Lib Dems threaten to block Tory 'stitch-up' over English Parliament

Party opposed to 'English votes for English laws'

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The Liberal Democrats are threatening to block an electoral “stitch-up” by the Conservatives over “English votes for English laws”.

The warning reflects the party’s anger over David Cameron’s attempt to link a promise to pass more powers to Edinburgh with extra devolution to England.

A Cabinet committee headed by the Conservative William Hague and the Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander will open talks shortly on constitutional changes within the UK.

But a Lib Dem source said he feared Mr Cameron’s move was an attempt to bolster the Conservatives’ power and influence south of the border. He told the Independent: “We are not going to support a Tory stitch-up that is only designed to neuter Labour.”

In his keynote conference speech, Nick Clegg accused the Conservatives of “trying to impose an entirely self-serving system of Tory votes for English laws on the House of Commons in order to give more say to their MPs”.

Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary, said that last month’s referendum vote against Scottish independence was a chance for the whole of the United Kingdom to move on.

“When we deliver the promises we made in the course of that devolution referendum, then we will unlock the promise to federalism across the whole of the UK,” he told activists.

“That is the opportunity we now have within our grasp – a federal structure across the whole of the UK.”

Any devolution of power to the House of Commons over English issues should be based on a system of proportional representation, Mr Carmichael insisted.