« An MA writes | Main | Don't forget tonight. »

The smoking gun of the West Lothian Question

BBC NEWS | Politics | Smoking out the big question
...what is really getting up the nose of some MPs - apart from the smell of stale cigarette smoke - is that the architect of this policy, former health secretary John Reid, represents a Scottish constituency, Airdrie and Shotts. ...
Some Labour MPs are even threatening to rebel against the smoking bill in an attempt to prevent it becoming law. ...

But at least one Old Labour firebrand is permitting himself a wry smile at the unfolding row.
"It is the West Lothian question in excelsis," says Tam Dalyell.
The former Linlithgow MP and father of the House of Commons, who stood down at this year's general election, made a career out of asking awkward questions.
And the West Lothian question, with which he became synonymous, was possibly the most awkward of all - namely how was it right after devolution that a MP representing a Scottish constituency could continue to be allowed to vote on issues affecting just England?
"It is absolutely extraordinary; indefensible. It makes a mockery of accountability," says Mr Dalyell.
Now, he says, every vote is crucial. It is the perfect time, in other words, he says, for MPs to make a stand over the West Lothian question, even though he admits there is no easy answer to it.

The only way to solve it once and for all would be to have no more Scottish MPs at Westminster and a fully independent Scottish state, something he was "personally against".

Nevertheless, he must feel some sense of vindication now that the question he pressed for so long is finally creeping up the political agenda?

"I would be inhuman if I didn't," he replies with a smile.

Good to see it raised, though strange that an English Parliament for English matters isn't mentioned....


To acknowledge the need for an English parliament would first require the acknowledgment of an entity called "England", something the liberal press and politicians have been at great pains to deny. Watch out for Dumbo Prescott trying to use this to advance his regional assembly boondogle.


NO, NO, NO. You've only got half the WLQ. The other half is that the MPs for Scottish Seats have no say in whether smoking is banned in their own constituencies. Note to foreign readers: yes, it really is as surreally illogical as that.

When Gordon Brown talks about 'this country' he probably doesn't know

York. Upon sight of a Scotsman, it is perfectly legal to shoot him with a bow ... Any Scotsman caught farting on a Sunday can be shot with a bow and arrow. ...

Post a comment