Gareth at the CEP points us to an interesting reponse by the UUP’s David Copeland to David Davis’ defence of the Tories’ policy of English votes for English laws.
In a statement, Mr Copeland said: “Northern Ireland has been the recipient of several ill-conceived laws over the past 30 years, so, at first glance, it might be hard not to have some sympathy with Mr Davis’s views.
“But this is not so straight forward. MPs, drawn from every corner of the United Kingdom, arrive in Parliament on an equal basis. The precious equilibrium of Parliament should not be rocked by the introduction of destabilising and destructive precedents.
“Creating further divisions and subsets of Parliamentarians is hardly the best way forward.
“Either Mr Davis is in favour of an English assembly, or he is not. What he should not be in favour of is carving up Parliament into morsels of influence digestible to some, but rather unpalatable to those who have the best interests of the Union at heart.
“If this plan is realised, would it not weaken the integrity of the Union?”
Concluding, he said: “Mr Davis’s view sits more comfortably within arguments for an English assembly. Let him argue that – and not for transforming Parliament’s sovereign authority into a glut of provincial hierarchies.” (UUP)
Personally, I agree that English votes for English laws would be a mess, and that an English Parliament is the only consistent democratic solution. However, given the relative size of England that in itself would be a major threat to the union.
The dilemma for unionists is that, as Tam Dalyell foresaw, there are in the long run only two real solutions to the Westlothian question. one is a completely unitary integrated state, something which has been decisively rejected in Scotland, the other is the break up of the UK.