Scottish Votes for Scottish Laws

"Wise guy, eh?"

Just keeping the tone respectful and all.

I’ve been trying to think of how best to condense the recent votes on the Scotland Bill in a simple, easy to read format. I think the best way to do it is this: to show how the votes would have gone if only Scottish MPs voted on them.

The reason is twofold: firstly, when one discounts the votes of parties with no MPs, then the Tories, Lib Dems and New Labour combined have 46.7% of the vote – which is, you’ll notice, still a bit short of the SNP’s 50%. So even though a party with 50% of the vote having 95% of the seats is a huge exaggeration, it still represents a greater proportion of the Scottish population than the other three combined. Secondly, if you’re going to harangue about English Votes for English Laws, then it follows that there should be Scottish Votes for Scottish Laws too, right?*

*EVEL is not the equivalent of the Scottish Parliament’s devolved powers – that would be an English Parliament. When you’re talking about excluding Scottish MPs from voting on English matters in the UK Parliament, then it is only right to prevent English MPs from voting on Scottish matters in the UK Parliament, no? After all, Scottish MPs cannot vote on devolved issues either – only MSPs can.

The votes come after the jump.

Clause 1 (requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament and of the Scottish people in a referendum before the Scottish Parliament can be abolished)
58 for, 1 against
For: 56 SNP, 1 New Labour, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservative
Absent: 0

Amendment Passed 58-1

Clause 5 (preventing a referendum called by the UK Parliament to be held simultaneously with an election for members of the Scottish Parliament)
58 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 56 SNP, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservative
Absent: 0

Amendment Passed 58-1

Clause 11 (for the Scottish Parliament to have full control over taxation, borrowing and public spending in Scotland)
56 for, 1 against
For: 56 SNP
Against: 1 Conservative
Absent: 1 New Labour, 1 Lib Dem

Amendment Passed 56-1

New Clause 2 (establish a Constitutional Convention to analyse and design future governance arrangements for the United Kingdom which would have reported by 31 March 2016)
2 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservatives
Absent: 56 SNP

Amendment Passed 2-1

New Clause 3 (giving the Scottish Parliament powers over all areas except the constitution, foreign affairs, public service, defence, treason and pension changes which would affect the UK’s liabilities)
56 for, 1 against
For: 56 SNP
Against: 1 Conservatives
Absent: 1 New Labour, 1 Lib Dem

Amendment Passed 56-1

New Clause 5 (giving the Scottish Parliament a veto on the repeal of the Human Rights Act as it applies to Scotland)
58 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 56 SNP, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservatives
Absent: 0

Amendment Passed 58-1

New Clause 10 (requiring the UK Parliament to have the consent of the Scottish Parliament before legislating on devolved matters)
57 for, 1 against
For: 56 SNP, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservative
Absent: 1 New Labour

Amendment Passed 57-1

New Clause 1 (appointing a group to analyse and report on the impact of full fiscal autonomy for Scotland on the Scottish economy)
2 for, 56 against
For: 1 New Labour, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservative, 55 SNP
Absent: 1 SNP

Amendment Denied 56-2

New Clause 21 (creating a Scottish Office for Budget Responsibility which would independently scrutinise Scotland‘s public finances)
2 for, 57 against
For: 1 New Labour, 1 Lib Dems
Against: 1 Conservative, 56 SNP
Absent: 0

Amendment Denied 57-2

New Clause 33 (Full Fiscal Autonomy for Scotland)
56 for, 3 against
For: 56 SNP
Against: 1 Conservative, 1 New Labour, 1 Lib Dem
Absent: 0

Amendment Passed 56-3

New Clause 54 (giving the Scottish Parliament powers over income tax in Scotland)
56 for, 1 against
For: 56 SNP
Against: 1 Conservatives
Absent: 1 New Labour, 1 Lib Dem

Amendment Passed 56-1

Clause 19 (allowing the Scottish Parliament to pay disability benefits in respect of short term conditions and conditions which do not meet a threshold of being significant)
54 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 52 SNP, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservatives
Absent: 4 SNP

Amendment Passed 54-1

Clause 19 (allowing the Scottish Parliament to pay a carers benefit to those under 16 or in gainful employment, or in full time education)
57 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 55 SNP, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservatives
Absent: 1 SNP

Amendment Passed 57-1

Clause 24 (allowing Scottish Ministers to change regulations relating to benefit payments in respect of rent without the agreement of the Secretary of State for Scotland)
57 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 55 SNP, 1 Lib Dems
Against: 1 Conservative
Absent: 1 SNP

Amendment Passed 57-1

Clause 26 (a minor change in the wording of the Bill relating to the powers of the Scottish Parliament in relation to employment support programmes)
57 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 53(+2) SNP, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservative
Absent: 1 SNP

