay in Birmingham or Canterbury or Leeds. It is simply unfair. And with English votes for English laws we will put it right," he said.

MORE:newssnp