Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed plans to implement a system of English votes for English laws (Evel) at Westminster as “unacceptable”.
According to the Independent, the SNP leader has written to the Scottish Secretary to demand that Westminster fully engages with Scotland over the proposals, arguing that there is a “clear Scottish interest in the outcome of the discussions.”
Last week MPs staged an emergency debate to discuss the plans. The government later promised a redraft and postponed a Commons vote on the issue until at least September.
In the letter, Ms Sturgeon has called for greater clarity as to how legislation is assessed as applying to Scotland. She says that of the 20 laws passed by the last parliament and marked as not applying to Scotland, 13 of them were relevant to the region.
Under ‘Evel’, it is proposed that English MPs should be given the power to veto legislation that applies only to English issues. The UK government believes bills applying exclusively to England should not become law without the explicit consent of MPs from English constituencies and it wants to change Commons rules known as standing orders to give them a “decisive say” during their passage.
David Cameron has promised that he will implement plans for the policy within his first 100 days in office.
Ms Sturgeon wrote: “I hope that Chris’s announcement that the vote in the Commons will be delayed until September will enable further consideration including full engagement with the Scottish Government.
“There is a clear Scottish interest in Evel because of the impact it will have, and the proposals, as they currently stand, are unacceptable.
“Of the 20 Bills listed by the UK Government as not extending to Scotland, no fewer than 13 of them did.
“Several of these Bills covered important areas such as charities, criminal justice and anti-slavery measures and had significant impacts on Scotland, over and above the Barnett implications that might flow from legislation.
“No doubt the UK Government will be considering the assessment when preparing your legislation but the Scottish Government has a direct interest in how the UK Government makes a judgement as to whether it considers Evel applies.”
Ms Sturgeon has previously suggested that a second referendum Scottish independence could be held if the Conservative government’s plans to introduce ‘English votes for English laws’ proceeds.
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