English Votes on English Laws

Leader of the House – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 9th July 2015.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development) 9:30 am, 9th July 2015

What opportunities he expects to be provided for scrutiny of his proposal for English votes on English laws.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

The Government’s proposals were published on Thursday 2 July, and they have been discussed twice in the Chamber. I have announced that there will be a full debate on them next week, and I shall discuss that further in the business statement at 10.30 am.

Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development)

The Leader of the House has made it clear that, assuming the proposals actually go through, the operation of EVEL will be reviewed after 12 months. As part of that process, will the devolved Administrations and Parliaments be consulted on the impact that decisions taken under EVEL have had, especially with regard to Barnett consequentials?

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

It would be strange if we did not listen, at any stage of any change, to all the stakeholders in this place. If the devolved Assemblies wish to make representations to us at the end of 12 months, I shall of course be happy to listen to them.

Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Leader of the House of Commons), Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee

The Prime Minister promised that the Procedure Committee would have a look at all the plans before anything was progressed. That obviously has not happened. Will the Leader of the House now make a commitment to ensure that not just the Procedure Committee but the Scottish Affairs Committee can look at the plans and approve them before there is any progression to English votes on English laws?

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

One of the things I did upon our return to this place after the election and my assumption of my current responsibilities was to discuss with the—then previous, and now current—Chair of the Procedure Committee how to handle these matters. I have agreed with him that his Committee will play a very active part in considering the impact of these changes over the next few months, and its views will be central to how we approach the review in 12 months’ time.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

What consultation he plans to undertake on the Government proposal for English votes on English laws.

Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Labour, Ellesmere Port and Neston

What plans he has to consult the public in advance of the House’s decision on English votes on English laws.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

The Government’s proposals were published on Thursday 2 July. Both before and after publication, there have been extensive discussions with colleagues from across the House, and such discussions will continue before the debate next week. This Government were elected on the basis of a manifesto commitment to deliver English votes for English laws, and opinion polls have indicated support for this principle in both England and Scotland.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

The Government promised to consult the Procedure Committee before the debate next Wednesday. Will the Deputy Leader of the House tell us what discussions will take place with the Procedure Committee before any decision on the changes? Will she agree to meet an all-party delegation from north Wales to discuss the implications in our area?

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

I had the pleasure of responding to a debate on the effect of EVEL on north Wales, and I would be very happy to meet anybody concerned. I will today send out an email about drop-in sessions for any MP who wants to talk about the proposals in further detail. In answer to the first part of the right hon. Gentleman’s question, I refer him to the answer just given by my right hon. Friend.

Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Labour, Ellesmere Port and Neston

In her initial answer, the Deputy Leader of the House referred to opinion polls as part of the consultation process. Does she agree that a poll is not a genuine consultation, but simply a gauging of opinion?

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

Opinion polls are a gauging of opinion. One opinion poll happened on 7 May—it was called the general election. Our proposals were in the manifesto, and they were voted for.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

The proposals in the manifesto covered public Bills. Why do the Government’s current proposals not cover private Members’ Bills, which are of course public Bills?

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

The Government have taken a modest step in addressing what is covered. If my hon. Friend wants to make further representations to the review, I am sure that the Procedure Committee and the Government will listen to his proposals.

Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Opposition Whip (Commons)

In the light of the Government’s sudden and welcome change of approach to EVEL next week, will the Deputy Leader of the House outline how they intend to ensure that full and proper consultation takes place on a genuinely cross-party basis on this very important and difficult constitutional issue?

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has already made approaches to other parties. We are holding the open drop-in sessions—[Interruption.] Well, they are consultation sessions. I am not aware that Ian C. Lucas has approached me or the Leader of the House to have those conversations. I have already responded to Mr Hanson. I remind the official Opposition that last autumn they were invited to have discussions, but they declined to do so.