Conclusions

England is the home of a democratic tradition that has given rise to a distinctive system of law and parliamentary democracy which has served as a model for others. It is a proud and major part of the United Kingdom, a powerful and successful state of worldwide influence and importance. However, the devolution of powers to a Scottish Parliament has seriously unbalanced the Union, producing difficult constitutional problems in dealing with English matters in the House of Commons and the Government. A sense of profound unfairness is growing among the people of England. Creating Regional Assemblies in England would not remove the problems, as it is impractical to devolve to them the power to enact primary legislation. Amending parliamentary procedures in the House of Commons would not solve the English Question and would lead to continuing constitutional unrest as each new government changed the rules.

An English Parliament with devolved powers similar to those accorded to the Scottish Parliament would (with similar action for Wales) continue the process of devolution and produce a uniquely British system of government, owing nothing to the federal systems of other countries. It would produce an improved decentralised system of democratic government, bringing power to make decisions on priorities nearer to all the people of the United Kingdom. Devolved powers to an English Parliament would also enable the United Kingdom Parliament and Government to concentrate on its retained powers, including the vital matters of international relations, defence and the economy. The principle of devolving powers to an English Parliament should be referred to a Constitutional Commission that would examine the detailed aspects of implementation and provide recommendations to be decided by a Referendum. A parliament is a symbol of a people’s identity, unity, culture, and history. That belief was a key motivation in the campaign for a Scottish Parliament. It would be a great historic injustice for the people of England to be offered anything less.