Brown’s bungle

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It is extraordinary for Gordon Brown to complain that amending Scottish MPs’ rights under “English votes for English laws” and full devolution of income tax to Holyrood would create two classes of MPs, threatening a constitutional crisis for the UK and creating a “Trojan horse” for independence.

It was the botched Blair/Brown/Dewar devolution settlement of 1997-99 which undemocratically created two classes of MP and indeed two classes of voters (both happily accepted by Labour), and led inexorably to the referendum agreement whose question, date, franchise and 50 per cent+1 majority (all “justified” by the SNP’s 45 per cent vote on a 50 per cent turnout) coupled with Brown’s last-minute panic intervention, not surprisingly led to the current shambles of pushing through major constitutional reform after 307 years, in a matter of weeks, and when no solution has emerged in the past 20 years other than devolution throughout the whole UK to local authorities – with no Holyrood and therefore no West Lothian Question.

John Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews

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