Darling warned Cameron not to pursue EVEL following Scottish vote

The former chancellor warned that whilst the issue of Scottish MPs voting rights on English-only matters needed to be addressed, to link it with further powers to Holyrood risked putting the SNP back into the ascendency.

The former chancellor warned that whilst the issue of Scottish MPs voting rights on English-only matters needed to be addressed, to link it with further powers to Holyrood risked putting the SNP back into the ascendency

The leader of the Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, warned David Cameron not to make any moves to dilute the voting power of Scottish MPs just moments after Scotland voted to stay in the Union.

According to the Guardian, during a phone call with the prime minister in the early hours of 19 September, the former chancellor warned that whilst the issue of Scottish MPs voting rights on English-only matters needed to be addressed, to link it with further powers to Holyrood risked putting the SNP back into the ascendency.

Just hours later however, Cameron used a statement outside Downing Street to call for a process to allow some sort of English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) to work in tandem with further powers for Scotland.

The statement led the SNP to cry foul that Westminster was back tracking on the famous vow provided to the people of Scotland by the main UK wide parties.

According to the Guardian, the prime minister’s announcement also led to what it describes as an ‘angry Gordon Brown’ to make a swift phone call to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, to warn of a heavy price being paid by the UK parties as a result of the PM’s political posturing.

The reports of the warnings come as William Hague yesterday presented a series of proposals to address the West Lothian question.

It came as new polling has revealed support for restricting the rights of Scottish MPs to vote on English only matters.

The data, collected by ComRes for ITV News, found that 53 per cent of voters in Britain support the idea of not allowing Scottish MPs in the UK Parliament in Westminster to vote on issues that do not impact on Scotland, with 23 per cent opposing the idea and 24 per cent who did not know.

Interestingly, of those surveyed in Scotland, more people support the idea of restricting the voting rights of Scottish MPs (43 per cent) than those who were opposed to it (40 per cent).

The poll found also that 44 per cent support the idea of giving more decision making powers on issues such as tax, education, policing to big cities and regions in England and Wales with 40 per cent agreeing with the need for a fully-fledged English Parliament.

The results are likely to increase the pressure still further on Labour to come up with a more eye catching policy. It will need to tread a fine balance between regaining the confidence and support of Scottish voters whilst also seeking to attract  the middle England votes which will be vital if the party is to make it to Number 10.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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