Britain has asymmetrical devolution - time for an English parliament?

Flag Of England

The UK is lopsided - politically speaking. An English parliament could go some way to correct this imbalance.

There are three real main arguments against an English Parliament. The first is the added cost: it would have to be built, there would have to be new MPs and their staff paid for and numerous other costs on top of that. The second is the claim that it would just be another talking shop of politicians - another level of bureaucracy for politicians to jump onto. The third is that regional assemblies might be more effective in getting decisions done locally. In terms of population, England is huge so their is an argument for devolution at much lower levels.

All arguments make valid points. They could be tackled but they are still all valid arguments. The cost of a new building could not be ignored unless an old one is used, but that would still cost in terms of getting it up to scratch. The cost new MPs and staff could also not be ignored, but with more decisions being devolved to the nations this could be counterbalanced with a reduction in UK-wide MPs. For example, the USA has over 300 million people, but the total of Representatives and Senators (435 + 100) is still less than the total of MPs for the House Of Commons (650). And let’s not get started on how big the House Of Lords is. And on the third issue, if the people want an English parliament then they should get one. If they want regional assemblies then they should get them. If do not want either then their wishes should be respected even though many would disagree. But the question should be at least asked. It’s time England got a say on how it should function in the United Kingdom.

SEE ALSO: Crowd-fund to pay for Greek bail out fund reaches one million euro

But why would an English parliament or regional assemblies be beneficial? As stated in the title the UK is asymmetrical. There is a Scottish parliament, and Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies. Even London has an assembly. True, powers are being devolved to cities, but that does little to solve the problem at an English level. One of the main reasons EVEL is being pushed through is to stop Scottish MPs from voting on non-Scottish issues. The thinking behind it is right, but in practice there are many blurred lines. If England had its own parliament then it could make its own local decisions away from any potential interference.

But its more than that. UK MPs are MPs for the UK. They think on a UK basis when they go into the chamber. Having a separate set of English MPs (MPEs?) would allow for a different sort of thinking.

Furthermore, when Scots go to the ballot box at general elections they generally vote with the UK and the issues dealt by Westminster in mind. These elections are about foreign policy, defence and welfare, whereas in Holyrood elections people are thinking about health, education and policing. These distinctions help political decision making and allow people to think with a clearer idea of what will happen in mind. Until recently Scots tended to vote Labour in general elections and SNP in Holyrood elections, showing this difference in action.

An English parliament would do just that - it would give more power to voters over different issues.

The UK is a long way from an English parliament or regional assemblies, but its not unrealistic. Extra costs and bureaucracy would have to be limited for it to happen. The people of England would need to get a say along with a big debate. But overall, it would probably be a good step for the future of the United Kingdom.


If Greece can't pay it should leave the euro, suggests poll of Brits

UKIP set for Welsh assembly success

Green party has room to improve after record general election