I have no way of knowing whether today’s report in the Independent – about English MPs’ role in the House of Commons – is accurate, since it is evidently a leak from those in the Conservative Party who are clearly seeking to demote those who represent Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland constituencies.
What I do know is that the remit of the McKay Commission concentrated solely on the mechanics of the Commons. When I and my colleague Lord Marks gave evidence we pointed out that any constraint on the role and responsibilities of MPs would have implications for our House as well: would Peers from Scotland, or those with ancient Scottish titles, be similarly affected ? If the Commons introduced a procedure which gave a special voice to one group of MPs how would this impact on our consideration of that Bill ? How would they deal with subsequent Lords amendments ?
No doubt the formidable Lords Constitution Committee will examine these issues, and ask too why this is an appropriate time to make such a major constitutional change, shortly before the outcome of the Scottish Independence Referendum either makes it redundant or requires another major rethink. Of course, eventually, we all have to face-up to the lack of devolution in England, but this must be the most idiotic time to try to deal with it by fiddling with parliamentary procedure.