English votes for English laws Contents

English votes for English laws

Chapter 1: Introduction and background

1.In July 2015, we launched an inquiry into how the Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom could be strengthened. As part of that inquiry, we considered issues relating to the governance of England. Our report, The Union and devolution,1 was published in May 2016. Whilst we were undertaking that inquiry, we were asked by the then-Leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling MP, to consider reviewing the operation of the Government’s proposals for ‘English votes for English laws’ (EVEL), which were introduced in October 2015. We agreed to undertake a review of the impact of the new EVEL procedures, including their effect on the House of Lords and on Government, and their wider implications for the constitution as a whole.

2.This report is the result of our review. It is intended—alongside reports by several select committees in the House of Commons2—to feed into the Government’s own review of EVEL which is expected to begin in autumn 2016. In addition, our report builds on and complements the ‘England’ chapter in our May 2016 report, The Union and devolution.3

3.This report is based on evidence taken during our inquiry on the Union and devolution, during which we visited Cardiff and Edinburgh and heard from witnesses based in Northern Ireland. In addition, between June and September 2015 we took evidence from further witnesses specifically on EVEL.4 We are grateful to all those who gave evidence to inform our work.

4.Our report does not address possible implications that EVEL may have for the work of Parliament leading up to the UK’s exit from the European Union. Nor does it address the effect that EVEL may have on the legislative consequences of Brexit for both the UK as a whole, and for England and the devolved nations in particular.

1 Constitution Committee, The Union and Devolution (10th Report, Session 2015–16, HL Paper 149)

2 House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), The Future of the Union, part one: English Votes for English laws (Fifth Report, Session 2015–16, HC 523), House of Commons Procedure Committee, Government proposals for English votes for English laws Standing Orders: interim report (First Report, Session 2015–16, HC 410); further reports are expected from the Procedure Committee and Scottish Affairs Committee.

3 See Constitution Committee, The Union and Devolution, chapter 8

4 In our footnotes, evidence from our Union and devolution inquiry will be preceded by the letters UDE, evidence specific to this inquiry by the letters EVE.

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