Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:13 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Reform and Constitutional Issues), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), DUP Westminster Leader 2:13 pm, 22nd October 2015

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that point. It raises another issue that we have raised several times about there being two classes of Northern Ireland MP: those who get their expenses for not doing their work and those who get their expenses for doing their work. There is little parliamentary scrutiny of Sinn Féin MPs and their expenses.

I could go into the implications of EVEL for the block grants and the Barnett formula, which have rightly been explored, but I want to conclude on the principle. There is no suggestion that on matters where Parliament legislates solely for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, only Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Members should respectively have the territorial veto now to be accorded to English Members. So where is the point of principle? Where is the justice? If it be right, as Conservative Members are saying, that there be a veto in relation to English-only matters, surely, if Northern Ireland-only matters come before the House that are not in the remit of Stormont, only Northern Ireland Members should be allowed to vote on them. If it is a matter of principle, justice and democracy, exactly the same principle should apply to Northern Ireland Members in the same circumstances, but there is no suggestion that it will be afforded to Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs. We are not being offered that.

In conclusion, there are problems with both Parliament and the balance of our Union; there are problems in the devolved Assemblies that I accept need to be addressed; and there are needs in England that deserve to be met, but these proposals do not deal with any of them.