World Bulletin/News Desk
The opposition Labour party has slammed moves to have a cross-party discussion on “English votes for English laws,” saying it will boycott such a panel.
The move comes as lawmakers debated devolution for Scotland in the British parliament Tuesday.
The Scottish National party slammed the government’s command paper, saying it failed to reflect the “vow” promised to the Scottish people if they voted No.
A command paper is a document issued by the British government and presented to the parliament.
The promise was made just two days before the Scottish independence referendum took place. The vow by all three major party leaders promised “extensive new powers” to the Scottish parliament.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown blasted the conservative party in parliament. “It was a vow that had been written on the Tuesday that was now being rewritten on the Friday morning,” he said.
Brown, referring to the limiting of powers of Scottish lawmakers, asked, “Should not the people of Scotland have been told prior to the referendum, which was on Scotland’s status in the United Kingdom, that the downgrading of Scottish representation in Westminster was one of the proposals that he now [advocated].”
Brown is seen as instrumental in increasing the support for the “No” campaign. The polls had showed the referendum was too close to call.
Around 55 percent of the Scottish people voted to stay within the 307-year union, compared to 45 percent voting for independence.
William Hague said the vow would be “delivered whatever the outcome of the election next year, and it will be delivered whatever our deliberations about England."
However, Hague added that the "legitimate expectations" of the English people must be recognized when more powers are granted to Scotland as part of a pre-referendum promise.
Nicola Sturgeon, who is set to replace Alex Salmond as Scotland’s first minister later this year, wrote an article for the website Left Foot Forward, saying that political parties would pay a heavy price if they did not deliver on their promise.
“Many people who voted No did so because they believed these vows would be honoured,” wrote Sturgeon. Adding, “Should the Westminster parties fail to listen to the voice of the Scottish people on this call for more powers – and it is a loud and clear one – then in my view one thing is certain: they will pay a heavy electoral price at the polls.”
Some English lawmakers want what they call a fair settlement, for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They say it is unfair that Scottish lawmakers have increased powers in a Scottish parliament but also get to vote on issues in Westminster that affect England.
The government has insisted that powers of increased devolution are underway ahead of schedule, and draft legislation is due to be drafted early next year.Last Mod: 15 Ekim 2014, 09:54