One year of EVEL: Evaluating ‘English Votes for English Laws’ in the House of Commons

One year of EVEL: Evaluating ‘English Votes for English Laws’ in the House of Commons

By Daniel Gover and Michael Kenny

It is now just over a year since the House of Commons adopted a new set of procedural rules known as ‘English Votes for English Laws’ (or EVEL). Put simply, EVEL provides MPs representing constituencies in England (or England and Wales) with the opportunity to veto certain legislative provisions that apply only in that part of the UK. (For a reminder of how the process works, see here.) Introduced with some fanfare by the Conservative government following the 2015 election – and criticised heavily by its political opponents – these procedures have quickly faded from public view. But, one year on, what lessons can be drawn from how EVEL has operated so far?

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Sunday Trading and the Limits of EVEL

Sunday Trading and the Limits of EVEL

Please note that this piece was originally posted on the UCL Constitution Unit blog, and is available here.

By Daniel Gover and Michael Kenny

Yesterday MPs defeated the government by 317 votes to 286 on its proposals to relax Sunday trading rules. But although the policy would have applied only in England and Wales, the votes of Scottish MPs proved decisive. In this post Daniel Gover and Michael Kenny discuss the territorial dimensions to this episode, and why the recent ‘English Votes for English Laws’ reform did not help the government to pass its legislation.

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EVEL: ‘A major moment in the constitutional history of these islands’

EVEL: ‘A major moment in the constitutional history of these islands’

This post was originally posted on the Centre for Constitutional Change website on 03 July, which is available here, and has been re-posted with permission.

By Michael Kenny

The government’s announcement of its much anticipated proposals for the introduction of ‘English votes for English laws’ in the House of Commons, involves changes to the rules for scrutinising individual Bills, or clauses within them, that affect England, or England and Wales only. The reforms are proposed as an answer to the West Lothian question – the situation whereby MPs from the devolved territories can vote on matters that affect England only, such as Education, but English MPs cannot reciprocate on issues that are devolved. Continue reading

EVEL and Democratic Reform

EVEL and Democratic Reform

This post was originally posted on the Centre for Constitutional Change website on 03 July, which is available here, and has been re-posted with permission.

By Michael Keating

The introduction of English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) faces a problem, says Michael Keating, in that only a minority of English voters will ever have supported the laws in question.

The government has now come up with its answer to the West Lothian Question, that Scottish MPs can vote on English matters but not the other way around. Unfortunately, it is not the type of question that has an answer, but rather a conundrum. English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) is therefore not going to satisfy everyone or resolve the issue. It may address some immediate grievances but is a very partial response to a much bigger issue. Continue reading