Key report: Support of majority of English MPs needed for English laws

A majority of English MPs should be required before Commons decisions affecting only England can be passed, a potentially game-changing report found today.

The McKay Commission report into the consequences of devolution on law-making found English resentment at Scottish and Northern Ireland MPs voting on laws just for England was growing and that the status quo could not continue.

"Surveys have shown that people in England are unhappy about the existing arrangements and support change," chairman William McKay said.

"There is a feeling that England is at a disadvantage, and that it's not right that MPs representing the devolved nations should be able to vote on matters affecting England.

"The status quo clearly cannot be sustained."

Under the report's recommendations, UK-wide decisions would still need a majority of votes in the Commons, but English-only decisions would require a majority of MPs representing constituencies in England.

There is no suggestion these votes would bar MPs representing constituencies outside England from voting, but instead it would add a further obstacle in the way of legislation to ensure English support.

The procedure would be set out in a resolution of the Commons.

Other measures suggested include proportionate committees on bills to reflect the party balance in England.

It also recommends a select committee on devolution is established.

"They are not a single package but a menu from which choices can be made to suit the circumstances of a particular bill," the report states.

"The government is very grateful to Sir William McKay and his colleagues for their work," a Cabinet Office spokesman said.

"This is a very important issue, which is why the government asked this expert commission to look into it. We will give the report very serious consideration before we respond substantively."