William Hague is today setting out the Government’s EVEL plan – which includes options for English votes for English laws that some Labourites see as an evil plan to deprive their party of a majority to pass budgets and so on.
Those EVEL plans have three options:
1. A ban on Scottish MPs voting on any stage of laws only applying to England.
2. A veto for English MPs on English-only laws before they take effect.
3. Committee stage of an England-only bill’s progress through the Commons to consist solely of English MPs.
Tory backbenchers want option one. Downing Street is believed to prefer option two. Labour feels option three is the least evil. And the Lib Dems have their own fourth option, which is a grand committee grand committee of English and Welsh MPs.
John Prescott described the Tory plans as a ‘stitch-up’ that was being rushed through before the election when he was asked about them on the Today programme, and he does speak for his party, which has refused to take part in the talks at all.
Many Tory backbenchers will be cross if their leadership plumps for a weaker option than the full EVEL they are after. So whatever happens, one group is going to be unhappy with what is voted on – and expect plenty of fireworks in the currently quiet Commons when that vote takes place in the New Year.