English votes for English laws: Nicola Sturgeon brands government proposals 'unacceptable'

David Cameron had pledged to introduce the policy within his first 100 days in office

Siobhan Fenton
Sunday 12 July 2015 19:15

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called plans to implement a system of English votes for English laws (Evel) at Westminster “unacceptable”.

The SNP leader has written to the Scottish Secretary to demand that Westminster fully engages with their Scottish counterparts over the proposals, arguing that there is a “clear Scottish interest in the outcome of the discussions.”

In the letter, Ms Sturgeon has called for greater clarity as to how legislation is assessed as applying to Scotland. She says that of the 20 laws passed by the last parliament and marked as not applying to Scotland, 13 of them were relevant to the region.

Under ‘Evel’, it is proposed that English MPs should be given the power to veto legislation that applies only to English issues. David Cameron has promised that he will implement plans for the policy within his first 100 days in office.

On Thursday, Leader of the Commons, Chris Grayling said that a Commons vote on the issue would not be held until September at the earliest.

Ms Sturgeon wrote: She wrote: "I hope that Chris's announcement that the vote in the Commons will be delayed until September will enable further consideration including full engagement with the Scottish Government.

"There is a clear Scottish interest in Evel because of the impact it will have, and the proposals, as they currently stand, are unacceptable.

"Of the 20 Bills listed by the UK Government as not extending to Scotland, no fewer than 13 of them did.

"Several of these Bills covered important areas such as charities, criminal justice and anti-slavery measures and had significant impacts on Scotland, over and above the Barnett implications that might flow from legislation.

"No doubt the UK Government will be considering the assessment when preparing your legislation but the Scottish Government has a direct interest in how the UK Government makes a judgement as to whether it considers Evel applies."

Ms Sturgeon has previously suggested that a second referendum on Scottish independence could be held if the Conservative government’s plans to introduce ‘English votes for English laws’ go ahead.

With additional reporting by Press Association.

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