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Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:10 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 3:10 pm, 22nd October 2015

Let me say to the hon. Gentleman that his constituents are absolutely entitled to that and they should get it. I just do not think that what the Government have brought forward today offers that. It does nothing to address the fact that the people of England are still served by a model of government that is outdated and highly centralised, with everything being controlled from Whitehall. These proposals do absolutely nothing to change that.

On the question of taxation and Barnett consequentials, Lord Forsyth said that the proposals risk driving a further wedge between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. I believe that Alberto Costa is sincere when he says that he is committed to the continuation of that Union. As someone who is sincere, I invite him to take a pause, have a think and look at this matter in its totality. That is why the amendment tabled by Mr Allen is so important.

The message from the Lords invites us to set up a Joint Committee. That is a sensible way in which to proceed. I do not understand the position of the Leader of the House in relation to this. He says that it is wrong for us to consult the other place, but at the same time he has invited, and has had an acceptance from, the Chairman of the Constitutional Committee in the House of Lords to be part of a review. Yet again the Government and the Leader of the House in particular are seeking to have their cake and eat it.

The Leader of the House had said that this was not about creating an English Parliament within the UK Parliament, but then today in answer to a question he said that it was in fact devolution for England. It is no such thing. The hon. Member for South Leicestershire is right that his constituents deserve to have the benefits of devolution in the same way that mine have had since 1999.

I reiterate the concerns previously expressed about the position of the Speaker being brought on to the field of play in a way that will be difficult for the holder of that office at any given time but that will be justiciable. Let me remind the House of exactly what Lord Hope of Craighead said last night. He needs better respect than has been given to him either by the Chairman of the Procedure Committee or Sir William Cash.