City MP leads the charge on English Votes for English Laws

Iain Stewart MP for Milton Keynes South
Iain Stewart MP for Milton Keynes South

English Votes for English Laws is set to reach the House of Commons this month after senior Tory MPs, including Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart, put forward their proposals on how it might work.

Last week Mr Stewart and other MPs had a final meeting with Commons Leader William Hague who is set to reveal how he intends to fulfil David Cameron’s promise to curb the power of Scottish MPs to vote in laws that affect only England.

Iain Stewart, who grew up in Scotland, put forward his idea on the ‘double majority’. The system would see Scottish MPs able to contribute to debates and votes on English laws, but would also require “explicit English consent to be introduced”.

The ‘double majority’ idea has gained widespread support including from the Scottish Herald.

Iain Stewart said: “This government has worked very hard to devolve much more powers to regional and local levels. Organisations such as our local enterprise partnership, SEMLEP, have taken the responsibilities of areas such as transport and infrastructure.

“We have also put a strong emphasis on the idea of an elected mayor. It is very important we don’t allow there to be confusion between regional devolution and EVEL which Ed Miliband is trying to do.

“I am happy to have a debate about more localised powers but it does not address the demand for votes on English only matters.”

Mr Stewart added: “I think it is absolutely valid for people living in England to expect some form of devolution. With Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland getting more powers its only right to address the English dimension. I don’t think there is any desire for another layer of politicians.

“I think we need to work around what we already have but allow for English consent on the laws affecting only England.”

Andrew Pakes, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes South, commented: “It is deeply disappointing to see Conservative MPs trying to rush this idea through just before an election.

“Big constitutional issues rarely succeed on the hoof. This says more about the Conservative’s worries about losing votes to UKIP than it does about winning extra money for Milton Keynes. I wish our MPs would get his animated on issues like nurses pay or opposing the bedroom tax.”