David Cameron is afraid to debate the English Question
PMQs, House of Commons, Wednesday 22 February 2012
Mr Frank Field (Birkenhead) (Lab):
Given what the Prime Minister said last week in Scotland, will he devote as much time to facing up to the grievances that the English feel from the current proposals of devolution as he will to considering new proposals of devolution to Scotland? Will he open a major debate here in the House on the English question, so that Members from all parts of the House can advise him on what measures of devolution England needs if we are to gain equity with other countries of the United Kingdom?
The Prime Minister:
We have, obviously, set up the West Lothian group to look at this issue, and obviously we want to make sure that devolution works for everyone in the United Kingdom, but I would part company slightly with the right hon. Gentleman for this reason: I believe the United Kingdom has been an incredibly successful partnership between all its members. Far from wanting to appeal to English people in any way to nurture a grievance they feel, I want to appeal to my fellow Englishmen and say, “This has been a great partnership”—a great partnership for Scotland, but a great partnership for England too. Of course Scotland must make its choice, but we hope that Scotland will choose to remain in this partnership that has done so well for the last 300 years.
What the Prime Minister is trying to say is "No, I won't devote any time to English grievances, which is why I've booted the West Lothian Question into touch and marked reform of the Barnett Formula as a no go area for the foreseeable future while I desperately attempt to keep Scotland in the Union by any means possible."
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In February Frank Field asked the Prime Minister to open a debate on the English Question. Cameron shrugged off the question. Remarkably, Field reveals that on the strength of that question the BBC asked him to appear on Question Time from St Andrews, a