MPs back English-only votes as SNP warns it will trigger ‘end of union’


Parliament has backed English votes for English laws, excluding devolved MPs from some issues and prompting a second referendum warning.The Saltire and Union flags are raised on Arthur's Seat with a view of Edinburgh Castle ahead of the Scottish Referendum.

Parliament has voted for Scottish MPs to be excluded from votes affecting England in a move that the SNP warned will bring independence closer.

The changes were passed by 312 votes to 270 in the House of Commons.

Pete Wishart, a Scottish National Party MP, warned that “the mood is darkening” in Scotland during the debate.

He added: “If this is an exercise in saving the Union you could not have contrived of a more inept way to save the Union.

“Support for independence is actually increasing.”

It came as Kevin Brennan, a Labour MP, called on the Speaker to issue different coloured passes for members from around the UK to make clear who would be banned from voting, after a fraught debate in the Commons.Angus Robertson opposed the plans

Chris Grayling, the Leader of the House, claimed the changes would make Parliament fairer for English MPs.

But there was strong opposition from Labour, SNP and DUP members who warned the changes will create two classes of MP in the Commons.

Angus Robertson, Leader of the SNP in Westminster, tweeted: “Tories just pushed through second class status for Scottish MPs at Westminster. Whatever happened to the ‘respect agenda’? “

And Owen Thompson, SNP MP and whip wrote: “The Tories ended the union today – not SNP and not the people of Scotland – result of this will have huge consequences for whole UK.”

But Conservative MP John Redwood, who backed the plans, said it was time to give English MPs more power in Parliament.

‘Most of the parliamentary process will remain the same’
Chris Grayling, Leader of the Commons

He told the House: “Today is the chance to start to put right some of that injustice to England; today is the chance to start to rebalance our precious United Kingdom.

“And in the week of Trafalgar Day, Mr Speaker, let me end by saying: England expects every English MP to do his duty or her duty.”

Leader of the Commons Chris Grayling told the Today programme that the changes are “entirely reasonable”.

He added: “Most of the parliamentary process will remain exactly the same.Justice Secretary Chris GraylingLeader of the House Chris Grayling pushed the plans through the Commons  Photo: Anthony Davlin/PA

“What it actually does is ensure that if we have a United Kingdom Government that is seeking to impose a solution on England, let’s say a radical plan for education reform which only applies in England, what it means is it can only do that if it gets the consent of English Members of Parliament.

“That, it seems to me, is entirely reasonable. We are devolving more powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we are creating a United Kingdom with a really strong devolved structure, and we are saying to people in England there’s a bit of this for you. You’ve got some rights yourselves.”Nicola Sturgeon, centre, is joined by the newly elected SNP MPs outside the Houses of Parliament SNP MPs are concerned the plans will created two classes of member  Photo: Geoff Pugh/The Telegraph

And he sought to allay fears that the new Parliamentary rules will see the Speaker being taken to court over his role in deciding which issues affect Scotland and which do not.

He said: “The one thing about the way our Parliament works is that the Speaker say is final. Speaker’s do take difficult decisions – that’s their job.”



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