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Wednesday, May 12, 1999 Published at 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK


UK Politics

English Parliament campaign unveiled

England has a football team - should it have a parliament?

England has been "short-changed" by devolution and deserves a Parliament of its own, according to a new campaign.

The call for an English Parliament was unveiled by Teresa Gorman on Tuesday, as members of the Scottish and Welsh assemblies were being sworn in to their respective bodies.

The Euro-sceptic MP believes the devolution of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has created a series of anomalies, which should be addressed by an English assembly.

'England has missed out'

Mrs Gorman told a news conference: "While other parts of the UK have decided they want separate administrations, England has missed out.

"You could say thy have been short-changed."

The implications of devolution were "not yet to be understood by the government let alone the population", she said.


[ image: Gordon Brown: A Scottish MP in the Cabinet]
Gordon Brown: A Scottish MP in the Cabinet
The UK had been "one big fairly happy family" with support for less well off regions, such as parts of Scotland and Wales.

Now, under devolution Scotland and Wales were "going to have power without the responsibility of paying for it".

Other anomalies included the "West Lothian question", where Scotland and Wales still send MPs to Westminster to intervene on English matters

She pointed out the large number of Scottish MPs in the Labour Cabinet.

Mrs Gorman also opposes England being defined by regions by the European Union and also by the government's regional development agencies.

Her views are contained in a booklet A Parliament for England, aimed at voters and her Conservative Party colleagues.

"I believe the party which has always supported the union must face up to the fact that the union has been radically altered," she said.

The issue of an English Parliament would grow in importance and could be a prospective vote winner for the Tories at the next election, said Mrs Gorman.

Unscrambling the omelette

She added: "We have no animosity towards Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in pursuing their government structures.

"I don't think we can unscramble this omelette when we come into power."

But the Tories establish England as its "own country" on returning to power.

Mrs Gorman, sitting behind a flag of St George, was flanked by other Tory MPs including Eric Forth, David Davis and Peter Luff.

Mr Luff said issues such as the ban on beef-on-the-bone, which could be lifted in Wales, and tuition fees for higher education students, which has been a sticking point between Labour and Liberal Democrats in Scotland, would drive the debate forward.



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