Plaid Cymru call for English Parliament

By staff writers
April 24, 2012

Plaid Cymru yesterday marked St. George's Day by calling for an English Parliament. They said this would benefit both Welsh and English voters.

Plaid Cymru is a Welsh socialist party that wants to see an independent Wales within the European Union.

Plaid MP Hywel Williams yesterday (23 April) gave his party’s evidence to the McKay Commission, set up by the coalition government to examine the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons.

The main issue at hand is how Parliament deals with business that is devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and therefore applies only to England. The apparent injustice of non-English MPs voting on England-only matters is commonly referred to as the “West Lothian Question”.

"Plaid Cymru's core belief is that the people of Wales should have the right to determine their own future – and the people of England have that right as well,” said Williams.

He said that the House of Commons is trying to do two jobs – to be the English Parliament and the UK Parliament. Plaid believes the roles need to be separated.

Some have argued that a separate Parliament is not necessary, saying that instead only English MPs should be allowed to vote on England-only matters. But Williams dismissed this system as “complicated and probably unworkable”.

He said that the proposal “would not remove the democratic deficit where English MPs vote on legislation and funding which affects Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland”.

Williams, a longstanding critic of many parliamentary practices and systems, said there needed to be thorough change to “one of the world’s most Byzantine and archaic parliaments”.

Plaid want to see an English Parliament which has similar powers to those of Parliaments and Assemblies for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

But while backing an English Parliament, Williams warned that it would make sense only “if allied to wider constitutional change including reform of the House of Lords and a permanent commission to ensure fair funding for Wales, independent of the UK Treasury”.


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