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Statement on the Scottish Referendum
I welcome this result but no one would be fooled by the idea that this is an endorsement of the status quo.
We have to accept that this is a strong mandate for greater federalism in the UK, for decades now the Celtic Nations have been calling for greater devolution and the English regions like Cornwall and the North are reigniting their desire for greater autonomy. I think Ed Miliband’s plans for greater city autonomy clearly shows Labour is the party to deliver on these ideals shared by much of the of British people.
And in Westminster we need to accept that decisiveness is urgent to finally address our constitutional issues including the House or Lords, which I have been calling for my entire parliamentary career.
People throughout the UK will not stand for inertia from Whitehall and the House of Commons any longer.
This referendum has woken up political engagement in the UK and that is something to be celebrated, it’s absolutely vital that we take heed of that but it’s what all of Britain, regardless of political creed wants.
There is a strong case for the Committee Stage of English-only Bills to be scrutinised and amendments debated by English MPs only. But it would be fatal to balkanise Westminster by creating first and second class MPs for votes on the floor of the Commons. Otherwise only London MPs should decide on laws for London and so on, and crucially the Prime Minister would in practice be elected by English MPs alone since the PM would have to command a majority in the ‘England section’ of Westminster. The solution is devolution in England coupled with a federal UK Parliament in which English MPs would as they do now dominate, comprising 80 per cent of all MPs.