The Conservatives will next week float the idea of banning Scottish MPs from voting on legislation that only affects English voters in a new policy paper.
Hague is leading talks on the question of ‘English votes for English laws’ in the wake of the Scottish referendum, which led the Westminster parties to promise more devolution to Holyrood. The constitutional consequences of this enraged a number of English MPs who demanded the right to stop Scottish MPs voting on matters that did not affect Scotland.
In the paper, which has been seen by the Financial Times,, one of the options is banning Scottish MPs from voting on any English-only legislation. Two of the other options involve allowing English MPs to have a greater say on the laws at earlier stages before bringing in all MPs for the final vote.
The idea of ‘English votes for English laws’ has put Labour in a tricky position as the party is anxious for its Scottish MPs not to be excluded from important legislation.
However, Hilary Benn, the shadow communities secretary, and Sadiq Khan, the shadow justice secretary, revealed on Friday that they backed the proposals of the McKay commission. This report suggested a grand committee of English MPs to scrutinise legislation before it ends up in the chamber.
They said: “Done in the right way, this would be a sensible reform which would strengthen England’s voice without ending up creating two classes of MP, and it must now be considered as part of the constitutional convention process. What we must not do is inadvertently undermine the union of nations that is the United Kingdom. Hasty proposals, drawn up in a secret Whitehall committee chaired by a former Tory leader, as David Cameron is doing, is not the right way to go about it. It just won’t wash with the British public.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010