Lords debate English question

Very interesting debate in the House of Lords yesterday, on Lord Baker’s bill calling for English votes on English laws.

Several speakers argued that there is no real constitutional issue because Westminster still retains the ultimate right to legislate for Scotland.

"Our national Parliament is sovereign in all matters. If it is to continue to remain at the heart of our union, all its members must be able to consider any matter before Parliament." Lord Falconer

However, it is not at all clear that this is in fact the position in Scottish Constitutional law. Certainly a famous judgement by Lord Cooper in 1953 argued otherwise.

"The principle of the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law. It derives its origin from Coke and Blackstone, and was widely popularised during the nineteenth century by Bagehot and Dicey, the latter having stated the doctrine in its classic form in his Law of the Constitution. Considering that the Union legislation extinguished the Parliaments of Scotland and England and replaced them by a new Parliament, I have difficulty in seeing why it should have been supposed that the new Parliament of Great Britain must inherit all the peculiar characteristics of the English Parliament but none of the Scottish Parliament, as if all that happened in 1707 was that Scottish representatives were admitted to the Parliament of England. That is not what was done." (McCormack v. Lord Advocate, via Wikipedia)






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