Hague says he will end 'unfairness' of Scottish MPs voting on English laws

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William Hague faced accusations yesterday of fuelling English nationalism after he vowed to stop Scottish MPs from voting on "English laws" if the Conservatives won the next general election.

William Hague faced accusations yesterday of fuelling English nationalism after he vowed to stop Scottish MPs from voting on "English laws" if the Conservatives won the next general election.

The Tory leader promised "English votes on English laws" within days of taking power to redress the balance of the constitution in response to Scottish devolution.

"It is clearly an unfair situation at the moment when Scottish MPs can vote on what is happening in England but English MPs can no longer vote on what is happening in Scotland. I don't think we can go on like that for ever."

The proposal will be raised at Scottish question time today. The Liberal Democrats accused Mr Hague of diminishing the Commons by proposing a "second-class membership" and "pandering to an insular English nationalism".

Mr Hague insisted: "The Scottish Parliament is there and we believe we must make a success of the Scottish Parliament but we do have to be fair to the people of England as well.

"If there are Scottish votes on Scottish laws it is only right there should be English votes on English laws and MPs for the whole of the UK should vote together on UK matters. I think that would strike most people in the country as a fair solution."

Mr Hague hopes that his proposals will help to undermine the Government even if Labour won the next election because they would question the validity of Scottish votes in a Westminster poll.

He said: "A future government lacking a majority in England will use the votes of Scottish MPs to impose unpopular legislation on England. That adds up to an explosive situation."

Alasdair Morgan, the Scottish National Party's Westminster group leader and MP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale, said: "This is typical Tory anti-Scottishness. William Hague's new policy might carry a grain of credibility if English Tory MPs hadn't voted to impose the poll tax on Scotland."

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