Monday, February 19, 2007

John Redwood on an English Parliament

John Redwood is featured in The Independent's YOU ASK THE QUESTIONS column this week. I was slightly surprised at his answer to this question...
Do you think that the Union can be sustained without England having its own
parliament? TOM JACKSON, Stockport
Yes, I do. Politics and political parties are unpopular enough, without asking the country to pay yet more money for another group of elected politicians to argue in our very over-governed country. The present botched devolution settlement is unfair to England, and many more English people are now annoyed about that. I suggest we go to a system of English votes for English issues within the Westminster Parliament.

Compare the answer to THIS blogpost on John Redwood's blog, where he adopts an idea I put forward last year...

Let me try to explain my idea again. This is not official Conservative policy which is still being discussed. The official Conservative policy in 2005 was to create English votes on English issues in the Westminster Parliament to deal with the worst imbalance of Labour’s bodged and biased devolution “settlement”. My proposal goes further. I suggest that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have devolved assemblies settling a range of agreed issues on the Scottish model. We elect MPs to Westminster who are dual mandate MPs in every case. Those sitting for Scottish seats sit in the Edinburgh Parliament part of the time to settle Scottish
matters, and sit in the Westminster Parliament to settle Union matters for the
rest of their working time with MPs from the other three parts of the UK. There
would no more Scottish elections for a different cast of characters to be MSPs -
instead Westminster MPs elected for Scottish seats would also be the MSPs.
Those sitting for English seats would sit in the English Parliament - meeting in the Westminster building which has been the home of the English Parliament for many hundreds of years, prior to it becoming the Union Parliament in 1707. They too will meet with colleagues from the rest of the UK to settle Union matters at Westminster, which would also remain the home of the UK Parliament. It would be up to the elected English MPs to decide what office holders they wanted to carry out their business. These proposals would

a) Restore symmetry and fairness between the different countries of the Union
b) Save money compared with a model which required yet more politicans to be
elected to a new English Parliament, and compared to the present model with the
current additional elected people in Scotland and Wales
c) Ensure full time use of the Westminster Parliament and facilities, and better value from all elected politicians.
d) Overcome some of the weaknesses of the Scottish (and English) Parliaments being the subsidiary bodies, dependent on tax and grant votes in the Union Parliament for the money they spend. If we carry on with two different sets of elected representatives, one in the each of the devolved bodies and one in the UK body, it provides every excuse for no accountability. The devolved representatives blame the Union for insufficient funds, and the Union MPs blame the devolved administrations for running things badly. No-one is to blame. if the same people carry out the devolved functions and share responsbility for the Union functions it is easier to establish accountability.

Of course the Union can only survive if enough people in all parts of it want it to. At some point we need a referendum throughout the Union on whether the settlement is working and whether the Union is still supported.

The longer we avoid dealing with this question, the more difficult it will be when we do finally come to discuss it.


Sir-C4' said...

Traitor Deadwood stole my ideas.

Anonymous said...

Iain, you are right, it has to be dealt with and soon because the English are fed up being rules by the Scots Mafia!!

Labour will do nothing about it because it keeps them in power.

The present arrangements cost the English taxpayer 12 Billion a year in subsidies to Scotland and dont forget that there are 144000 net taxpayers in Scotland, a nation of 5 million people.

We have a Scots Chancellor!!Coincidence ??Why should I look after a whole nation of Benefit Merchants.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Ken; why omit the Welsh. They are so much better at this nation of benefit users.

Anonymous said...


Suggest you talk to John.

Anonymous said...

good for deadwood. At least he can see the obvious!

Why oh why do you want to saddle yourselves with an expensive talking shop full of non entities who could not make it to The Commons?
We have one up here and its every bit as bad as was predicted!
Stop us voting on English domestic legislation and cut the subsidies sure, but dont make the mistake of going down the same very expensive road and build another Parliament. You will live to regret it when the bills come in. An English Parliament will soon make subsidising Scotland seem like a bargain!

Anonymous said...


A link to his response:-

Iain Dale sees a conspiracy where there is none.

Should have been more precise on my previous post.

Anonymous said...

Redwood is right. Where is the talent coming from for more politicians? It is why I was against regional assemblies and elected mayors. We suffer enough from thickos and immature policy wonks acting (said advisedly) as politicians as it is.

Get the government off the people's backs as was famously said.

Anonymous said...

New Labour = No England.

England is technically a colony of Scotland because England exists to make Scotland exponentially richer than England, through the Barnett Formula, year in and year out.

Why the English accept a Scottish government spending less on the English than the Scots or Welsh I don't know - perhaps it's stupidity on a grand scale.

England needs a Parliament of its own to speak up for the people of England, to speak up for England as a unified historic nation state - not a rag bag of devolved regions. England needs a Parliament to protect England and its people from the worst excesses of a foreign Prime Minister - yes, Fony Bliar.

Barnett Formula = take from Englands poor and give to Scotlands rich.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps I'm being completely thick, but doesn't John Redwood say pretty much the same thing in both answers ?

He advocates English MPs sitting on matters concerning England in Westminster. Scots, Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs are then allowed into Westminster to discuss matters affecting the Union. I can't see that his answer changes in any respect other than the words used to describe it. The message is the same.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

Good old John - couldn't have thought of a better way myself!

There's a March coming up for 1st May in London

Anonymous said...

The first response is nearer to the mark, but make being an mp part time and paid only for attendance.

Have the elected Mp's work as part of the Union Goverement 1 fay a week, National goverement 1 day a week, and local govt 1 day a week, they hold triple (or more responsibility).

Within each mation make raise tax at three (or more if each xountry prefers)

1) a set rate per person to fund the union goverment - the same rate for all countries

No transfer of monies vetween the states

2) A small amount for the English etc goverment

3) a Small amount raised locally

These to be set independently by each union member as they see fit

For England I would ahain make it that no monies are collected for redistribution by the English parliement

David Lindsay said...

Redwood is posisbly the rudest man whom I have ever met. His response to being disagreed with is to say that "I can see that this conversation is breaking up", and walk away!

Poor soul, he genuinely cannot believe that a Fellow of All Souls who wants to be Prime Minister is not in fact Prime Minister, when the third non-Fellow of All Souls in a row, since Dr Redwood first so graciously offered his services to the nation, is about to ascend to that office. Don't you just feel for him?