Letter: Blair's blurred vision of Britain

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The Independent Online
Sir: Tony Blair has pledged to legislate for a Scottish parliament in Labour's first year of power ('Tony Blair's First Day', 23 July), but has he thought this policy through?

If we have Scottish devolution before English regional government, then how can Scotland justify having as many MPs as it does? If Scotland is to have the privilege of a separate parliament, then this should be balanced with a reduced representation in the House of Commons. However, a smaller number of anti-Tory Scottish MPs would probably lead to a Conservative majority in any following general election under the first-past-the-post voting system.

If Labour did not reduce the number of Scottish MPs, we can be sure that any succeeding Conservative government would, thus ensuring that they would win any future election.

English devolution has many merits, but would be even more controversial than the present local government review. No government could be certain that the legislation would pass through a single parliament unscathed. If Labour introduces Scottish devolution, it must either introduce English devolution at the same time (to be certain not to get one without the other) or it must introduce electoral reform. To do otherwise would be to risk giving England to the Conservative Party for decades to come.

Yours faithfully,



23 July