Monday, November 5, 2007

Tories' Grand Committee idea - is it all due to their virtual elimination north of the border?

In yesterday's Observer, Professor Vernon Bogdanor wrote an excellent criticism of the Tories idea for an English "Grand Committee" in the House of Commons.

He says it will create two governments at Westminster, effectively take away Scots MPs' power to vote on the funding for Scotland (which is set via an arithmetic connection the English tax settlement) and politicise the role of speaker, who would have to decide which bills, or more likely which bits of bills, are UK-wide and which are English.

...All this for a marginal impact of the Scots MPs, bearing in mind that 548 of the 645 MPs represent English constituencies.

Bogdanor also points out that we probably wouldn't be having this discussion if the Tories' representation north of the border hadn't been virtually eliminated in the last decade.

As Charles Kennedy recently pointed out, this Tory proposal is from a Scot who was ousted from his seat north of the border and had to scuttle away to Kensington and Chelsea to find a perch in the House of Commons. That says it all.

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