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MPs to debate 'English votes for English laws' plan

Published 22/10/2015

Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling defended the Evel plans
Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling defended the Evel plans

MPs are set for a crunch debate on the Government's controversial proposals to introduce English votes for English laws.

The Government has tabled an updated set of Evel plans which it argues will "strengthen the Union" and give "England more control over decisions which it alone is affected by".

However, the SNP has labelled the proposals a "dog's breakfast".

Commons Leader Chris Grayling said: "Today we are delivering our commitment to introduce English votes for English laws.

"We are determined to strengthen the Union - we are devolving more powers across the United Kingdom, and now is the time to give the English more say over their own destiny.

"Our plans provide a fair balance by giving England more control over decisions which it alone is affected by, while ensuring that Westminster continues to be a place where those from across the UK govern in the best interests of those living within the Union."

The Government's plans would see the introduction of a new parliamentary stage for laws that do not affect other parts of the UK.

English or English and Welsh MPs would scrutinise such legislation alone and then accept or veto it.

All MPs would then continue to debate and vote on the legislation at second reading, third reading and report stage.

Ministers have argued that the system is the best way to address the so-called West Lothian Question as devolution progresses, but critics warn that it could create two classes of MP.

The SNP has said it will vote against the Conservatives' plans.

SNP shadow leader of the House Pete Wishart said: "Nothing that has happened in the course of the past few months has satisfied us that these plans for Evel are anything other than a dog's breakfast that will prove to be unworkable in the long run.

"Outside the ranks of the Conservative party the Leader of the House has managed to convince absolutely no-one over the quality of his plans.

"All other political parties are opposed to them, all the devolved assemblies and Parliaments are resolutely against.

"Even the unelected House of Lords and the Tory dominated Procedure Committee have a range of issues and concerns.

"The lack of consensus on such a huge constitutional change should be enough for the Leader of the House to think again."

Labour has also been critical of the plans, suggesting the reforms would create two tiers of MPs.

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