Policy Forum: English Votes for English Laws

Mon 8 Dec 2014, 00:00

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AH

The purpose of this invitation-only policy forum was to discuss a workable scheme of English votes on English laws. Discussion covered the following points:

  • What counts as an English law? Is it a technical, or political decision?  Who will decide which laws are English?

  • What separate procedures should there be in the Commons for English laws? Are there consequences for the legislative process in the Lords?

  • How should these procedures be introduced, and when? By a convention? By Commons resolution? By changes to Standing Orders? Or by legislation?

  • What are the consequences of these procedures? Will this create two classes of MP? Will it lead to the creation of an English parliament within the Westminster Parliament? Will it require an English government within the UK Cabinet?

  • Can the procedures be entrenched? What is to stop any future government or Parliament disapplying them?

  • Would EVEL make much difference in practice: how many laws would be (or would have been) different as a result?


Graham Allen MP – Member of Parliament for Nottingham North
Professor Vernon Bogdanor FBA - Research Professor, Institute of Contemporary British History, King's College London
Michael Carpenter – Speaker’s Counsel
David Cook - Second Parliamentary Counsel
Rt Hon John Denham MP – Member of Parliament for Southampton, Itchen
Kristine Donorenkova - ESRC Head for Society and Global Security
Paul Evans - Principal Clerk of the Table Office
Rt Hon Frank Field MP – Member of Parliament for Birkenhead
Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP – Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield
Professor Robert Hazell, Professor of Government and the Constitution & Director of the Constitution Unit, UCL 
Professor Mike Kenny - Professor of Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London
Sir Stephen Laws – First Parliamentary Counsel
Sir William McKay - Former Clerk of the House of Commons
Professor Iain McLean FBA - Professor of Politics, Official Fellow, Nuffield College, University of Oxford
Dr Bob Morris - former Home Office Under Secretary
David Natzler - Director General of Chamber and Committee Services
Akash Paun - Fellow of the Institute for Government
Dr Hugh Rawlings - Director of the Department for the First Minister & Cabinet in the Welsh Government
Meg Russell - Professor of British and Comparative Politics and Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit
Chris Shaw - Commons Clerk
Liam Lawrence Smyth - Clerk of the Journals at the House of Commons
Alan Trench - Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Constitution Unit, UCL
Brian Walker
Thomas Watkins
Huw Yardley – Clerk, the House of Commons Procedure Committee

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