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by Tom Freeman
07 July 2015
Commons victory for EVEL opponents

Commons victory for EVEL opponents

An emergency debate on the UK Government’s plans to introduce English votes for English laws (EVEL) has resulted in an overwhelming win for the opponents of the idea.

The debate was an emergency motion by Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael who called the plans to introduce a veto for English MPs on English-only legislation using amendments to parliamentary standing orders “irresponsible”.

Although today’s vote on EVEL carries no weight, the vote has passed by 291 to 2. The Conservatives abstained from voting, and a number of the party’s MPs expressed concern with the process during the debate. Sir Edward Leigh said the United Kingdom “hangs by a thread”, while Jacob Rees-Mogg said English unionists should “be generous” or risk the Union.


English Votes for English Laws plan labelled ‘reckless’

David Mundell on devolution, the SNP, and whether the 'vow' swung the referendum

But Leader of the House, Chris Grayling, said fears were unfounded, and the Conservative party are "sticking to a promise" they made in their manifesto.

Carmichael said constitutional change by standing orders was “no way to run a parliament” and warned the question of English sovereignty should encompass stakeholders.

“Today the Tory government failed to support their own plans, backing down in the face of defeat. Their attempts to force these plans through without proper debate will undermine Parliament and threaten the Union,” he said.

Labour accused the Conservatives of putting party politics above the country, with Angela Eagle calling the plans “a reckless and partisan fiasco”.

Former leader Ed Miliband said the proposal was not in either Conservative or Unionist traditions. "We won the referendum but the cause of unionism has not been well served since," he said.

The SNP shadow Leader of the House Pete Wishart said the Government had been humiliated.

"The Tories' policy is in meltdown - the Government themselves didn't even vote in favour of their own handling of English Votes for English Laws. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the Tories knew they were staring defeat in the face,” he said.

Labour veteran Dennis Skinner said: "The truth is they failed to convince enough on their own side... a decent government would have resigned.”

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