West Dunbartonshire’s SNP MP Martin Docherty has made his first debate speech in the House of Commons, during the important emergency session on the Government’s EVEL proposals.
Martin, took time to highlight the rich and inspirational history of the of our industrious constituency, speaking about people and communities from Gartocharn to Clydebank used his speech to focus Members of the House of Commons’ minds on the democratic deficit that exists within the current Government.
In particular, the Government’s EVEL proposals would not only see two or three different classes of MPs created, but because the Government is pushing this reform through as a procedural adjustment, they are refusing to engage in any public consultation and bypassing the normal debate and scrutiny that should be undertaken by the House of Commons and forcing the independent speaker to act in a highly political manner.
The Government’s plans fell into complete disarray following the heated debate when MPs voted 291 to 2 against a motion from the Government that the plans had been properly debated; the Tory Government were so shell shocked by the debate that with the exception of 2 members, every Government MP abstained from the vote.
Speaking after the debate, Martin said,
“If the Government is allowed to push these proposals through, the Speaker will be forced to rule on every Bill and Clause before the house and decide whether English MPs have a veto. How will the speaker decide what is an English only matter? Responses from the Leader of the House have left me concerned that budget reductions for Scotland would be seen as minor issues by the Government and hence not part of the Speaker’s consideration.
This will place the speaker in an impossible position, forced to take a highly political position and choose which MPs are to have a final say on decisions, ultimately excluding myself and fellow Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish colleagues from the final decision making process.
I think it’s important to recognise the public appetite for English devolution, but creating an elite class of MPs to form a veto group is not what voters want. The Government needs to properly consult the people and take time to draw up plans for real devolution.
My hope is that the SNP, backed up cross party by opposition colleagues, have done enough to make the Government think again.”
Link to speech (Video – from 15:34:41)
Link to speech (Hansard Written)