Return to the West Lothian question

Prof Charlie Jeffrey and Sir Stephen Laws (McKay Commission)

In the context of devolution, roughly half of all Acts of Parliament apply to only part of the UK, with some 30 per cent applying only to England and Wales. How to deal with such legislation in Westminster (or "English votes for English laws") is the perennial West Lothian Question. The McKay Commission was set up in January 2012 and tasked with investigating possible answers. They issued their report in March this year, concluding that decisions taken by the House of Commons with a separate and distinct effect for England should normally be taken only with the consent of a majority of MPs for England. Two of the Commissioners will be discussing the enquiry's findings following their 17-month investigation.

Professor Jeffery has held a Chair in Politics at the University of Edinburgh since October 2004 and is currently Head of School of Social and Political Science and Vice Principal for Public Policy and Impact at the University. He directed the Economic and Social Research Council’s research programme on Devolution and Constitutional Change from 2000 to 2007 and was a member of Council of the Economic and Social Research Council from 2005 to 2011.

Sir Stephen Laws KCB was called to the Bar in 1973. He joined the Civil Service in 1975, and the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in 1976. Sir Stephen was First Parliamentary Counsel from 2006 to January 2012. In that capacity, he was the permanent secretary in the Cabinet Office responsible for the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and the Offices of the Government’s Parliamentary Business Managers. Sir Stephen was an adviser to different governments on parliamentary and constitutional matters.

***Please note earlier than usual start time of 12.30***. A light sandwich lunch will be available from 12.00.

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