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English Votes on English Laws: Divisions

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 3 December 2015

2. What progress has been made on preparations for the first divisions of the House which will follow the new Standing Orders on English Votes on English Laws (902509)

Preparations for the first Divisions under the new Standing Orders have been under way for some time. The House authorities and the Government have worked together to put in place arrangements for the Divisions, including the use of tablets to assist in the recording of double majority votes. Hon. Members who were here in the last Parliament will have seen the use of iPads as a test ground for that.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Will she confirm that, going forward, every MP from every part of the UK will still be able to debate and vote on every piece of legislation in the Commons, and make it clear that the accusation that this will create two tiers of MP is simply not true?

I agree with my hon. Friend that every Member in this House will continue to debate on Second Reading, during various elements of Committee and Report stages, and on Third Reading. It is simply the policy that we have successfully introduced that, when it comes to matters that are devolved and that affect England or England and Wales only, it is crucial that measures have the explicit consent of the MPs from those nations involved.

If we are to have English votes for English laws, why, on non-devolved matters that particularly affect Wales, such as the future of S4C, can we not have Welsh votes for Welsh laws, with double majority votes for MPs from Wales?

We were very careful, in our proposals, to ensure that every Member could continue to debate and vote on matters, even if they affected only England. We are still the United Kingdom Parliament, and the Welsh Assembly was established to deal with devolved matters. The hon. Gentleman recognises that, as do we.