Sturgeon: English votes plan makes independence more likely

Posted On: 
2nd July 2015

The Government’s proposals for English MPs to have a veto over legislation that affects only England could take Scotland closer to independence, Nicola Sturgeon has suggested. 

Nicola Sturgeon

Under the Government’s plan, the Speaker of the Commons will assess whether a bill or parts of a bill cover provisions that have been devolved and therefore should be considered ‘English only’ or ‘English and Welsh only’.

The Conservatives intend to introduce a new ‘consent vote’, which amounts to an effective veto, that will be for only the MPs whose constituencies would be affected by the laws.

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The SNP has claimed the proposals will create “second-class status” for Scottish MPs, but Chris Grayling insisted the plan would address an imbalance in the current constitutional settlement.

Ms Sturgeon, however, said the move could push Scotland closer to splitting from the United Kingdom.

"The Tories have produced a constitutional shambles - staggering in the extent of its hypocrisy and incoherence,” the First Minister said.

"I have been very clear that, at least in part, the level of support for independence will be determined by what the Tory government at Westminster does, as well as what the SNP Government does. And there is no question that the great disrespect shown to Scotland in these proposals is likely to have more people asking whether Westminster is capable of representing Scotland's interests at all.”

Labour has also criticised the plans and particularly the move to implement them by changing standing orders rather than through primary legislation.

The Opposition has been calling for a wider constitutional convention to consider such issues.

“The Government is rushing ahead with its plans without proper consultation, and without following the usual procedures,” said Angela Eagle, the Shadow Leader of the House.

“These proposals risk the union rather than saving it... The Leader of the House and the Prime Minister are playing with fire –they should not be so reckless with the future of the United Kingdom.”