The West Leigh Question

The view from Nelson Street is always going to be tarnished with a blue-tinted hue, its correspondent unable wash away his prejudices. Last Thursday Mr Holdcroft gave forth the view that it was ‘A bad week for Labour‘. (I await his verdict on this week and whether it has been a good one for the Conservative Party.)

In amongst his attack on Labour his gives his opinion on the West Lothian question (a question originally asked by a Labour MP). He writes: that the principle of English votes for English laws was fair.

I get a strong whiff of hypocrisy here. Nigel lives in Castle Point, and yet was unabashed in leading Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. He even voted on measures that clearly would have no impact on him. For instance, as a Castle Point resident he would be paying his Council Tax to Kiln Road, yet was able to write and vote for a budget affecting every resident in Southend-on-Sea.

Three of the last four Conservative leaders in Southend have been strangers: Charles Latham was also a Castle Point resident, and Anna Waite lived in Barling. Only Murray Foster lived in Southend, and his reign was mercifully short.

The Tories in Southend like to import their talent. We still have Barling Parish councillor Adam Jones in the chamber (although he is not seeking re-election), and Wakering resident Anne Holland is her party’s deputy leader. In case their quota of foreigners drops they have selected James Cottis, who was a Rochford District councillor until ejected by the electorate in May (and he still is a parish councillor in Rochford).

If you think that only those affected should vote on issues then surely this applies every bit as much at local authority level. There is no credibility in insisting that those in Parliament should only vote on issues affecting their constituents if you are unaffected by what you vote for in the council chamber.

For the record I am unconcerned by the fact that Scottish MPs vote on laws affecting England only; as I am unconcerned by MPs representing rural constituencies voting for matters affecting urbanites, or inland MPs voting on coastal issues. I live in Blenheim Park ward and represent Milton ward, and yet vote on issues affecting other wards.

I support regional authorities, and in terms of size Northern ireland, Scotland and Wales are the equivalent of English regions. I would have regions and unitaries, and scrap counties and districts. However, I should also add that I am prepared hear all sides on this issue and am prepared to compromise – it is not a matter of principle for me.

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3 Responses to The West Leigh Question

  1. southendfox says:

    Ignoring Mr Holdcroft’s points there is a basic unfairness which was demonstrated by the fact that in Scotland the MPs voted against tuition fees and then the same people voted for them in England, how can that be right or fair?

  2. MPs are elected to pass legislation affecting all parts of the UK. Northern Ireland often has different laws, and Great British MPs vote on that.

    I do not defend hypocrisy, and if an MP votes for tuition fees in for one place and against them in another then this clearly needs explaining. However, the individual actions of MPs do not make the system rotten.

  3. Rob Brown says:

    English parliament should offer all regions the option (by referendum) to have a devolved assembly if they like. All will choose not to, one would presume. Oh yeah that was Labour policy more than a decade ago.

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