English Parliament ‘fair’ as it ‘pays for the other countries’ says former MP and England rugby player
England having its own parliament is “only fair” as the nation “pays for the other countries” in the UK, according to a former MP and rugby international.
Derek Wyatt who played for England in the 70s and represented Sittingbourne and Sheppey as a Labour MP until 2010 said that the House of Commons should become an English-only parliament.
The House of Lords should then be reformed as a 250 member chamber “which would sit over the top of the four national parliaments”, he said.
“Four lower parliaments would seem only fair to the English who pay for the other three countries as their economies are not yet strong enough,” he told the Financial Times.
“Then the question is what to do with the unelected House of Lords and the new bullish elected regional mayors? My proposal is for a new senate which would sit over the top of the four national parliaments with responsibilities for infrastructure, some elements of the Treasury, foreign affairs and the environment. Most other tasks could be delegated.
“It would comprise 250 elected members (by a version of proportional representation) representing counties and major cities including regional mayors and/or their deputies.
“The existing Lords would be wound up. The senate would be allowed to bring forward ”names’ a little like the Queen’s Order of Merit members — maybe 25, maybe 50 who could sit in the senate and give advice on a non-party basis but not vote.”
He was responding to proposals by the The Financial Times’ Whitehall Editor who argued that the House of Lords should be abolished and replaced by a new chamber including representatives from the Senedd, Scottish parliament, Northern Irish Assembly and England’s Mayoral regions.
Sebastian Payne said that the way to fix the political deficit within the UK was “to bring them into the heart of national politics” and create a new 200 member chamber alongside the House of Commons.
“The solution is to bin the House of Lords,” he said. “The bloated unelected chamber with 820 members is well past its sell-by date. The only strong argument for its survival is that the process of replacing it is too messy.
“A new chamber of say 200 — including legislative experts serving five-year terms — is what England needs. Adding representatives from the devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could help secure the future of the United Kingdom too.”
He added that for England “increasing the number of mayors will not go far enough”.
“If Johnson is serious about tackling the political deficit in England, prompted by the creation of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments, he needs to bring them into the heart of national politics,” he said. “Mayors need representation in Westminster to show those feeling left behind they are being listened to.
“Tackling regional inequality can only be done by tackling England’s democratic deficit.”
The plan mirrors that of former Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, who argued that the House of Lords should be replaced by members elected on the basis of equal representation between the UK nations.
Asked in 2012 how Wales would fare if Scotland voted for independence, he said: “I think we need to start thinking about this now.
“It appears at the moment from the opinion polls that Scotland wouldn’t leave the UK, but how do we make the UK fit for purpose in the 21st Century?
“We have a political structure that’s from the 18th and 19th Centuries.”