Valerie opposes motion relating to English Votes for English Law

As Shadow Leader of the House I responded to the motion moved by the Leader of the House, David Lidington MP, to amend Standing Order No. 83S to allow the English Votes for English Laws rules to apply when discussing the issue of income tax in the UK Parliament. The reason for this amendment is that as of April 2017, the Scottish Parliament, under the provisions of the Scotland Act 2016, has the ability to set the rates and bands of income tax on non-savings and non-dividend income, along with other provisions. Below is my speech:

I thank the Leader of the House and I appreciate that he has said that there has to be an amendment to Standing Order 83S. Doubts have been raised as to whether under the current provisions of Standing Orders, the main rate of income tax under the Finance Bill will definitely be certified as English only, particularly when this comes with partially devolving income tax to the Scottish Parliament this year.

However, this is a point of principle and Her Majesty’s Opposition oppose EVEL, which in our view is poorly conceived, a knee-jerk reaction and a constitutional disaster. It risks dividing the UK, rather than allowing devolved Governments to work together for the benefit of the whole of the UK. The Labour leader in Scotland, Kezia Dugdale, has more recently called for a “constitutional convention”, which is the position we support. If the Government had listened to these suggestions, the House would not be in the position of having to amend Standing Orders—both now and possibly in the future. For these reasons, Her Majesty’s Opposition oppose the motion.

The motion passed by: Ayes: 287 Noes: 239