PM Faces Questions Over Devolution

20 November 2014, 06:15

David Cameron today faces questioning by senior MPs over his potentially politically explosive proposals for wider devolution within the UK in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum vote.

The Commons Liaison Committee - made up of the chairmen of the various select committees - will seek to question the Prime Minister in detail over his plans for dealing with the constitutional fall-out from the referendum.

In the course of the campaign, the leaders of all three main UK parties signed up to a commitment to hand extensive new powers to Holyrood if Scotland voted to remain part of the Union.

But in the immediate aftermath of the vote rejecting independence, Mr Cameron said that there would have now to be a "new and fair'' constitutional settlement for the entire United Kingdom.

In particular, he said there would have to be reform at Westminster to address the thorny issue of ''English votes for English laws'', suggesting that Scottish MPs would no longer be able to vote on exclusively English issues.

His proposals drew a furious response from Labour - whose chances of forming a majority government at Westminster have traditionally depended upon winning a strong bloc of Scottish MPs.

Labour accused the Tories of seeking to exploit the constitutional issues raised by the referendum for narrow party political purposes while former prime minister Gordon Brown warned that it could lead to the break-up of the UK that they had been seeking to avoid.

With no realistic prospect of agreement in what remains of the current parliament, the three main parties are now expected to set out their rival proposals for reform at next year's general election.

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