Lord Falconer and The English Parliament

Heard on 'The Today Programme' as I woke (hence what follows is not word for word). Lord Falconer is to make a speech today where he will say no to an English Parliament, "not today, not tomorrow".

The logic presented by the reporter was probably best described as tortuous. In Scotland and Wales, the Scottish parliament and Welsh Assembly were 'the first port of call' for representation. However, should England have a parliament to represent it's interests this would inevitably lead to a 'federal britain'. The reporter neither relayed why this would be a neccesarily bad thing, nor did they say why the same argument should not be applied to Scotland, for example.

They went on to report that Falconer will argue that in any event, the UK parliament is sovereign (in Scotland too), and so that's good enough in England. Why isn't it good enough in Scotland?

I do agree that the Conservative solution (English votes on English matters) is not terribly good - it leads to all sorts of problems (e.g. bills which in some respects affect all of the UK, but in some areas only affect England). The only viable and stable solution I can see is a seperate English parliament, if an item is before that body then it's is, de facto, an issue for England. Any issue before the UK parliament (at westminster) is then a UK-wide issue and applies to ALL of the UK, including Wales and Scotland.

A cynic might ponder on the observation that devolution only seems to be a good idea in areas where Labour stands a good chance of dominating. London has the mayor, Scotland (Labour/Lib Dem coalition), Wales.... Northern Island is a different kettle of fish, admittedly.

In England, it's true that Labour holds more seats - but they lost the popular vote at the last election. The tories got more votes than Labour. Could it be that a seperate parliament for England would highlight this and they're arguing from a purely party political standpoint? Surely not!

Read More: The Campaign for an English Parliament and their article on this topic Blair's comments on this issue

Update: In the 8:10 interview (which will be available on the 'Today' website for a week or so), Falconer said that there was no demand at all for an English Parliament. A rather absolutist statement which is disproved by even a single voice.... He responded to the thought that the Education bill would only pass due to Scottish votes as 'unlikely'. Thereby completely sidestepping the point that under the current constitutional settlement it is possible for bills which don't affect Scotland to be passed due to Scottish votes.

Update: The BBC have a 'Have Your Say' discussion on this issue.

Update: Iain Dale posts on this same topic here (and gets a lot more comments, mutter, grumble).... The CEP makes reference to this interview (and links to this site, hmm, no trackback - I wonder if it got junked, I'll have to look).... and I made a later post based on this interview.