The EU Withdrawal Bill’s return to the Commons saw SNP MPs protest about their voices having been excluded from the debate. Our Co-Convenor, Louise Thompson, explains how parliamentary procedures can indeed restrict debate for smaller opposition parties, and considers whether something ought to be done about it.
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?
Please note that this blog piece was originally published on Colin Talbot’s personal blog on 20 April 2015, and is available here.
By Colin Talbot
The SNP are claiming they can ‘block Labour budgets’, ‘end austerity’ and ‘stop Trident’. Their problem however is simple – most of what they say is based on assuming that Westminster works the same way as Holyrood does for budgeting – and it doesn’t.
There are huge ‘constitutional’ and practical obstacles to implementing the sort of radical challenges to Government tax and spend decisions that the SNP and others seem to be mooting. Continue reading