Wales politics

Ex-Welsh secretary urges caution over England-only votes

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Image caption MPs from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland would be barred from voting on England-only matters

Plans to restrict the role of Welsh MPs should be treated with caution, a former Welsh secretary has warned.

Clwyd West Tory MP David Jones said he backed proposals for "English votes for English laws" but it was important to define clearly what those issues were.

He said many of his constituents used public services in England and many voters there relied on Welsh hospitals.

The UK government said it was bringing about constitutional reform to serve people living in all parts of the UK.

The House of Commons rule changes would also limit some votes to English and Welsh MPs only.

Speaking during a Commons debate on the Queen's Speech, Mr Jones said of the policy: "I strongly approve of that commitment, since it will restore fairness that has been eroded in the wake of the 1999 bout of devolution.

"However...I say that we should treat that proposal with caution and what is most important is that defining what are English or English and Welsh issues is of paramount importance."

Image caption The government is proposing to change the 'standing orders' by which the Commons organises its business

Mr Jones said many of his constituents used hospitals in the north west of England.

"The people of north Wales have an absolute right to expect that that their representatives in this place should be able to speak in this House on those issues that concern them."

He added: "I would say to my right honourable friends on the front bench that this is extremely important if the fairness that we seek to achieve by creating by English and Welsh votes for English and Welsh laws, or English votes for English laws, is not to be brought into disrepute."

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: "As a one nation government we will revise the rules to make the law-making process fair - bringing about constitutional reform that serves people living in all parts of the United Kingdom.

"The introduction of English votes for English laws will do just that for England."

He was challenged by Delyn Labour MP David Hanson, who said he represented a part of Wales that uses English hospital services, transport, employment and airports.

"I want to know from you, why I can't speak or vote on those issues," he said.

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