Westminster Committee Publishes Damning Review of EVEL One Year On
A damning report on the fundamental flaws within the Tory’s EVEL – English Votes for English Laws - procedures has been published one year on from their introduction, recommending a further evaluation of the system.
The report found that:
“The new EVEL procedures do not command the respect and support across all parties that they should if the system is to be sustainable through the political stresses it must expect to face in the future. This is not a sound basis for a major long-term change to the legislative process in this House.” (Paragraph 76)
EVEL was rushed through the House of Commons following the 2014 referendum in a bid to appease Tory backbenchers. The initial fears by SNP MPs that Scottish MPs may not hold equal parliamentary rights are reflected in a Westminster Procedures Committee report.
English MPs may veto legislative provisions which potentially impact levels of public expenditure in England - which can have knock-on effects in Scotland - whereas Scottish MPs cannot vote alone on matters directly affecting Scotland’s block grant.
Patricia Gibson MP, Member of the House of Commons Procedures Committee, said:
“The SNP has consistently argued that this system of EVEL effectively excludes MPs from Scotland having a say on major policy changes which can affect Scotland’s block grant.
“We are not opposed to the principle of English votes for English laws but as this report shows, the current system commands very little respect across the House of Commons. Very few MPs understand what’s going on, making House of Commons business even more impenetrable to the public. Prime Minister Theresa May has been quick to ditch large swathes of David Cameron’s legacy. This report shows that she should dump the ridiculous EVEL procedures sooner rather than later."
“The Tory Government forced through the EVEL last year, in the face of opposition from every other party. The report makes it clear that the system needs urgent and far-reaching reform to address the concerns of MPs from all the constituent nations of the UK.
“The UK Government must restore the ability of MPs from Scotland to vote on all aspects of legislation that may affect their constituents."
Read the full report here: