D J Hollingdale (Letters, 16
February) ridicules my assertion (Letters, 15 February) that the English electorate would have too much self-respect to be expected to submit to policies against the indicated wishes of 82 per cent of their MPs, as
happened to Scottish MPs on the bedroom tax vote.
However, given there are 533 English constituency MPs and 59 Scottish constituency MPs, it is arithmetically impossible for that to happen. However, 100 per cent of Scottish MPs could vote one way and still be over-ruled. Scotland currently has one Conservative and 11 Liberal MPs, ie 20 per cent of the Scottish seats, so votes against 80 per cent of Scottish MPs are very likely to happen again during this parliament.
Given their poor support in Scotland, the Conservatives in particular have little incentive to appease Scottish voters and have shown little empathy with them.
As Labour can apparently bank on retaining what has been a loyal Labour or, at least, anti-Conservative Scottish vote, they are more likely to pursue policies which won’t antagonise the votes of the more volatile middle England electorate, without whom they would not be re-elected, no matter what the outcome was in Scotland.
So we now have the situation in which it is increasingly difficult to tell the Labour and Conservative policies apart.
In either case there is little chance of the English electorate’s wishes being under-represented, while the Scottish representation is much less significant even than the 59 seats would suggest.
If the Scottish referendum vote is No, then both Labour and Conservative parties will have even less need to appease or consider what is best for Scottish voters.