If ever there were an unfortunate acronym, it has to be EVEL [English Votes for English Laws].
However, the House of Lords Constitution Committee this morning, 15th June 2016, opened a new inquiry into the constitutional implications of the House of Commons’ adoption of EVEL.
The Committee was asked in October 2015 by the Leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling MP, to ‘contribute to the work being undertaken on EVEL, in particular with regard to any wider constitutional implications’. Its work will feed into the Government’s review of EVEL, which is due to take place this autumn.
The Committee has opened the inquiry with evidence from:
- Pete Wishart MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee and Scottish National Party Shadow Leader of the House of Commons;
- Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.
The session started at 10:20am today in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords. Matters covered in the session included:
- How EVEL has effected the House of Commons’ role in representing the UK as a whole, and whether it has created two classes of MP;
- Whether an MP representing a Scottish or Welsh constituency now ever become Prime Minister;
- Whether the ‘West Lothian Question’ has found an appropriate solution in EVEL, or if there is a better solution;
- Whether the ‘double veto’ strikes the right balance between giving English MPs a stronger voice while retaining the UK-wide character of the Commons;
- The pros and cons of implementing EVEL through House of Commons Standing Orders rather than through legislation; and
- The impact has EVEL had on public perceptions of the House of Commons across the UK.
The Committee then started hearing from academic experts Professor Michael Kenny and Daniel Gover of the Mile End Institute, after 11:00am.