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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 16:24 GMT
Welsh nod for English Parliament
The Houses of Parliament
The government fears more devolution will mean breaking up the UK
England should have its own parliament, the presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly, Lord Elis-Thomas, has said.

He said England should be "free and have devolution as well", supported by Welsh and Scots devolution campaigners.

It follows backing for the campaign from Canon Kenyon Wright, one of the architects of Scottish devolution.

Tony Blair opposes England-only votes in the Commons, but former minister Frank Field said there was a danger Labour might appear "anti-English".

Control of health, education and transport policy has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament, which was set up in 1999, but MPs with Scottish seats can still make laws on these issues for England.

'Proper Parliament'

Welsh MPs can also vote on England-only matters, such as banning smoking, where the equivalent decision for Wales is taken by the Welsh Assembly.

Lord Elis-Thomas, a Plaid assembly member, said a recent poll showing the majority of Scottish and English voters favoured a split demonstrated the need for "a proper English parliament".

There should be a proper English Parliament
Lord Elis-Thomas

In an interview with the Parliamentary Monitor magazine, he said: "In England I detect there is a strong feeling that the consequences of devolution for England must now be addressed.

"I think it is important for those of us who campaigned for devolution in Scotland and Wales to support that.

"There should be a proper English Parliament, and that could be arranged very easily if the Commons sat on a Tuesday or Wednesday as an English parliament."

'Break-up' danger

Mike Knowles, of the Campaign for an English Parliament, said some of Lord Elis-Thomas's ideas were welcome, but said there was a need for a totally separate English Parliament.

Earlier this year the idea of an English Parliament was rejected by the Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, who said it would lead to the break-up of the UK.

There's going to be another big sweeping issue that the electorate in England has got a clear view on, and the Labour party is opposed to it
Labour former minister Frank Field

Frank Field is among Labour MPs who think the party needs to rethink its approach - which backs regional assemblies rather than an English Parliament - after voters rejected a north east regional assembly in a referendum.

He told the BBC's World at One programme: "I think the danger is that the English voters will see that we are against the English, and as they make up the vast majority of voters and return the vast majority of MPs, it's not a position to get into if you're only worried about the politics of it."

He said English voters had to see Labour represented their views adding: "There's going to be another big sweeping issue that the electorate in England has got a clear view on, and the Labour Party is opposed to it."

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26 Nov 06 |  Scotland
Fresh call for English Parliament
24 Oct 06 |  UK Politics
Blair rejects England-only votes
07 Feb 06 |  UK Politics
Davis wants England-only voting
10 Nov 05 |  UK Politics

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