Owen Paterson on the Scottish Referendum Result

I welcome the clear referendum result, but the chaotic manner in which the no vote was won has undermined the strong and resilient United Kingdom on which we all depend. It is unacceptable that in the late stages of the campaign an ex Labour leader was allowed to make rash promises of “extensive new powers” to the Scottish people with the endorsement of all three UK party leaders, but with no mandate from Parliament. It is unfair that Scottish politicians will continue to vote on taxes raised from the English, while voting special tax raising powers to Scotland alone. Maintaining the Barnett formula, under which the Scottish receive £1,600 per head more than the English and expecting English taxpayers, who are struggling to make ends meet, to keep footing the bill is unjust.


Such a lopsided constitutional settlement cannot last; it is already causing real anger across England. If not resolved fairly for all the constituent parts of the UK for the long term, it will fall apart. The normal autumn routine of party political conferences is not sacrosanct. The Prime Minister’s promise of English votes for English laws is welcome and Parliament should be recalled next week to discuss this and a wider constitutional settlement.