Lasty night I addressed a fringe meeting titled ANSWERING THE ENGLISH QUESTION along with Sir George Young and Peter Riddell of The Times. George was the original architect of the English Votes for English Measures policy and continues to advocate it as the best way of solving the West Lothian Question. If that was the only objective, I would support it too. But it is a band aid, short term solution, which does nothing to address the wider constitutional imbalance which is emerging.
In my speech I advocated the creation of an English Constitutional Convention to examine the alternatives and the best way forward. My own view is that an English Parliament is the inevitable long term outcome. There are different ways this might work, but my preferred option would be to abolish MSPs and AMs and have Westminster MPs sitting for a week a month in their own Parliaments. This solution has the advantage of preserving the Union and reducing the number of paid politicians. It is also fair to each constituent part of the United Kingdom.
Peter Riddell wants to preserve the status quo because he thinks all the alternatives are divisive and would lead to the breakup of the Union. I was disappointed that he didn't articulate any change whatsoever, as the it is clear to most people that the status quo is just not sustainable.
I really don't believe the Conservative Party has yet woken up to this issue and is giving the attention it deserves. Perhaps it's time to crank it up a gear. Watch this space.