Letter: Think of England

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Jack Straw's muddled attempt to answer the English question highlights the Government's confused thinking on this issue ("Essex man makes a plea for Englishness", 28 September).

He states: "We do not want two classes of MPs." But he is happy for there to be two classes of UK citizen. The people of Scotland have both the Scottish Executive and Scottish MPs at Westminster looking after their interests.

He says Scottish MPs should keep their "right to vote on English matters because funding decisions indirectly affected them as well.... If money is spent, frankly it could mean less money for them."

Under devolution, Scotland has a set budget based on an agreed allocation of UK funds and the Scottish Parliament exists to decide how this money is spent (and whether to raise any extra money in Scotland). Jack Straw's comments imply that Scotland can obtain extra funds if Scottish Westminster MPs block spending budgeted for England.

Scottish Westminster MPs have every right to vote on UK spending but should have no say over spending that is specific to England. The only way to make this principle absolutely clear is to have a separate Parliament for England.

STEVE RICHARDS

Chairman, Campaign for an English Parliament

King's Lynn, Norfolk

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