English Votes for English Laws plan labelled ‘reckless’
Government plans to introduce a veto for English MPs has been labelled “constitutionally reckless” by the Electoral Reform Society, while the Law Society of Scotland said the proposals will make law-making more complicated.
Chief Executive Katie Ghose said the decision to pursue English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) was “playing fast and loose with Britain’s constitution”.
“With less than two weeks to weigh up the proposals before the vote, the government is pushing through a major change to how our democracy works with little thought to the possible ramifications,” she said.
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Ghose said the move raised questions over the future of the union, warning that giving the speaker final say over which legislation English MPs could veto might politicise the role.
“Surely the government can no longer resist the valid calls for a constitutional convention, to bring these debates together and to decide what kind of democracy we really want,” she said.
The Law Society of Scotland also expressed concerns. President Christine McLintock said standing orders were insufficient to address the ‘West Lothian Question’.
“Even small amendments to legislation starting off as England only can create consequences for other parts of the United Kingdom. Dealing with different legislation in different ways could lead to an even more complicated and confusing parliamentary process.
“We do have some concerns at the inclusion of Finance Bills in the proposals. The UK Government needs to explain why Budget Resolutions which may impact the whole of the UK are not treated in the same way as taxes which also apply to the UK,” she said.
Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said the plans could reduce the UK's democratic processes “to rubble”.
“They will fan the flames of nationalism and are nothing more than a brazen attempt to secure party political advantage for the Conservative Party,” he said.