Standing Orders (Public Business) (22 Oct 2015)

Despite all the bluster we have heard about English votes for English laws being the No. 1 issue on the doorstep, this is a fudge of a solution to a problem that does not exist. [Interruption.] It is true and I will tell Government Members why. Since 2001, only 0.6% of votes have been affected by Scottish MPs. They can tell their constituents that there are only 59 Scottish MPs out of 650 MPs in this House, so clearly we cannot impose our will on the House. It is the other way about and we have had to put up with it for years. It has been estimated that under the last Government, there were only two England-only Bills that would have fallen under EVEL.

The issue cannot be that important because in the last couple of debates, most Government Members did not even bother to turn out. Sadly, the same is true today on the Labour Benches. The No. 1 story that we have heard over the years has been about the introduction of student fees. If that was such an issue to all youse guys, you could have abolished student fees in the last Parliament. Instead, you voted to increase them. If the Government introduce a Bill to abolish student fees, believe me, we will back them.