Scotland’s decision to remain in the United Kingdom heralds the start of “top-to-toe” reforms that will transfer more powers to every part of the union, Nick Clegg has said.
The “clamour” for greater autonomy fuelled by the referendum campaign means more controls will now be put “into the hands of the people”, the Deputy Prime Minister insisted.
While a “clear” timetable for further devolution to Scotland has been set out, decisions must now be made about “how that then translates into new voting arrangements in Westminster”, he said during a visit to a coffee shop in Edinburgh to meet Liberal Democrat activists.
Cross-party support must be sought for the proposals outlined by David Cameron to address the problem, he insisted.
Mr Clegg said: “I think it is essential on all major constitutional issues we should always try, sometimes it’s not possible, and proceed on a cross-party basis and that is, as the Prime Minister has confirmed this morning, what we should do.
“These are major constitutional issues. They shouldn’t be the play things of one individual party or another.”
Former Clerk of the House of Commons Sir William McKay came forward with limited procedural changes last year to address the question of MPs being able to vote on legislation that does not affect their voters.
Calls for English devolution gathered momentum in the Tory camp yesterday as David Cameron announced he would fast-track proposals to prevent Scottish MPs voting on English-only issues in the wake of the independence referendum.
Prominent Conservatives lined up to argue for a settlement “for the whole of the UK” that would see England granted similar powers to those pledged to north of the border in the run-up to the vote.
London mayor Boris Johnson was among the voices calling for English devolution.