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Give English Lawmakers Extra Rights on English Laws, Panel Says

Lawmakers representing English districts in the British Parliament should be given extra rights to decide on legislation that only affects England, according to a government-appointed commission.

Since 1999, the smaller countries in the U.K., Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland, have had their own legislatures, with varying levels of control over policy, including health and education. England, which has 53 million of the U.K.’s 63 million people, has no dedicated assembly.

This means that while English members of the U.K. Parliament can’t vote on Scottish health policy, lawmakers from Scotland can vote on English matters. In 2012, the government asked a commission headed by William McKay, a former clerk of the House of Commons, to investigate and suggest solutions.

In his report, published today, McKay suggested a convention whereby matters that only affect England should be decided only with the consent of a majority of English lawmakers. He presented a range of procedural options to give English lawmakers an extra voice on such subjects.

“Surveys have shown that people in England are unhappy about the existing arrangements, and support change,” McKay said in an e-mailed statement. “There is a feeling that England is at a disadvantage. The status quo clearly cannot be sustained.”

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