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A devolved English parliament is a proposed institution that would give separate decision-making powers to representatives for voters in
England England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continent ...
, similar to the representation given by the
Welsh Parliament Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
,
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba; Scots: ''Scots Pairlament'') is the devolved, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood area of the capital city, Edinburgh, it is frequently referred to by the metonym Holyro ...
and the
Northern Ireland Assembly The Northern Ireland Assembly, frequently referred to by the metonym Stormont (and incorrectly as Stormont Castle), is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas that are not explicitly res ...
. A devolved English parliament is an issue in the
politics of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom is a unitary state with devolution that is governed within the framework of a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the head of state while the Prim ...
. Public opinion surveys have resulted in widely differing conclusions on public support for the establishment of a devolved English parliament.


Background

The future prospects of a devolved English Parliament have been raised in relation to the so-called
West Lothian question The West Lothian question, also known as the English question, is a political issue in the United Kingdom. It concerns the question of whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, sitting in the House of Commons should be able to vote ...
, which came to the fore after devolutionary changes to British parliaments. Before 1998, all political issues, even when only concerning parts of the United Kingdom, were decided by the
British Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British overseas territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other politic ...
at
Westminster Westminster is a district in central London, part of the wider City of Westminster. The area, which extends from the River Thames to Oxford Street has many visitor attractions and historic landmarks, including the Palace of Westminster, Buckin ...

Westminster
. After separate regional parliaments or assemblies were introduced in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area ...
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster-Scots: ') is variously described as a country, province, or region which is part of the United Kingdom. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to ...
in 1998, issues concerning only these parts of the United Kingdom were often decided by the respective devolved assemblies, while purely English issues were decided by the entire British Parliament, with MPs from
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area ...
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster-Scots: ') is variously described as a country, province, or region which is part of the United Kingdom. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to ...

Northern Ireland
fully participating in debating and voting. The establishment of a devolved English parliament, giving separate decision-making powers to representatives for voters in
England England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continent ...
, has thus become an issue in British politics. The political parties which are campaigning for an English Parliament are the
English Democrats The English Democrats is a right-wing to far-right, English nationalist political party active in England. A minor party, it currently has no elected representatives at any level of UK government. The English Democrats were established in 2002 ...
, the
UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two members of Parliament and was the largest party ...
(UKIP), the
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba) is a Scottish nationalist, regionalist, and social-democratic political party in Scotland. The SNP supports and campaigns for Scottish independen ...
(SNP) and
Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru ( ; ; officially Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, often referred to simply as Plaid) is a Welsh nationalist and social democratic political party in Wales, which advocates for Welsh independence from the United Kingdom. With over ...
. Since 1997, the
Campaign for an English Parliament The Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) is a pressure group which seeks the establishment of a devolved English parliament. The CEP is the main organisation associated with an English Parliament. It was formed as a non-denominational lobbyin ...
(CEP) has been campaigning for a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal and can have nationwide or local forms. This may result in the adoption of a new ...

