Monday, 6 July 2015

Carmichael secures emergency debate on English Votes

An urgent Commons debate is to be held on Tuesday over Tory plans for English Votes for English Laws.

Alistair Carmichael, the only Scottish Lib Dem MP, secured the emergency debate on plans to exclude Scottish MPs from certain Commons votes after a direct appeal to the Speaker.

Under the little-used Standing Order 24, Carmichael asked the Speaker to cancel Tuesday’s Commons business in the Commons and instead hold an urgent debate for all MPs on the government’s proposals.

The Tories plan to change the standing orders of the Commons in one day instead of changing the law to introduce so-called EVEL. Doing so would have avoided a debate on the issue.

Carmichael told MPs: “Addressing the democratic position of the people of England is apparently to be done from scratch in one day in this chamber alone.

“Obviously I am concerned about the message that this proposal sends to the people of Scotland but, quite apart from that, I happen to think that the people of England deserve better treatment than this.

“Let there be no doubt – we are dealing here with a major constitutional change. It is one which undermines a fundamental principle of the workings of this house – namely that no matter where we come from, once we get here, we are all equal.

“To seek to do this in one day by amendment to our standing orders may be technically competent but it is still an abuse of process. It is constitutionally outrageous and I fear that it puts a further unnecessary strain on the union.”

The move for the three hour debate was supported by Labour and SNP MPs and granted by the Speaker.

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