The Liberal Democrats' Resolution of the England Question
The Lib Dems respond to my email to Nick Clegg.
Many thanks for contacting Nick Clegg. I'm replying to letters and emails on his behalf.
Liberal Democrats believe that Britain needs a constitution which would set out fundamental rights and the power and nature of the key institutions of government, which would require a special procedure to change. We would therefore involve the British people in producing this written constitution. We would give people the power to determine this constitution (setting out individual rights and limiting the power of the state) in a convention made up of members of the public and parliamentarians of all parties and none.
We recognise that devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland poses difficult questions for the governance of England within the Union. I think it’s important to be honest about the fact that it is difficult to find an immediate solution. The idea of ‘English votes for English laws’ is extremely complicated to implement – particularly because many laws actually extend to England only in some parts, while covering other parts of the UK in other areas. Given the fact that changes in spending on English services which would be devolved in the rest of the UK directly affect the devolved administration’s budgets, it is also often the case that ‘English’ legislation actually will affect devolved issues outside of England.
We believe that we can only really deal with this question by looking at it as part of the wider political system. We need to do more, first of all, to give more power to people locally in England – so that they, too, have more control over their own affairs rather than being micromanaged from Whitehall. We want to give local communities real power over their health services and policing, through fairly elected local health boards and police authorities – as well as freeing the hands of local councils, removing power from Westminster and Whitehall. Ultimately, we want to move towards a federal United Kingdom – devolving power within England further and thus resolving this question.
Thank you once again for contacting us.
Office of Nick Clegg
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
I wonder why they won't agree to letting England decide how it wishes to be governed. Perhaps the answer lies here.
A party that was truly liberal and democratic would agree to an English constitutional convention and referendum.
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The BBC reports that Nick Clegg will be in charge of 'considering' the West Lothian Question.
He will also be in charge of considering the "West Lothian question" - the longstanding anomaly which sees Scottish MPs voting on matters affecting England, but