English laws are passed by English voters. SCRAPPED: SNP and Welsh MPs will decide England’s laws.
According to government proposals, MPs from Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will be able to vote on rules that apply to England.
Ministers have called for a vote today to repeal the English Votes for English Laws (Evel) system, which was implemented in 2015. If MPs support the bill, it will allow MPs from other parts of the UK to vote on issues that exclusively affect England.
Following the 2014 Scottish referendum, the system was implemented in an attempt to redress the power imbalance between English and Scottish MPs.
For years, campaigners had been dissatisfied that Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland each had their own devolved administrations, while England’s issues were handled more broadly in Westminster.
The approach, which was implemented by then-Prime Minister David Cameron, requires a majority of MPs representing English areas to support items affecting just England.
SNP MPs and those representing communities in Wales and Northern Ireland will have a say in sectors including England’s judicial system, education, and the NHS if the bill passes later today.
Meanwhile, the devolved administrations will retain the ability to vote on issues that affect their own countries.
Following the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Evel was put on hold.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said last week that the arrangement had “not served our Parliament well.”
“The procedure has been suspended since April 2020, and the administration considers that, after careful consideration, it has not served our Parliament well, and that eliminating it will streamline the legislative process,” he added.
“Equal representation in Parliament for all constituent parts of the United Kingdom is a fundamental principle.
“However, the operation of this procedure, as well as the limitations placed on the activity of particular MPs, do not support this goal.”
Since its inception, Labour and the SNP have been vocal opponents of Evel.
The Conservatives have been accused by Labour of using the measure to try to manufacture a greater vote majority.
Meanwhile, the SNP claims that the arrangement divides MPs into two groups: those who can vote on all legislation and those who can only vote on issues that affect the entire UK.
Pete Wishart of the Scottish National Party claimed last week that Evel had built a “quasi-English parliament squat” in the UK Parliament.
“I’m not sure if it was splitting the membership of this House into two different and distinct groups of.”Brinkwire Summary News”, he remarked.