English Grand Committee

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The English Grand Committee, referred to in standing orders as the Legislative Grand Committee (England), is a committee of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[1][2] It is one of four grand committees in the United Kingdom Parliament, the other three are for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.[3] The committee is to be made up of all 533 English MPs.

History

A grand committee for Scotland was established in 1907 to consider issues and legislation exclusive to Scotland. Grand committees for Wales and Northern Ireland were subsequently established to consider issues relating to those nations. No grand committee was established for England; however, a Standing Committee on Regional Affairs was established to discuss issues relating to the Regions of England. This committee had 13 members, but all English MPs could attend and participate in its proceedings. Regional select committees also existed for the English Regions between 2008 and 2010.

Standing orders to establish a grand committee for England were approved by the House of Commons in October 2015[4] as part of efforts to address the so-called West Lothian Question, an anomaly whereby MPs representing seats in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can vote on issues and legislation which only affect people in England. The idea of establishing an grand committee for England was suggested by Conservative MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind in 2007 as part of his "East Lothian Answer" to the West Lothian Question.[5] This was echoed by the report of the McKay Commission established by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, published in 2013.[6]

Functions

A grand committee for England is being established to facilitate the Conservative Government's policy of ensuring that legislation that only applies in England can only be enacted with the consent of MPs representing constituencies in England. This system has been dubbed "English votes for English laws".

The Speaker judges which parts of a bill relate to just England, or England and Wales. When a bill is deemed to apply to "England-only in its entirety", an England-only committee stage will consider the bill. Membership of this committee will reflect the number of MPs each party has in England. Where sections of legislation relate only to England or to England and Wales, agreement of a legislative grand committee all of English MPs, or as the case may be, a legislative grand committee made up of all English and Welsh MPs, is required. All MPs would be able to vote on the bill's Third Reading, but a double majority of all MPs and English (or English and Welsh) MPs would be required for the bill to be passed.[7][8]

The first bill that is likely to be scrutinised by the Committee is the Housing and Planning Bill 2015, which is set for second reading on 2 November 2015.[9]

See also

References

  1. "English vote plan to become law despite objections". BBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Housing Bill set to be first test for English votes plan". BBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Grand Committees". UK Parliament.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "English votes for English laws: Motion to approve Standing Orders". UK Parliament.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Party leader welcomes Rifkind's 'elegant' West Lothian Answer". Herald Scotland.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] McKay Commission". nationalarchives.gov.uk. line feed character in |title= at position 20 (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "David Cameron to push for English-only voting plan". The Irish Times. 12 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "English votes for English laws: proposed changes". www.gov.uk.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Housing Bill set to be first test for English votes plan". BBC News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>