referendum
on an English Parliament. Despite institutional opposition in Westminster to a Parliament for England, the CEP has had some success in bringing the issue to people's attention, particularly in political and academic circles. During
general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-elections (o ...
s, all of the
single-member constituencies A single-member district is an electoral district represented by a single officeholder. It contrasts with a multi-member district, which is represented by multiple officeholders. Single-member districts are also sometimes called single-winner voti ...
(seats) that constitute the UK Parliament are subject to separate, simultaneous contests, between several candidates. While these constituencies span the entire UK geographically, because of the way that the population of the UK is distributed – i. e. the population of England is greater than that of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales combined – the 533 MPs from English constituencies represent a majority within the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In the UK and Canada, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. The lead ...
. Nevertheless, there are often occasions when the votes of MPs from non-English constituencies have proved to be decisive with regard to England-specific legislation (regarding matters that are devolved outside England). (Examples of this phenomenon since devolution include issues with such as
foundation hospitals A foundation trust is a semi-autonomous organisational unit within the National Health Service in England. They have a degree of independence from the Department of Health and Social Care (and, until the abolition of SHAs in 2013, their local stra ...
,
top-up fees Tuition fees were first introduced across the entire United Kingdom in September 1998 under the Labour government of Tony Blair to fund tuition for undergraduate and postgraduate certificate students at universities; students were required to pay ...
and runways at
Heathrow#REDIRECT Heathrow Airport ...
.) To a limited extent, the
Scotland Act 1998 The Scotland Act 1998 (c. 46) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which legislated for the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament with tax varying powers and the Scottish Government (then Scottish Executive). It was one o ...
has reduced the potential for non-English MPs to form decisive regional blocs – that is, Section 81 of the Act abolished the previous system of
apportionment The legal term apportionment (french: apportionement; Mediaeval Latin: , derived from la, portio, share) means distribution or allotment in proper shares. It is a term used in law in a variety of senses. Sometimes it is employed roughly and has ...
, under which Scottish constituencies required a smaller electoral quota and Scotland was over-represented, relative to the other components of the UK; England now provides more MPs
per capita ''Per capita'' is a Latin prepositional phrase: ''per'' (preposition, taking the accusative case, meaning "by means of") and ''capita'' (accusative plural of the noun ''caput'', "head"). The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e., per ...
than Scotland. Surveys of public opinion on the establishment of an English parliament have given widely varying conclusions. In the first five years of devolution for Scotland and Wales, support in England for the establishment of an English parliament was low at between 16 and 19 per cent, according to successive
British Social Attitudes Survey The British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA) is an annual statistical survey conducted in Great Britain by National Centre for Social Research since 1983. The BSA involves in-depth interviews with over 3,300 respondents, selected using random probabili ...
s. A report, also based on the British Social Attitudes Survey, published in December 2010 suggests that only 29 per cent of people in England support the establishment of an English parliament, though this figure had risen from 17 per cent in 2007. One 2007 poll carried out for
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of emplo ...
''
Newsnight ''Newsnight'' (or ''BBC Newsnight'') is the BBC's news and current affairs programme, that provides "in-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines." It broadcasts on weekdays at 10:45pm (formerly 10:30pm before t ...
'', however, found that 61 per cent would support such a parliament being established. In January 2012
Simon Hughes Sir Simon Henry Ward Hughes (born 17 May 1951) is a former British politician. He is now the Chancellor of London South Bank University, an External Adviser to The Open University, and UK Strategic Adviser to Talgo. Hughes was Deputy Leader of t ...
, the deputy leader of the
Liberal Democrats#REDIRECT Liberal Democrats {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation {{R ambig ...
, supported calls for a devolved English parliament. While the Conservatives were in government from 2010–2015 in coalition with the
Liberal Democrats#REDIRECT Liberal Democrats {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation {{R ambig ...
, the coalition government approved the creation of the McKay Commission to look into the question. The Commission proposed that bills in the House of Commons which affected England solely or differently should require a majority vote of MPs representing English constituencies. The Labour Party opposed the idea, arguing that this creates two classes of MPs in the House of Commons, and that a regional approach should be taken, in the form of regional English devolution. However in July 2015, then Shadow Secretary of State for Business,
Chuka Umunna Chuka Harrison Umunna (; born 17 October 1978) is a British former politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Streatham from 2010 until 2019. A former member of the Labour Party, he was part of the Shadow Cabinet from 2011 to 2015. H ...
, suggested that the Labour Party should support the creation of a separate English parliament as part of a federal United Kingdom. He also called for a federal structure to the Labour Party with the creation of a distinct English Labour Party. The Conservative Party manifesto for the 2015 general election included a proposal that England-only legislation should require approval from a
Legislative Grand Committee#REDIRECT Legislative grand committee {{Redirect category shell, {{R from move ...
prior to its Third Reading in the House of Commons. Having won a majority in that election, the Conservative government used a change in standing orders in October 2015 to give MPs representing English constituencies a "veto" over laws only affecting England.


