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Volume 600: debated on Thursday 22 October 2015

1. What plans he has to review the effectiveness of the Government's English votes for English laws proposals after implementation. (901712)

The Government will carry out a review of the new system next year, subject to approval by the House today, and I will consult the relevant Committees, including those in the House of Lords, should this House agree the proposed changes. We will consider carefully any observations and recommendations that arise from those reviews, to ensure that the English votes mechanism works as effectively as possible. I expect that the House will return to this issue at that time.

What steps will my right hon. Friend take to ensure that measures on English votes for English laws do not damage the fabric of our cherished Union and lead to a situation where this House could be deemed to be the representative assembly of England, rather than the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

My hon. Friend makes an important point, and that is why we have chosen not to go down the path of an English Parliament. As we devolve more powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland—we committed to that in our manifesto and we believe it is the right thing to do—we seek to ensure that the English also have a role in that devolution, but not in a way that removes any Member from any part of the current debating process in this Chamber.

I find myself in the strange position of agreeing with the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) for probably the first time in my life, so that is a good thing. Will the Leader of the House ensure that in any review he undertakes, the position of border constituencies such as mine in Wales, and those in Scotland and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, are reflected carefully so that Mr Speaker’s tight discretion on determining what is an English-only Bill is reviewed in the light of pressures on my constituents?

The review and the work we do in the next 12 months should take into account all concerns raised by Members. I give the right hon. Gentleman a commitment that we will of course listen to views from across the House on this and other matters.

I, too, find myself in agreement with the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell). Does the Leader of the House not accept that unless he is very careful in the drafting of the new rules, there will be the unintended consequence of creating certain members of the other place who will be more powerful than Members of this House?

I do not accept that. We have taken great care in drafting the rules. We will monitor very carefully their operation in practice. If the hon. Gentleman and other Members have concerns over the next 12 months, they will undoubtedly want to raise them as part of our review process.