English Votes for English Laws addresses the so-called ‘West Lothian Question’ - the position where English MPs cannot vote on matters which have been devolved to other parts of the UK, but Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Ireland MPs can vote on those same matters when the UK Parliament is legislating solely for England. As devolution to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland is strengthened, the question of fairness for England becomes more acute. These proposals change the process by which legislation is considered by the House of Commons so that MPs with constituencies in England (and where relevant England and Wales) are asked to give their consent to legislation that only affects England (or England and Wales), and is on matters that are devolved elsewhere in the UK. Those MPs will therefore have the opportunity to veto such legislation. The change will strengthen England’s voice, just as devolution has strengthened the voices of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland within the Union, so that the legislative process is fair for everyone. All MPs will continue to be able to amend and vote on all legislation, as they can now.
This note sets out how the new legislative process will work if it is agreed by the House of Commons.