The Ukip policy proposal for a federal UK. Including an English Parliament.
A UNION FOR THE FUTURE
Here is the full policy proposal from Paul Nuttall MEP for a Union for the Future as outlined at the Annual Conference in Eastbourne. Feel free to leave a comment below.
The public widely regard the current devolutionary system as fundamentally unfair, particularly to the English.
In 1998, Labour MPs forced the Scotland Act through parliament, which resulted in the ill conceived and poorly thought out asymmetrical and devolutionary system that we have today. It was claimed at the time that it would ‘Strengthen the Union’ and ‘Kill off Scottish nationalism’.
Needless to say it has done neither. It has, if anything, driven a wedge between England and the rest of the UK and there is now a nationalist administration in Scotland that every day chisels away at the bonds of the Union. If we remain in denial, the break up of the Union will be as inevitable as day following night.
A significant number of national opinion polls have consistently shown that the people of England want the same measure of self-government offered to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Worryingly, most recent polls have shown a jump in support for English independence linked, we believe, to the growing feeling of frustration felt by the English towards the democratic deficit that exists at this present moment in time.
We need a new, stable and fair United Kingdom for the 21st Century to ensure future generations can benefit from the continuation of one of the most successful Unions in the world.
History has taught us that ignoring the increasing friction simply will not work. In 1886, British Prime Minister William Gladstone said:
“Grant Home Rule to Ireland in honour rather than being compelled to do so one day in humiliation.”
Thirty years later the Easter Rising took place and five years after that event, the Irish Free State left the Union.
Let us be the party that leads the way in saving the Union and end the friction engendered by the current devolutionary settlement. In its current form, the Union is unsustainable and is doomed to fail. Equally, turning the clock back to the years prior to devolution is not an option, as recent elections and referendums have proven.
Those who oppose an English Parliament will of course come up with reasons as to why this should not happen. But all home nations should be treated the same and contrary to claims that an English Parliament would break up the Union, we believe our policy proposal will strengthen it. Devolution is a reality and it’s one that needs addressing.
Nor is there any reason to suggest that it will create more bureaucracy and sky-high costs. This is putting the cart before the horse and, if undertaken correctly, should result in fewer politicians and not cost any additional money.
Moreover, contrary to idle rhetoric, an English Parliament will only strengthen the United Kingdom against the undemocratic EU, which wishes to break up England into nine
euro-regions. The EU is trying to force countries together without permission. With our policy we are trying to create democratic equality and maintain the Union with the consent of the people.
Finally, the current formation of the House of Lords is unsustainable, and with reform firmly on the political agenda, an opportunity to lead on this issue presents itself. For the past decade, opinion polls have consistently shown that the pubic want to see reform and in particular, an elected upper chamber.
How it would work
We foresee that English MPs, elected by the Additional Member System (AMS) on a county basis, would meet in the House of Commons as the English Parliament dealing with devolved issues as currently happens in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
England would have a First Minister and executive which will be responsible for domestic legislation such as education, health, the environment and transport. This we believe will rebalance the Union and give the English people a democratic voice.
The current House of Lords would become the Upper Chamber for the whole Union elected from existing constituencies by AMS. In the chamber would sit Union MPs led by the UK Prime Minister and a cabinet. The Union Parliament will be responsible for scrutinising devolved issues and legislation on reserved matters such as foreign policy, defence and taxation.
MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will form select committees scrutinising and revising their respective devolved legislation.
• England can be recognised politically and constitutionally equal to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and thus rebalance the Union.
• Preventing the EU dismembering of England into nine euro-regions whilst ensuring the future existence of England as a country within the United Kingdom.
• Giving England an input into funding distributions with the UK Treasury and equitable taxation.
• Maintaining and strengthening the Union through an elected Union Parliament and equal enfranchisement amongst the Home Nations.
We passionately believe in the Union and recognise the enormous benefits it has brought our country over the centuries.
However, we are also realists and understand that there is no appetite amongst the electorate in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to give up their respective parliament and assemblies and return to the days before devolution. Therefore, we believe a solution has to be found to address this issue, which if left in its current state, will lead to growing dissatisfaction and ultimately the dissolution of the World’s most successful Union.
What we are proposing is a Union for the future.