I'm a co-signatory on a letter to the Daily Telegraph announcing the setting up of an English Constitutional Convention. As regular readers know, I favour an English Parliament to solve the democratic deficit now being experienced by the people of England. I don't want anything like the white elephant of the Scottish Parliament, but it's clear that the status quo is not enough. Sometime in the next next few years this is an issue which all parties have to take seriously. At the moment the Conservative position is that English votes on English measures will solve everything. It won't, and is merely a short term band-aid solution. Anyway, we'll be talking about this subject on tonight's Vox Politix, so hope you'll be watching!...
Sir – The current "post-devolution settlement" is iniquitous to England.Scotland and Wales have their own Parliament and Assembly, and yet are still over-represented in the House of Commons; the West Lothian Question has yet to be answered – why should Scottish and Welsh MPs preside over English matters when MPs representing English constituencies have no reciprocal right? And the long-discredited Barnett formula, the system by which regional funding is allocated, remains grossly unfair to the taxpayers of England.It has been nearly 10 years since the people of Scotland and Wales were consulted in a referendum prior to devolution. No such courtesy has been extended to the people of England, and our politicians seem reluctant even to allow open debate on the subject.Dividing England into "regions", while leaving Scotland and Wales as "nations", is rightly unpopular and undemocratic. Stopping Scottish and Welsh MPs voting on English issues will cause as many problems as it solves. The question of the establishment of an English parliament must be considered and the option placed in front of the electorate. At a meeting in the House of Commons today, the English Constitutional Convention will be formally established, with the aim of promoting debate and raising public awareness of England's democratic deficit. As patrons to the convention, we urge the Government, Opposition and all the people of the United Kingdom actively to participate in that debate. England will be heard. The time for silence is over.
Lord Beaumont of Whitley; Lord Stoddart of Swindon; John Horam MP; Professor Hugo De Burgh; Professor Jeremy Dibble; Prof Roger Scruton; Dr. Gerald Morgan Trinity Dublin; Jervis Kay QC; Garry Bushell Journalist; Iain Dale Conservative commentator; Neil Addison Barrister; Mike Knowles, Chairman, Campaign for an English Parliament; Robin Tilbrook, Chairman, English Democrats; Christine Constable, Chairman, English Lobby; Bishop Michael Reid; Rev Richard Martin; Richard Long, Solicitor; Andy Smith, Past President, Chartered Institute of Journalists; Simon Lee, Lecturer, Hull University; Prof Charles Greenawalt
UPDATE: Can I just clarify what I meant by the White Elephant of the Scottish Parliament, as it has caused some speculation in the Comments. I primarily meant the building, rather than the institution. Having said that I do believe that a vast bureaucracy has emerged surrounding the Parliament and would not wish to see a repetition in any English equivalent. My way round this is to abolish MSPs and AMs and have Westminster MPs sitting in Westminster for three weeks in every four and in their national Parliaments for the other week. That way you don't get an extra layer of politicians and much of the bureaucracy surrounding the various Parliaments is rendered redundant. However, this is NOT what the English Constitutional Convention is proposing. It is being set up to give people a chance to air their views and for the various alternatives to be put to the English people. Its remit does not extend beyond that, for the moment.