Although SNP MPs have historically not voted on matters which only affect England and Wales, issues which may superficially appear to be “England-only” can often have very serious knock-on consequences for Scotland in terms of our public finances via the Barnett Formula. One example is decisions on NHS spending – the SNP’s 2015 manifesto stated that we would look to vote against any privatisation of the NHS to protect Scotland’s budget as well as retaining the NHS as a proper public service in England.
On 22 October 2015, a vote carried out in the House of Commons passed Tory EVEL plans. This means that Scottish MPs will now become second-class citizens in the House of Commons. These plans exclude MPs from Scotland, and from other areas outside England, from voting on legislation that could have consequentials and effects on other parts of the UK.
There are also financial implications – as decisions taken for England only can lead to changes to Scotland’s budget from the UK Government.
These plans also put the Speaker in a position where he needs to make political decisions, with no clear procedure about how he will make decisions on ‘certifying’ a bill as England only.