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Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:56 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Conservative, Chippenham 2:56 pm, 22nd October 2015

I am afraid we do not have time because a lot of people want to speak.

The changes will go some way towards restoring faith in our system. They will still allow Members from all areas of the UK to debate all legislation, but will ensure that matters affecting only England have the consent of English MPs. They will relieve the bad feeling among our voters. That was echoed to me at door after door during the general election campaign in the Chippenham constituency.

Let us be clear: this change will not create two tiers of MPs. It was the Labour Government’s half-botched attempt at devolution that created two tiers of MPs. Now is the time to put that right. This is a landmark change because it is so overdue. It has been 38 years since the former Member for West Lothian asked how long English residents and MPs would tolerate a settlement that left out England. Thirty-eight years later, we can answer that question with confidence and pride. This Government will ensure that the wait comes to an end.

I must stress that I support the extension of powers to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly. I also support further devolution to regions such as the south-west and Wiltshire—the engine room that drove our country long before any northern powerhouse was ever mentioned. Devolving powers to local areas is the right thing—