- The Tories are publishing separate 'English manifesto' for the first time
- Cameron to pledge that delivering 'home rule' for England is a top priority
- Conservative government would implement system for March 2016 budget
- It would allow English MPs to set separate rate of income tax to Scotland
A system of ‘English votes for English laws’ allowing England to set its own rate of income tax will be brought forward within 100 days of a Conservative election victory.
David Cameron and William Hague will today pledge that delivering effective ‘home rule’ for England will be one of their party’s top priorities if re-elected. As the Daily Mail revealed yesterday, the Tories are publishing a separate ‘English manifesto’ for the first time, to go alongside their Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish manifestos.
The Prime Minister and Mr Hague, the outgoing leader of the Commons, will say that in the interests of fairness English MPs must be given a veto on legislation that no longer applies in Scotland.
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High on the list: David Cameron and William Hague will today pledge that delivering effective ‘home rule’ for England will be one of their party’s top priorities if re-elected
A Conservative government would have the system implemented in time for the first budget of the new parliament in March 2016, they will say.
It will mean English, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs being able to set a separate rate of income tax to that in Scotland – where the SNP is expected to hold sway after the election – with MPs north of the border having no say.
If Wales votes in favour of the Welsh Assembly having income tax powers like those being devolved to Holyrood in a proposed referendum, Welsh MPs would also be excluded.
The plan will involve reforming Parliament’s committee stage, where MPs discuss legislation in detail. No Bill or part of a Bill relating only to England would be able to pass to its third reading and become law without being approved in a ‘grand committee’ made up of all English MPs.
The plan is likely to trigger a row with Labour, which opposes the idea of an English veto.
'Only fair': The Prime Minister and Mr Hague (right), the outgoing leader of the Commons, will say that in the interests of fairness English MPs must be given a veto on legislation that no longer applies in Scotland
Cameron backed William Hague to be his James Bond this week
HOW ENGLISH TAXES WILL WORK
- Where taxes have been devolved to Scotland, the equivalent taxes in England will require the consent of English MPs
- This would mean an English rate of income tax, subject to the approval of English MPs
- Under Tory plans, English MPs will get an ‘effective veto’ over matters only affecting England
- When MPs come to discuss legislation in detail, known as the committee stage, it will only be considered by MPs from England, chosen in proportion to party strength in England
- There will be a new stage introduced when English legislation is passed. No Bill or part of a Bill relating only to England would be able to pass to its third reading and become law without being approved in a ‘grand committee’ made up of all English MPs. No such Bill will be passed without their consent
The party has traditionally relied on the votes of its army of Scottish MPs at Westminster, which it used to implement tuition fees and foundation hospitals even though they did not apply in Scotland.
Labour’s leader in Scotland Jim Murphy yesterday claimed Mr Cameron was ‘cheap’, ‘nasty’ and an ‘election agent’ for the SNP in Scotland.
‘He has given up on the Scottish Tory party and is throwing his lot in with the SNP. David Cameron is the agent and the campaign manager for the SNP,’ Mr Murphy said.
Today Mr Cameron will say: ‘We do not support English nationalists, we do not want an English Parliament, we are the Conservative and Unionist Party through and through.
‘This manifesto simply recognises that the democratic picture has got more complicated in the UK, so beyond our main manifesto, English voters deserve one document, clarifying in black and white what they can expect.
‘Soon, the Scottish Parliament will be voting to set its own levels of income tax – and rightly so – but that has clear implications. English MPs will be unable to vote on the income tax paid by people in Aberdeen and Edinburgh while Scottish MPs are able to vote on the tax you pay in Birmingham or Canterbury or Leeds. It is simply unfair. And with English votes for English laws we will put it right.’
Mr Hague will add: ‘This is not a vague promise to make this change some time in the future, this is a plan ready to be implemented.
‘We will table our proposals within the first hundred days after the general election. And after consultation with the procedure committee of the House of Commons and running a pilot test of the new rules, we will fully implement our plan within the first year of the new Parliament and apply it to the Budget of 2016.’
Other commitments in the English manifesto will include a commitment to spend more on the NHS in real terms every year, deliver a ’truly seven-day NHS’ and keep the Cancer Drugs Fund, which pays for expensive treatments on the English NHS.
We do not support English nationalists, we do not want an English Parliament, we are the Conservative and Unionist Party through and through
It will also promise to give more schools in England freedoms so they are in charge of their own affairs, continue to allow charities, teachers and universities to set up new schools in the state sector, and keep school league tables.
Commuter rail fares in England will be frozen for five years, and working parents of three and four-year-olds will get 30 hours a week free childcare.
The right to buy will be extended to all housing association tenants in England, and 200,000 new ‘starter homes’ will be offered at 20 per cent below the market price for first-time buyers under 40.
Mr Cameron will add: ‘My message to people who want these things, who want their own home, more childcare, an NHS protected and their taxes cut, is: there is only one way to guarantee it: vote Conservative on May 7. A vote for anyone else makes an Ed Miliband-SNP Government more likely – which will put all these things at risk. Only a strong Conservative Government will deliver for you and your family.’
One of Ed Miliband’s close allies, former Cabinet minister John Denham, urged the Labour leader to issue an ‘English manifesto’, but the party has not done so.
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