England the english?

Majorities in the english constituencies (2010). Blue: tories. Red: labour. Yellow: liberal democrats. Map: furfur. License: public domain.

Tories could benefit from planned regionalization of gross britain if scottish, welsh and northern irish mps were no longer allowed to vote on english affairs

Following the scottish independence referendum, the british parliament is debating how the promises made to the scots before the referendum about new powers should be implemented in practice. Despite the joint statement published a few days before the no to independence "eids" from david cameron, ed milliband and nick clegg, the three established parties are by no means in agreement on what specific new sources of revenue scotland should get.

While the liberal democrats have proposed that income, capital gains and inheritance taxes be set by the scottish parliament in the future, the tories want to leave the power over income tax exclusively to the scots. Even more reluctant is the labour party, which wants to allow only limited deviations from income tax in the rest of the uk.

Labour and the liberal democrats also want more power to be given only to the scottish parliament and the scottish executive for the time being. They do not want to negotiate on the other three regions of the united kingdom until after the next house of commons election, which is expected to take place in may 2015. David cameron, on the other hand, wants a complete reform of federalism, which will affect not only scotland, wales and northern ireland, but also england, the most populous region by a wide margin, which until now has been decided not by a self-governing body but by the westminster house of commons.

In addition to 533 members from england, 59 from scotland, 40 from wales and 18 from northern ireland sit in the westminster house of commons. The 117 mandate holders from the last three regions were previously allowed to have a say and vote even when it was exclusively a matter of english affairs. The tories want to change that. For them, this had the advantage that in an all-english parliament they might in the future have majorities that they lack in westminster:

Last time, the scots elected 41 labour candidates, eleven liberal democrats, six representatives of the scottish national party (snp) and only one tory. From wales, there are currently 26 labour candidates, three liberal democrats, three welsh regionalists from plaid cymru and eight tories. And in northern ireland in 2010, 16 seats went to religiously affiliated regional parties of varying degrees of radicalism, one to a superdenominational regional party and another to an independent candidate. English voters, on the other hand, sent 296 tories to westminster – significantly more than the 191 labour mps, 42 liberal democrats and four others elected in the region combined.

According to a new poll, 62 percent of british voters agree that only mps elected in england should vote on (strictly speaking) english ies. The labour party therefore cannot completely avoid this justice loophole and is trying to turn the inevitable debate around with new proposals: labour mp diane abbott, for example, is demanding that not england, but the city of london and other english gross cities should be given self-government rights similar to those enjoyed by scotland.

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