Yesterday the House of Commons was changed beyond all recognition with the implementation of English Votes for English Laws, or EVEL as it has become known. The government instigated dramatic constitutional reform using amendments to Standing Orders, a change that only requires a one off debate and motion, unlike the rigorous scrutiny that a Bill must face,
This change, as of 5pm last night, now sees the Speaker of the House of Commons responsible for deciding if a Bill effects only England or England and Wales, at which point all non-English constituency MPs will be barred from placing amendments and voting on Bills. However, this fails to take into account that many people within Wales and Scotland who use services in England will now not have an elected representative to defend them.
66,514 people, who live in north Wales, used the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in 2013-14 alone. When these figures are played out nationally there will be hundreds of thousands of people who use services in England, but will have no one to represent them in the Commons.
This constitutional change will not affect the House of Lords. Meaning Lords, like Lord Thomas of Gresford, who has fought four elections in north-east Wales and lost every one, will have rights over people in north Wales. Whereas, MPs like David Hanson, MP for Delyn, who has won six elections, will not have the same rights.
Delyn constituents are now treated as second class citizen within the House of Commons as far as service in England are concerned. I as their MP have been constrained on my ability to represent my constituents in Delyn. Constituents pay general taxation for services in England. They use NHS England hospitals because the local general hospital is the nearest general hospital that was designed to serve Chester and north-east Wales; they use services in Liverpool; they use specialist services in Manchester; and they use specialist health services in Gobowen in Shropshire.
The key issue is that I, as the MP representing my constituents, should have the right to walk through the door of Commons and speak on equal terms with Scottish Members, English Members, Welsh Members and indeed Northern Ireland Members.
This new measure is divisive. It differentiates between Members of Parliament, and it differentiates between parts of the United Kingdom. It does not allow us to speak when we want to, on behalf of the people who have sent us here. It is appalling. I voted against this measure, because ultimately it will divide this United Kingdom. It will be the first step down a road to disunity, and I will not support it in this House.