Policy paper

English votes for English laws: proposed changes

This note explains proposed changes to the way legislation is considered in the House of Commons to give English and Welsh MPs a fairer say.



The government’s proposals for English votes for English laws have been approved by the House of Commons. These give English and Welsh MPs a fairer say over laws that affect only their constituencies and are on matters which have been devolved.

This addresses the so-called ‘West Lothian question’, where English MPs could not vote on matters which have been devolved to other parts of the UK, but Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs could vote on those same matters when the UK Parliament was legislating solely for England.

This changes the way that the House of Commons considers legislation. MPs with constituencies in England (and, where relevant, England and Wales) will now be asked to give their consent to legislation that only affects England (or England and Wales) for matters that are devolved elsewhere in the UK.

These changes will strengthen England’s voice, just as devolution has strengthened the voices of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland within the Union. The new procedure means that the legislative process is fairer for everyone while still allowing MPs from across the UK to amend and vote on all legislation, as they can now.

Published 2 July 2015
Last updated 22 October 2015 + show all updates
  1. Updated after the House of Commons vote.

  2. Updated Memorandum attachment updated along with detail description.

  3. Added a document with revised proposed changes.

  4. First published.