THE vast majority of voters in Yorkshire want Scottish MPs blocked from voting on English matters when devolved powers are handed over, a new poll has found.
The same overwhelming support for English-only parliamentary votes is repeated across the country, according to the results of the Future of England Survey.
Today’s poll puts further pressure on Labour leader Ed Miliband to address the English votes issue. Mr Miliband has boycotted any talks that would see Scottish MPs banned from voting on, for example, key Budget measures, as such a ban would risk the party losing the support of its MPs in Scotland.
But in a sign of increasing dissatisfaction with Mr Miliband’s approach, the left-leaning think-tank IPPR agreed that the poll showed a clear preference.
Guy Lodge, of the IPPR, a co-author of the report, said: “It’s clear that the public favours an England-wide solution, with English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) the clear favourite.
“This doesn’t answer the question of how such a solution might work – EVEL means different things to different people and Ministers need to make clear what it means to them.”
Research released by the Centre on Constitutional Change showed that 40 per cent of English voters opted for giving English MPs an exclusive say at Westminster over legislation that applies solely to their constituents. The figure was more than twice the level of support for the next nearest options, an English Parliament (16 per cent) or maintaining the status quo (18 per cent).
In Yorkshire, the favoured option, backed by 36 per cent, was EVEL. Just 16 per cent favoured a new level of regional decision- making, a figure that will make for difficult reading for supporters of Chancellor George Osborne and his hopes of introducing new metro mayors in places such as West Yorkshire.
Professor Richard Wyn Jones, co-author of the report, said: “The clear support for EVEL in Yorkshire and Humberside reflects the picture across England. In Yorkshire, like the rest of England, there is little popular appetite for a regional answer to a national question.”
Last night Tory grandee William Hague repeated calls for Labour to drop its boycott of English devolution talks, telling The Yorkshire Post: “I am pleased at this support for English votes for English laws.
“As I have indicated to the House, I look forward to a Government paper which I hope will be published shortly.”
The Richmond MP has led efforts to agree a new constitutional settlement, making clear that “it is very important that whatever solution we arrive at is fair to all parts of the United Kingdom, but that includes being fair to the voters of England as well as to the rest of the UK”.
Labour has said it is seeking to hold a constitutional convention after the General Election in which cities and regions will submit their answer to the problems posed by increased Scottish devolution.