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An English Parliament – An idea whose time has come?

English Parliament

The French Novelist and poet Victor Hugo once wrote:

“Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come.

It is our firm belief that the time has come for the idea of a truly devolved and equitable UK.

The idea of a separate English Parliament or devolved assembly is one that has been around for a while, but calls for it are now growing louder by the day.

People quite rightly ask; why does Scotland have its own Parliament and First Minister, Wales has an assembly and First Minister, Northern Ireland has an assembly, a First Minister and deputy First Minister but England has no Parliament, assembly or First Minister?

Scotland

In Scotland, members of the public with concerns can raise them with MSPs, MPs, MEPs or councillors. To explain this, the Scottish Parliament released a guide:

MSPs, MPs, MEPs, councillors – who does what?[1]

In this guide it explains that Scottish MPs at Westminster and Scottish MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) have defined, separate roles and deal with different matters.

In England, MPs have no equivalent to MSPs or assembly members and so must divide work between themselves and local councillors.

Powers Returned

Whether or not you believe that the EU referendum result was a good or bad one, the fact is that vast swathes of legislative power are going to return in the next few years from Brussels to MPs at Westminster. Powers over trade, agriculture, fisheries, energy and transport and many other areas will have to be dealt with exclusively by British Parliamentarians. This will add pressure on English members of Parliament who as we have mentioned, already could be seen as ‘overburdened’ compared to their Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts.

Half-measures and sticking plaster solutions such as EVEL and super-mayors simply won’t do.  The only sensible solution is the creation of a separate English Parliament and democratically-elected English First Minister. The English people expect and deserve no less.

By Gary Robinson

[1] http://www.parliament.scot/PublicInformationdocuments/SPMSPMPMEPEnglishSept2014.pdf

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