UK Politics

David Cameron: We'll publish English votes plan by Christmas

David Cameron Image copyright AP

Proposals for English MPs to vote on English laws are to be published before Christmas, David Cameron has said.

The PM made the pledge as the Smith Commission said Scotland should have more powers transferred to Edinburgh.

Labour opposes the idea of only allowing English MPs to vote on matters that only affect England, claiming they would create two classes of MPs.

Instead, Labour wants more devolution within England. The Lib Dems also favour more regional devolution.

The Lib Dems also propose to give English MPs more influence over England-only legislation in the Commons, but do not agree with the idea of restricting votes to MPs for English constituencies.


Analysis by BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson

If you think today's constitutional changes are only about Scotland, think again. If you think they mark the end of a process of change, think again. If you think they will end the debate about Scottish independence, think again.

The proposals to give the Scottish Parliament much more power will fuel calls for English votes for English laws. The Tories have promised an early vote in the Commons to ensure that only English MPs can vote on English laws. All the other parties oppose this as driving a wedge between MPs from different parts of the UK and, in any event, as much much easier to say than to do.

Read more from Nick


The Smith Commission was set up by Mr Cameron in the wake of the vote against Scottish independence.

It has recommended that the Scottish Parliament should be able to set its own income tax rates, with all of the cash earned staying north of the border.

'Delighted'

It also says a share of VAT should be assigned to the Scottish Parliament and Air Passenger Duty fully devolved.

Mr Cameron has said he wants further Scottish devolution to be linked to changes at Westminster to bring in "English votes for English laws".

And in a tweet on Thursday, the timetable for introducing this was confirmed.

"This is a good day for the UK," he said. "Before Christmas I will bring forward proposals on English votes on English laws."

He told the BBC he was "delighted" with the Smith Commission report and the implications it has on devolution for England.

'Home rule'

"The report today also makes the case for English votes for English laws unanswerable, and we'll be taking action on that shortly," he said.

"Taken together, this extra devolution for Scotland and dealing with all the issues in our UK will make our UK stronger, so it's a good day for the UK."

Labour leader Ed Miliband added: "The task now is to change the way we govern more generally, not just in Scotland, but in England and Wales too."

Conservative former Cabinet minister John Redwood said it was important that Scottish MPs were not allowed to vote on English issues.

He said the government needed to ensure "that Scottish MPs don't come to Westminster and then impose an income tax rate or income tax band on England that we don't want".

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said home rule for all parts of the United Kingdom could now be achieved following the "historic" devolution proposals for Scotland.

Autumn statement

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said it was only through "federalism we'll find the best solutions to meet the aspirations of all four of our nations".

Graham Allen, Labour MP and chairman of the Commons political and constitutional reform committee and a staunch supporter of English devolution, said: "What's good enough for Scotland is now good enough for England."

David Sparks, chairman of the Local Government Association, said the findings of the Smith Commission "should be used as a blueprint for devolution across the whole United Kingdom".

"Government should use next week's Autumn Statement to set out a new settlement for England which devolves decisions about housing, transport, skills and economic development as well as health and social care, down to local areas," he said.

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