‘West Lothian question’ Bill defeated in Westminster


Tory MP Harriett Baldwin’s ‘West Lothian question’ Private Members’ Bill was defeated in Westminster by 40 votes to 24, Government majority 16.

The West Lothian question – named after the constituency of Tam Dalyell MP, who first voiced the issue in 1977 – has produced many Westminster MPs who echo the opinion, “English votes for English laws” following Scottish devolution in 1997.

The legislation would have clearly identified legislation upon which Scottish MPs could vote or not.   

English MPs are not allowed to vote on many devolved parliamentary matters resulting in a sense of mounting frustration and debate on whether the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish should be able to vote on English matters.

Mrs Baldwin, “a wholehearted supporter of the union”, stated in the UK parliament: “There are increasingly large numbers of legislation which come before this House that affect England only”.

The UK Conservative-Lib Dem coalition and Labour opposed the Bill, with Labour’s Shadow justice minister Helen Goodman saying the legislation was “badly drafted, it’s full of technical problems and we don’t accept the principle which underlies the Bill”.