Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Tom Freeman
09 July 2015
English votes for English laws plan delayed

English votes for English laws plan delayed

The UK Government has amended its proposals to implement English votes for English laws (EVEL) after they were voted down in an emergency debate this week.

The Government faced criticism because the EVEL proposals were being established through changes to a set of parliamentary rules known as standing orders, with only one debate and vote on the subject. The emergency debate saw MPs vote against the plan by 291 to 2, with the Government abstaining.

Although the vote was non-binding, opponents said it revealed the Government was faced with serious concerns from MPs of all parties.


Commons victory for EVEL opponents

English Votes for English Laws plan labelled ‘reckless’

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

Leader of the House Chris Grayling has now announced MPs will spend two days debating the plans next week, while a vote on the changes will not be held until September. 

Speaking at the Business Statement, Mr Grayling confirmed two days of debate would instead be held, allowing draft standing order proposals to be considered and subsequently amended before a final debate.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister told Politics Home the change of plan showed the Government was listening to the desires of MPs.

“I think this reflects a willingness on the part of the Government to respect the parliamentary process, listen to views that have been expressed in the House, discussions that the Commons leader has had with Members and, reflecting on that, the appetite there to have further debate on the issue,” she said.

Shadow Leader of the House Angela Eagle said the Government’s plans had “descended into chaos,” however she welcomed the extension of the debate.

She called for draft standing orders to be checked by the Commons Procedure Committee.

However, SNP MP Pete Wishart insisted the EVEL plan should be given its own full parliamentary bill, given its “constitutional importance”.

"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," he said.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, who had called for the emergency debate this week, said the plans were ‘descending into farce’.

“The fact that ministers have been forced to go back to the drawing board shows just how badly they have misjudged this issue,” he said.

The first draft of the standing orders are set to be published on Monday.

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top