POLITICS

English Votes For English Laws Plans Delayed Until After The Summer

09/07/2015 11:43 BST | Updated 09/07/2015 12:59 BST
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 30/09/13 of Chris Grayling as David Cameron is expected to announce tomorrow that he will become the new Leader of the House of Commons.

The government has delayed plans at the last minute to restrict the voting rights of Scottish MPs in the House of Commons.

David Cameron wants to change parliamentary rules to introduce so-called English votes for English laws (Evel). The controversial move would mean legislation affecting English-only matters such as healthcare or education would require a majority of MPs representing English seats to vote in favour to pass.

The SNP and others have complained it will create two-tiers of MPs and relegate Scottish MPs to second class citizens in the Commons.

Tory plans to make the change by amending the standing orders of parliament rather than introducing legislation have also been attacked by the SNP and Labour Party who have accused the government of trying to ram through the measure without proper scrutiny.

The government had initially hoped to hold a vote on changing the standing orders of parliament next Wednesday. However today Chris Grayling, the leader of the Commons, performed a U-turn and announced the plans would be redrafted and reintroduced after the summer holiday.

Instead of a vote next week there will just be a Commons debate.

Labour's Angela Eagle said Grayling had been forced to delay the introduction of Evel because he "didn't even have the support of his own side" and could not be sure of winning the vote.

"The governments reckless and shoddy plans for what they like to call English votes for English laws have descended into chaos," she said.

However Grayling insisted that he should not be ashamed to have taken on board what MPs had said about his initial Evel plans. In a shock development we have actually listen to the comments of honourable members," he said. "It's called consultation."

Last week several Conservative MPs also expressed concerns about the speed at which the change was being pushed through. Dominic Grieve, David Cameron's former attorney general, said it was a "very profound change" that needed more time to be debated. "I have serious anxieties that there is time available to carry out that scrutiny," he said.

SNP Shadow Leader of the House Pete Wishart MP said today: "The Tories' proposal for EVEL has now descended into complete shambles, with the UK Government in headlong retreat.

"What this farce underlines is how weak the Tory government is with its wafer-thin majority, and how strong opposition can force them to change course.

"In wanting to rush headlong into English Votes for English Laws - making Scottish representation in the House of Commons second class - the Tories' attitude to Scotland has been laid bare for all to see."