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Monday, 2 October, 2000, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Voting dilemma plan backed
House of Commons
The Tories are seeking to curb Scots MPs' powers
The Conservative leadership says grassroots members have supported proposals aimed at resolving the West Lothian Question.

It means a future Tory government would prevent Scottish MPs from voting on issues at Westminster which affect only England and Wales.

The proposal is included in the Tories' draft manifesto called Believing in Britain which members have overwhelmingly voted at their conference in Bournemouth to endorse.

Only one-sixth of grassroots representatives bothered to vote on the plans - but it means a future Conservative government would introduce English votes for English laws.

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Phil Gallie, one of the few Scottish Tory MSPs due to attend the conference, argues it is only right that Scottish MPs should not vote on matters which do not affect Scotland.

As a result, he says, they should be paid the same as MSPs, who get about 7,000 less than the annual salary of their Westminster counterparts.

Scottish Conservatives leader David McLetchie called for such a voting ban when he addressed the conference in Blackpool last year.

The party failed to win any seats in Scotland at the last general election in 1997, although it returned 18 MSPs in last year's elections to the Scottish Parliament.

The controversy over the voting rights of Westminster MPs following devolution was first highlighted by the Labour MP for Linlithgow Tam Dalyell and became known as the West Lothian Question.

The Conservatives are in buoyant mood after the Labour Government's recent problems over the fuel crisis and pensions.

Party strategists will also be hoping to build on the momentum created by John Scott's victory in the Scottish parliamentary by-election in Ayr in March.

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See also:

28 Jun 00 | UK Politics
'Devolved' MPs vote ban defeated
19 Apr 00 | Scotland
'Constitutional crisis' warning
04 Oct 99 | Scotland
McLetchie reignites voting issue
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