Writing in the Birmingham Post on the need for English regional government, Phil Davis, of the abolished Campaign for English Regions, has this to say on English national government:
As for England as a country, an English national council formed by the regions could also speak on purely English matters, avoiding tortuous and unworkable Parliamentary exclusions of the sort proposed by Ken Clarke MP.
This is a step forward. Just. Because he appears to be conceding that there is some need for England, as a country, to speak on English matters. In the past I have argued that an English parliament could address regionalism by incorporating regional committees. These committees would not necessarily have to corresponded to Prescott's regions, they could just as easily be committees formed from non-adjecent, but common strategic-interest, counties, constituencies and local authorities. Examples I have given previously are all English authorities for whom coastal erosion is a problem, or all authorities that have a particular motorway or railway line going through their territory.
And now that the Commons Modernisation Committee has recommended the use of regional select committees, overseen by "grand committees", to scrutinise the work of RDAs we might get a look at how such a system would work. As with everything constitutional that this government does it will be a half-arsed dog's dinner of a solution, but it may at least be useful in providing a template for how a regional committee system might operate in a future English parliament.