Devolved English parliament

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A devolved English parliament or assembly, is a proposed institution giving separate decision-making powers to representatives for voters in England similar to the representation given by the National Assembly for Wales, Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly, and is currently an issue in the politics of the United Kingdom.

The Campaign for an English Parliament is a pressure group that is lobbying for this. Public opinion surveys have resulted in widely differing conclusions on public support for the establishment of a devolved English parliament.

In January 2012 Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats supported calls for a devolved English parliament.[1]


There are currently several groups working to raise this issue of a devolved English parliament, including the Campaign for an English Parliament and the English Constitutional Convention. Also, the English Democrats Party supports the creation of an English parliament. Electoral support for English nationalist parties is low, however, even though there is public support for many of the policies they espouse.[2] The English Democrats gained just 64,826 votes in the 2010 UK general election, accounting for 0.3 per cent of all votes cast in England.[3]

Public opinion[edit]

Recent surveys of public opinion on the establishment of an English deliberative assembly have given widely varying conclusions. In the first five years of devolution for Scotland and Wales, support in England for the establishment of an English parliament was low at between 16 and 19 per cent, according to successive British Social Attitudes Surveys.[4] A report, also based on the British Social Attitudes Survey, published in December 2010 suggests that only 29 per cent of people in England support the establishment of an English parliament, though this figure had risen from 17 per cent in 2007.[5] One 2007 poll of 1,953 people throughout Great Britain carried out for BBC Newsnight, however, found 61 per cent support among the English for a parliament of their own, with 51 per cent of Scots and 48 per cent of Welsh people favouring the same.[6][7] An earlier ICM poll of 869 English people in November 2006 produced a slightly higher majority of 68 per cent backing the establishment of such a body.[8][9][10][11]

Academic Krishan Kumar notes that support for measures to ensure that only English MPs can vote on legislation that applies only to England is generally higher than that for the establishment of an English parliament, although support for both varies depending on the timing of the opinion poll and the wording of the question.[12] Kumar argues that "despite devolution and occasional bursts of English nationalism – more an expression of exasperation with the Scots or Northern Irish – the English remain on the whole satisfied with current constitutional arrangements".[13]

A 2014 poll by Cardiff and Edinburgh universities found that 54% of English people surveyed agreed with an devolved parliament, while 20% neither agreed nor disagreed, 15% disagreed, and 10% were undecided.[14]


In Cornwall there has been a campaign since 1970 for a devolved Cornish Assembly, along the lines of the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly, which would operate independently of Westminster.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barnes, Eddie (22 January 2012). "Scottish independence referendum: Liberal Democrats deputy leader Simon Hughes calls for English devolution". Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh: Johnston Publishing Ltd.). Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Copus, Colin (2009). "English national parties in post-devolution UK". British Politics 4 (3): 363–385. doi:10.1057/bp.2009.12. 
  3. ^ "Full England scoreboard". Election 2010 (BBC News). Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Hazell, Robert (2006). "The English Question". Publius 36 (1): 37–56. doi:10.1093/publius/pjj012. 
  5. ^ Ormston, Rachel; Curtice, John (December 2010). "Resentment or contentment? Attitudes towards the Union ten years on". National Centre for Social Research. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "Most 'support English parliament'". BBC. 8 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-16. 
  7. ^ Newsnight Act of Union poll.
  8. ^ Hennessy, Patrick; Kite, Melissa (27 November 2006). "Britain wants UK break up, poll shows". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2006-12-05. 
  9. ^ "68 per cent of English want independence from Scotland". This Is London. 26 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-05. 
  10. ^ "English tell Scots to go for independence". Scotland on Sunday. 26 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-05. 
  11. ^ "Poll says majority of British voters support independence for Scotland". International Herald Tribune. 26 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-05. 
  12. ^ Kumar 2010, p. 484.
  13. ^ Kumar 2010, p. 478.
  14. ^ "An English parliament, and an unlikely home for it". BBC News. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Banks, J. C., Federal Britain, Hardcover, Harrap, ISBN 0-245-50378-1 (0-245-50378-1)


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