SNP MP Pete Wishart has warned that Scottish MPs are being increasingly left out of the debate on government spending because they have been denied the opportunity to discuss the impacts of decisions made in Westminster on Scottish budgets.
The MP and SNP Shadow Leader of the House of Commons was ruled ‘out of order’ during a parliament debate on estimates (government spending) for attempting to bring up the critical ‘Barnett consequentials’ which provide a large part of the Scottish budget.
In the debate on English Votes for English Laws (EVEL), the Leader of the House said all issues of ‘Barnett consequentials’ were bound up in the estimates (government spending) process.
Pete Wishart MP said:
“The SNP was looking forward to debating the important issue of the estimates – which has a knock-on effect in Scotland on our education and health service – only to be ruled out of order.
English votes for English laws created two tiers of parliamentarians in the House of Commons and created the situation where Scottish MPs can’t properly consider the ‘Barnett conseqientials’ on legislation branded English only. We were invited to look at the estimates procedure to discuss these issues but today we have been told that we can’t even discuss it there.”
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP, who highlighted the potential issues with the ‘English Votes for English Laws’ rule changes in his maiden speech added,
“Scottish MPs are now totally left out when it comes to considering the Barnet consequentials- we are left with no place to go in order to have a proper debate on this critical part of the Scottish budget. This is a consequence of the complete mess that is EVEL, and the sad inevitability of the flaws inherent in these rushed in rules.
We must have the opportunity in Westminster to debate and vote on Barnett consequentials for Scotland and this must be the last time that Westminster puts forward a debate on government spending in this way.
Changes in Westminster departmental spending hits our health service, our education and the whole spectrum of Scottish public services. This highlights the need for urgent reform of procedures in Westminster if the only place we can’t discuss estimates and government spending, is on the ‘estimates debate’ day.”