SNP 'U-turn' delays fox-hunting vote

Alex Salmond at SNP campaign

On Wednesday the parliament was set to vote on lifting the ban, but this has been delayed as the SNP now plan to vote on it.

The vote would only affect England and Wales, according to the BBC, as the issue is devolved in Scotland to Holyrood. Nonetheless, Scottish MPs can still vote on English-only issues, something which the Conservatives are attempting to sort out with EVEL.

Traditionally, the Scottish nationalists have not voted on non-Scottish issues in the House Of Commons but they are now a huge political force with 56 MPs and are attempting to use that to make sure the fox hunting ban does not get lifted.

The SNP announced their decision to vote against the lifting of the fox hunting ban on Tuesday, with the SNP’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson saying that:

“"We totally oppose fox hunting, and when there are moves in the Scottish Parliament to review whether the existing Scottish ban is strong enough, it is in the Scottish interest to maintain the existing ban in England and Wales for Holyrood to consider.”

According to the BBC a Downing Street source has said:

"This happened because Nicola Sturgeon has done a 180-degree U-turn.”

As a result of the SNP’s change of tactics the phrase ‘SNP U-turn’ has been trending on Twitter.

SEE ALSO: Britain's asymmetrical devolution - time for an English parliament?

The SNP are taking full advantage of their 56 MPs in the Commons to cause disruptions to David Cameron’s all Conservative government. This event makes it look unlikely that the fox hunting ban will be lifted, unless Scottish MPs are banned from voting on non-Scottish issues. Whatever one’s view on fox hunting there is an unfairness in British politics - asymmetrical devolution - where Scottish MPs can vote on English only issues, but English MPs cannot vote on Scottish ones.

‘English votes for English laws’ has its flaws, but it is a step to address this unfairness. An English parliament or regional devolution could address it fully and this fox hunting debate could likely put firmly on the agenda.

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