David Maddox: Evel plans wouldn’t stop SNP veto

David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon have butted heads over the SNP's plans to bulk vote against fox hunting changes. Picture: Getty
David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon have butted heads over the SNP's plans to bulk vote against fox hunting changes. Picture: Getty
Share this article
1
Have your say

DAVID Cameron was fuming over the SNP group of 56 blocking changes to hunting in England. It was clear that the Prime Minister thought that Scottish MPs should not be voting at all on an issue that only affects England and Wales.

But the huge irony was that Mr Cameron’s own proposals for English votes for English laws (Evel) would not prevent the SNP exercising a veto again, given the right circumstances in the future over foxhunting south of the Border.

The Evel proposals simply provide English MPs with a wrecking power over legislation they do not like if a UK government some time in the future requires MPs from Scotland to form a majority.

What is on the table is an English grand committee stage and then a double majority of English MPs and UK MPs in a final third reading in the House of Commons.

The double majority is a double-edged sword. It means that English MPs can stop something but so can all UK MPs. What this row over foxhunting has done is raise suspicions that the Tory leadership may be persuaded to go with a version of Evel that is even worse than currently proposed.

If Mr Cameron really does not want Scottish MPs to vote on matters like hunting which only affect England and Wales then he would have to bring in a change which would actually block them from taking part in anyway. This would really mean that there were two classes of MP in Westminster as is being claimed by critics of the current Evel proposals.

The row has worked for both the English and Scottish nationalists.

Mr Cameron can point to the need for a stronger English voice in parliament while the SNP have undoubtedly seen Evel as the means for driving a wedge into the Union.