Tories warn Cameron on pledges

0
Have your say

BACKBENCH politicians have said they will not let the Prime Minister step back from a new era of English-only votes.

Before the referendum had even concluded, Conservative MPs were warning that new powers for Scotland will only be voted through if there is a rethink on how England is governed.

Better Together leader Alistair Darling, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont and Labour leader Ed Miliband at a rally in Glasgow after Scotland voted decisively to reject independence

Better Together leader Alistair Darling, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont and Labour leader Ed Miliband at a rally in Glasgow after Scotland voted decisively to reject independence

David Cameron addressed those calls head on yesterday when he announced William Hague would chair a committee looking to settle the ‘English Question’.

Tories have welcomed news from Mr Cameron that as areas such as tax and welfare as devolved to Scotland, Scottish MPs would have to be excluded from votes on these issues when they apply only to England.

At the same time he agreed there should be further devolution to local leaders in England.

The news was welcomed last night by backbench Tories, many of who had indicated they would be fighting Scottish devolution plans if there was not a promising English offer.

Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney, a member of the party’s influential 1992 Committee’s executive, said he was satisfied with the offer.

He went on to urge the PM to look at the Barnett formula, a process which sees Scotland enjoy around £1,500 more per head in public spending than the rest of the UK.

“They have the Barnett formula, I think Yorkshire needs a Boycott formula if you will,” Mr McCartney said.

“It is not now about preventing Scotland having what it needs but in making sure the needs of Yorkshire are also addressed.

Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams said moves to prevent Scottish MPs voting on English issues were “long overdue”.

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker said the PM had announced “the biggest change to the way our parliament will work within many generations”.

He added: “We have to make sure we are ambitious here. I look forward to seeing the proposals but clearly they have to be radical, that is how we will judge them. If it is good enough for the Scots then it is good enough for us.

“They came up with devo-max powers very quickly, well now it’s our turn.”

Yesterday Richmond MP William Hague said it was “inconceivable” that Scottish MPs could go on voting on English only laws.

He will now chair a committee looking at how to rebalance the constitution in light of the referendum result.

Mr Hague said the Tories would make English-only votes an election issue if no consensus could be found between the three main parties.

The former Foreign Secretary ruled out a return to the prospect of regional assemblies, saying the Government does not want to add to existing political tiers.

It comes after a warning from former prime minister Sir John Major that the process of constitutional change in the wake of the Scottish referendum result will be “extremely uncomfortable” for many at Westminster.

But he added that maintaining the current unbalanced constitutional arrangements, with the Scottish Parliament set to get even more devolved power, would create “bitterness and resentment”.

He gave his backing to David Cameron’s plan to create a new constitutional settlement and said the process should be above party politics.