Evel idea ‘sounds racist’, says Sir Gerald Kaufman

Sir Gerald Kaufman made the remarks about the Conservatives' plans. Picture: PA
Sir Gerald Kaufman made the remarks about the Conservatives' plans. Picture: PA
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Plans to deliver “English votes on English laws” sound racist, the Father of the House has said.

Sir Gerald Kaufman said the measures would undermine the basis of British democracy, adding he hoped enough Tory MPs would reject the policy due to their “love” for the Commons.

Commons Leader Chris Grayling declined to address Sir Gerald’s questions because of the “racism” accusation.

Sir Gerald, a former Labour minister, told the Tory frontbencher: “Even the title of this motion sounds racist.

“You talked repeatedly about constitutional arrangements but is it not a fact that the glory of this country is we do not have a constitution and that we’re governed by the Queen in parliament? And furthermore, is it not a glory of this House that every member from those holding the highest office through to the most newly elected Member of Parliament is equal in the division lobby?

“Is it not a fact that this government is undermining not simply whatever differences there may be between outlooks from people of different countries within the United Kingdom, but this government is undermining the whole basis of British democracy right through from when Magna Carta was signed?

“I hope there will be enough Conservative Members of Parliament who have sufficient love of this wonderful House not to cooperate in destroying it.”

Mr Grayling replied: “You are a distinguished member of this House but I have to say your opening comment about racism demeans it and therefore I’m not going to respond to it.”

Labour MPs shouted that his response was a “disgrace”.