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EVEL is silly. Let’s have an English parliament in Tamworth

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  • EVEL is silly. Let’s have an English parliament in Tamworth

The idea of EVEL (English Votes for English Legislation) and the resulting chaos of two classes of MPs sitting in the same chamber is so ridiculous that it is hard to see why anyone would take it seriously.

Of the four countries of the union, three already have their own parliaments. Only England does not. Evel recognises the anomaly but dodges recognition of the fact that the United Kingdom has become a federal state.

That leads to the difficult question of where to site the English and UK parliaments: It would not be a good idea to have them in the same city, let alone the same building.

We could build a new federal capital which is not in the territory of any of the states as has happened with Washington DC, Brasilia and Canberra. That does not look practical for the United Kingdom but the City of Westminster could be declared a federal territory.

That would leave the political capital adjacent to the business capital in the City of London.

Then there is the question of where the English parliament should sit. My suggestion is Tamworth, the historic capital of Mercia, the largest kingdom of what was to become England.

It is also geographically central, has good communications with motorways and the proposed route of HS2 passes close-by. Birmingham international airport is only 18 miles away by the M42. It is already the sixth busies international airport and East Midlands airport is only a little further away.

The problem with Tamworth, as the English capital, is its association with the Conservative party. Sir Robert Peel was the town’s MP for good slice of the 19th century and his 1834 Tamworth Manifesto is regarded as the founding document of the modern Conservative party.

But that objection could be overcome: much of the legislation he saw through parliament in his two ministries would be accepted now by all shades as good.

His first stint at prime minister did not go well for reasons every politician today will recognise.  In 1834 he formed a minority Tory government but the Whigs made a compact with Irish Radicals that outvoted the government. Peel’s first ministry lasted 100 days. He did not return to power for six years.

 

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