David Cameron’s government is to give lawmakers from England a veto over measures that affect only England, a move attacked by Scottish nationalists as discriminating against them.
A new stage will be introduced for laws passing through Parliament when English, or English and Welsh, lawmakers will be asked to accept or veto legislation only affecting their constituents before it passes to its final stage.
Some votes will be recorded on tablet computers, rather than paper, to allow an immediate calculation of whether a measure had the support of English members as well as the whole chamber.
“We are recognizing the voice of England in our great union of nations,” Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling told a rowdy chamber. He said his plan gave English lawmakers “a power of veto to prevent any measure being imposed on their constituents against their wishes.”
Grayling described the plan as a response to the increased powers over taxation and spending given to Scotland. For the Scottish National Party, which holds 56 of Scotland’s 59 Commons seats, Pete Wishart said he and his colleagues would become second-class members of Parliament.
Grayling said the speaker of the House of Commons will be asked to certify whether bills cover the U.K., England and Wales, or England only.