Campaigning

Several groups are working to raise this issue of a devolved English parliament, including the
Campaign for an English Parliament The Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) is a pressure group which seeks the establishment of a devolved English parliament. The CEP is the main organisation associated with an English Parliament. It was formed as a non-denominational lobbyin ...
and the English Constitutional Convention. The
English Democrats The English Democrats is a right-wing to far-right, English nationalist political party active in England. A minor party, it currently has no elected representatives at any level of UK government. The English Democrats were established in 2002 ...
also support the creation of an English parliament. Electoral support for English nationalist parties is low, however, even though there is public support for many of the policies they espouse. The English Democrats gained just 64,826 votes in the
2010 UK general election The 2010 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 6 May 2010, with 45,597,461 registered voters entitled to vote to elect members to the House of Commons. The election took place in 650 constituencies across the United Kingdom under ...
, accounting for 0.3 per cent of all votes cast in England.


Public opinion

Surveys of public opinion on the establishment of an English deliberative assembly have given widely varying conclusions. In the first five years of devolution for Scotland and Wales, support in England for the establishment of an English parliament was between 16 and 19 per cent, according to successive
British Social Attitudes Survey The British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA) is an annual statistical survey conducted in Great Britain by National Centre for Social Research since 1983. The BSA involves in-depth interviews with over 3,300 respondents, selected using random probabili ...
s. A report, also based on the British Social Attitudes Survey, published in December 2010 suggests that only 29 per cent of people in England support the establishment of an English parliament, though this figure had risen from 17 per cent in 2007. One 2007 poll of 1,953 people throughout Great Britain carried out for
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of emplo ...
''
Newsnight ''Newsnight'' (or ''BBC Newsnight'') is the BBC's news and current affairs programme, that provides "in-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines." It broadcasts on weekdays at 10:45pm (formerly 10:30pm before t ...
'', however, found 61 per cent support among the
English English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or related to England ** English national identity, an identity and ...
for a parliament of their own, with 51 per cent of Scots and 48 per cent of
Welsh people The Welsh ( cy, Cymry) are a Celtic nation and ethnic group native to Wales. "Welsh people" applies to those who were born in Wales ( cy, Cymru) and to those who have Welsh ancestry, perceiving themselves or being perceived as sharing a cultural ...
favouring the same. An earlier ICM poll of 869 English people in November 2006 produced a slightly higher majority of 68 per cent backing the establishment of such a body. A 2014 poll by Cardiff and Edinburgh universities found that 54% of English people surveyed agreed with a devolved parliament, while 20% neither agreed nor disagreed, 15% disagreed, and 10% were undecided.


Opinion polls

Polling data for English devolution, English votes for English laws and independence may be found in the table below. ''Note: Responses with the plurality of the vote are outlined in bold and are coloured in, those with at least 50% of the vote have more saturated colours.''


See also

* Devolution in the United Kingdom **
West Lothian question The West Lothian question, also known as the English question, is a political issue in the United Kingdom. It concerns the question of whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, sitting in the House of Commons should be able to vote ...
* English nationalism **
English Democrats The English Democrats is a right-wing to far-right, English nationalist political party active in England. A minor party, it currently has no elected representatives at any level of UK government. The English Democrats were established in 2002 ...
** English independence *Federalism in the United Kingdom **Asymmetric federalism


References


Citations


Sources

*


Further reading


''Devolution: A Decade on.''
Justice Select Committee, 12 May 2009


External links


Ipsos MORI 2006 Poll - Views on English Devolution - 41% support English Parliament

Campaign for an English Parliament

Toque blog
{{Devolution in the United Kingdom Politics of England Devolution in the United Kingdom English nationalism Proposed legislatures National assemblies in the United Kingdom, England