Panel of experts chosen to find the answer to West Lothian question

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The members of an expert panel that will look into whether MPs in Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish seats should vote on laws affecting only England has been named by the coalition government.

Former Clerk of the House of Commons Sir William McKay will chair the six-strong commission examining the so-called “West Lothian question”.

He will be joined by the outgoing head of the Parliamentary Counsel legal team, Sir Stephen Laws, and one of his predecessors, Sir Geoffrey Bowman.

Devolved areas will be represented by Professor Charlie Jeffery, of the Edinburgh University Academy of Government, ex-UK Ambassador to the United Nations Sir Emyr Jones Parry, who is chairman of the All Wales Convention, and Professor Yvonne Galligan, of Queen’s University Belfast.

It will begin work next month and will call experts to give oral or written evidence, with a final report and recommendations due to be completed by the end of the next parliamentary session.

Constitutional reform minister Mark Harper said its remit would be confined to how the Commons deals with legislation that does not affect every part of the UK.

It will not consider relative funding or the balance between English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs in the House of Commons.

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan criticised the lack of any serving or retired MPs on the commission and complained that Labour was not consulted.

“We are opposed to creating a simple hierarchy of Members of Parliament based simply on what parts of the UK they represent,” he said.