Former Tory cabinet minister, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, has argued powerfully that the answer to the imbalance is to effectively create an English parliament at Westminster, an "English Grand Committee" of MPs that would oversee England-only legislation from start to finish.
But Mr Clarke is understood to have rejected such a dramatic move, which would severely limit the work of MPs from Scottish seats. Instead, he is said to have advised allowing all MPs to vote on English legislation at the initial second reading stage of parliamentary scrutiny. But only English MPs would get to vote during the detailed committee stage of the legislative process, where real changes can be effected.
At the third and final reading, all MPs could once again vote, but a new parliamentary undertaking would prevent any party using Scottish votes to block amendments made by English MPs. The report was given final approval by the Shadow Cabinet at a meeting in Kent last week, and is likely to be published on July 1st.
If this is true, it is simply appalling. The phrases 'half baked' and 'dog's breakfast' come to mind. This is not a long term solution to something which even Scottish politicians recognise is a problem and it's not even a half way house. It reeks of a measure designed to placate rather than solve. And as usual with these things it won't even do that.Those of us - and there a growing number - who believe that England deserves parity in the constitutional settlement will think it decidedly odd (and wrong) that Scottish MPs will retain ANY say in English only legislation. To trumpet the fact that they won't be able to vote on the Committee Stage of a Bill or reverse any amendments on Third Reading is a sop.
UPDATE: James Kirkup thinks I may be "understating the importance of part of the new Tory package: a new parliamentary undertaking that would prevent any party using Scottish votes to block amendments made by English MPs."
Peter Hoskin on the Coffee House also discusses the issue.