Amendment Passed 57-1

New Clause 28 (devolving powers related to Housing Benefit in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Ministers)
57 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 55 SNP, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservative
Absent: 1 SNP

Amendment Passed 57-1

New Clause 31 (giving the Scottish Parliament the ability to create new state benefits in Scotland)
57 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 55 SNP, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservatives
Absent: 1 SNP

Amendment Passed 57-1

New Clause 39 (giving the Scottish Parliament power over national insurance)
55 for, 3 against
For: 55 SNP
Against: 1 Conservative, 1 New Labour, 1 Lib Dem
Absent: 1 SNP

Amendment Passed 55-3

Clause 32 (giving the Scottish Parliament powers over equal opportunities in relation to an appointment as a member of a Scottish public authority)
57 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 55 SNP, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservative
Absent: 1 SNP

Amendment Passed 57-1

Clause 32 (allowing the Scottish Parliament to introduce a requirement for gender balance among the members of the Scottish Parliament and members of boards of Scottish public authorities)
3 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 1 Lib Dems, 1 SNP
Against: 1 Conservative
Absent: 55 SNP

Amendment Passed 3-1

Clause 53 (a wider set of circumstances in which the Secretary of State is required to consult with Scottish Ministers over renewable electricity incentive schemes)
57 for, 1 against
For: 1 New Labour, 55 SNP, 1 Lib Dem
Against: 1 Conservative
Absent: 1 SNP

Amendment Passed 57-1

So there we have it. A couple of facts:

  • 18 out of 20 amendments would have passed if only Scottish MP votes were counted
  • 17 amendments had only 1 MP opposing – and it’s the party with the lowest vote share it’s had in Scotland in over a century
  • 12 amendments had the backing of not only the SNP, but New Labour and the Liberal Democrats – 58 of Scotland’s 59 seats, and representing 81.8% of the popular vote between them

Even though the SNP’s 50% vote share is vastly overrepresented and the other three’s under-represented thanks to First Past the Post, the way each vote went shows that even in a proportionate system, these hypothetical results are still more in line with the wishes of the people of Scotland. Unfortunately, what happened is that 12 amendments supported by parties voted in on 81.8% – and 4 with the backing of at least 50% – were denied by 1 MP supported by 14.9%.

Put aside the referendum and independence debate. Put aside the notion that the SNP only represent one half of the entire Scottish electorate.  What we have here are three parties which represent 4 out of every 5 voters who, more often than not, vote in favour of greater devolution to Scotland – and all three were thwarted by only one. It is indefensible for 1 MP who represents at most 14.9% of the population of a nation to overrule the mandate of 58 MPs who represent 81.8%.

The only way you can defend it is if you believe that Scotland is only a region, and not a country. This way, it’s “only” 330 MPs representing 36.9% of the population overruling 58 MPs who represent only 4.7% the population of a country – the country, of course, being the United Kingdom. There’s just one problem – many of those who voted No do believe that Scotland is a country, even if the Prime Minister no longer seems to. It’s a strange country which allows 1 MP to overrule the other 58, and for 14.9% to overrule 81.8%. But that’s where we are. Scotland is neither a country, nor a region: she dwells somewhere in between. We cannot stay in these hinterlands much longer.

Sooner or later, we will have to choose.

 

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12 thoughts on “Scottish Votes for Scottish Laws

  1. […] Scottish Votes for Scottish Laws. […]

  2. […] New Labour in Scotland. The Liberal Democrats abstained entirely. The Conservatives voted against. If only Scottish MPs voted, the amendment would have been passed 56-1. As it is, it was rejected […]

  3. […] proven time and time again, English (and Welsh and Northern Irish) MPs have shown absolutely zero reluctance when it comes to voting on what I think any reasonable individual would consider […]

  4. John Campbell says:

    Can only thank Derek for putting this together, in a way that is easily understood . We must get rid of Westminster soon ! .

  5. […] July: Scottish Votes for Scottish Laws – What would have happened if only Scottish MPs were permitted to vote on the Scotland […]

  6. […] in Westminster at all, just so they can stop the SNP hegemony; parties who seem to think the SNP have no mandate despite their own party having the lowest support in a century and a half; parties who would rather […]

  7. […] how our position in the EU is safe and secure, how we can lead the UK instead of leave it, that all the powers of devolution are there and are possible, how our NHS is no longer under threat, how we’ve pooled and […]

  8. […] But we’re to expect the same people who gleefully marched in to deny the parties voted in by the majority of Scots from even the most meagre of powers would suddenly allow the Scottish Parliament control over […]

  9. […] like Cassandra. Of course the UK Government wouldn’t give us Devo-Max. Of course they’d vote down every amendment to the Scotland Bill. Of course the UK couldn’t guarantee anything they claimed would be […]

  10. […] “sick to death of.” Things like vows being broken. Things like our sovereignty being dismissed out of hand. Things like our people failing, suffering and dying because of government ideology. […]

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