English Votes for English Laws: Law Society of Scotland responds
The Law Society of Scotland has responded to the UK government’s proposals on English votes for English laws – a change which would see English and in some instances Welsh MPs given a veto over laws in the House of Commons which do not apply in Scotland.
It would be for the Speaker to determine which parts of a bill dealt with England or England and Wales.
Responding to the proposals, Christine McLintock, president of the Law society of Scotland said: “The West Lothian question has existed for almost 40 years, and will not be answered by changing the House of Commons standing orders alone.
“One of the most challenging aspects of this will be deciding what legislation is England or England and Wales only. Even small amendments to legislation starting off as England only can create consequences for other parts of the United Kingdom.
“Dealing with different legislation in different ways could lead to an even more complicated and confusing parliamentary process.
“We do have some concerns at the inclusion of Finance Bills in the proposals. The UK Government needs to explain why Budget Resolutions which may impact the whole of the UK are not treated in the same way as taxes which also apply to the UK.
“With the ongoing debate over the appropriate powers for the devolved assembles and parliaments and indeed with forms of devolution to regions within England, now is the time to look at these issues as part of a wider context.
“Indeed, it may be that a federal system offers the only long term and sustainable solution.”