Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

West Lothian question

The West Lothian question, as yet unresolved, is the name given to a conundrum first posed by Tam Dalyell, MP for West Lothian, on the workings of the UK Parliament after devolution.

It asks why MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should be able to vote on policies that will apply in England but will not apply in their own constituencies.

The question arises if, for example, Parliament debates new legislation on administration of the NHS, which is a devolved matter.

In a debate on devolution in November 1977, Mr Dalyell said: "For how long will English constituencies and English Honourable members tolerate… at least 119 Honourable Members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland exercising an important, and probably often decisive, effect on British politics while they themselves have no say in the same matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."

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