back to top

Scottish MPs Stopped From Voting On Westminster Law For The First Time

"So, this is what an English parliament looks like," said an SNP MP in a furious speech.

Posted on

Scottish MPs have reacted with anger over being stopped from voting on Westminster law in the first ever use of the "English votes for English laws" system.

Jake Berry / Via Twitter: @JakeBerry

The system, also known as EVEL, was introduced by the Conservative government last October to give English and Welsh members of parliament a special veto on laws which are deemed to only affect those parts of the country.

SNP MP Pete Wishart said the government had effectively created "an English parliament" and claimed "nothing has infuriated the Scottish people more" in a blazing speech to mark only English and Welsh MPs being allowed to vote on the housing and planning bill.

"So, this is what an English parliament looks like," said Wishart. "This is a remarkable day, and I think it's worth noting just the significance, how historical, this is.

"For the first time in the history of this house – of this parliament – members of parliament will be banned from participating in divisions of this house based on nationality and geographic location of constituency."

SNP MPs tweeted from the chamber about being a "political underclass".

Parly suspended. When speaker returns we will, in effect, be sitting in an English parliament. Scottish MPs now political underclass. #EVEL

Chris Law MP said he was now a "second class citizen" in the House of Commons.

Welcome to historic split in this UK parliament as I become now a second class citizen in this chamber #EVEL @theSNP

While Owen Thompson MP said he was sitting in "the English parliament".

So there we have it, currently observing the first session of the English Parliament. #EVEL

Wishart went on to warn English members of parliament that, rather than helping to fix constitutional issues within the Union, EVEL will actually drive Scotland and England further apart.

"I've heard several English members say today they are doing this to save the Union," said Wishart. "What they are doing today, by establishing this committee and pursuing this issue in the way you have, you are driving Scotland out of the door. This is how it's being viewed in Scotland."

However, Conservative MP John Redwood said the vote was "the first step on the journey to justice and fairness" for England.

"In a happy Union, where there are very substantial devolved powers for Scotland of self-government which they have chosen to exercise through an independent parliament, there needs to be some independent right of voice, and vote, and judgment for the people of England," said Redwood.

The MP for Wokingham went on to ask the SNP to "welcome" the first use of the EVEL system, "just as [you] have fought for so long for more independence for Scotland".

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.