Dual Mandate Band-Aid

Yet another Conservative idea to answer the West Lothian question. This time it comes from John Redwood, MP for Wokingham, and former Secretary of State for Wales.

Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own parliaments. Similar to Mark Field’s model the English parliament would be Westminster.

All MPs elected to their national parliaments are dual-mandate MPs – they sit both in their own parliament e.g. Holyrood and in Westminster. Thus, Westminster holds both the English parliament and the UK parliament.

An MSP would also be a UK MP etc.

The UK parliament decides those non-devolved matters not covered by the national parliaments.

It would then be up to the elected English MPs to decide on which office holders they wanted for the UK parliament.

For me, this is another sticking plaster solution. A Dual Mandate Band-Aid.

It may save costs on the English side without having to build a separate English parliament, but I think the English may just view it as Westminster and demand a separate parliament anyway.

And what of the numbers of MSPs and AMs going to Westminster?

There are currently 129 MSPs. The Scottish Parliament needs about that number to function effectively – As there is no second chamber, most of the actual detailing of bills is done by committees made up of all of these MSPs. If the Scottish Parliament had to survive on 59 MPs based on the Westminster model it couldn’t cope.

Given that the Scottish people voted for such a model based on Proportional Representation, I don’t think any external reduction of our MSPs number would be favourable to the Scottish public. Nor constitutional without a referendum. A referendum that Mr. Redwood would lose handsomely.

I expect that would also apply to Wales and Northern Ireland.

In short this Dual Mandate Band-Aid would be unworkable in practice.

A sticking plaster won’t work twice.


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