Newly elected UKIP leader, Paul Nuttall, called for English devolution in his first speech as UKIP leader after previously suggesting Scottish MPs should be removed from the House of Commons.
Nuttall has replaced Nigel Farage as permanent leader of the party winning over 60% of the vote in the second Leadership election the party has had in the last 3 months.
The last election was labelled a shambles after Diane James, elected in September, resigned only 18 days later, subsequently leaving the party. Nigel Farage had to return to the leadership role while a new leader was selected.
During his first speech as Ukip leader Nuttall said:
“Under my leadership we will champion a fair devolution deal for England and we will promote the English.”
This latest commitment to English devolution comes just one week after Nuttall told the Daily Express that he thinks Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh MPs should be removed from the House of Commons. He said:
“It is clearly wrong that Scots should vote on English only matters and it is time they were removed from the House of Commons which should become the English Parliament. We need an elected chamber but we also need to get really radical. If the Commons becomes and English Parliament then the British Parliament should be the Lords or a Senate and that is where the Prime Minister should be.”
While UKIP only have one seat in the House of Commons, their influence has been far reaching. The Director for the Centre of British Politics, Professor Steven Fielding said:
“When UKIP sneezes, a few years later the Conservative party catches a cold. On the basis of what Nuttall is saying […] odds on, the way that Theresa May is dealing with matters, we’ll be hearing something not too dissimilar from her if it looks like it’s got some traction not too far from the next general election.”
The House of Commons currently has 59 sitting Scottish MPs who can often play an important role in tight votes.
Last year the government dropped proposals to reform Fox Hunting laws after the SNP bloc of MPs said they would vote against it.
However, Mike Blackshaw who helps run the Yes Cafe in Edinburgh feels that as long as Scotland are a part of the UK it is important that they have a say in the House of Commons and even English issues. He said:
“I think at the present moment we are in the UK. If England has a Parliament then they have a Parliament. So unless we vote for independence and leave the UK then we should have representation in the UK. That includes votes on English issues because those issues still affect Scotland’s budget.”
Paul Nuttall is expected to provide some stability for UKIP who have been unable to fully capitalise on Brexit while being effectively leaderless.
Nuttall said he aims to “replace the Labour Party” as the voice of the working people in the next General Election.