A fairer deal for all parts of the United Kingdom – not least England – was quietly stifled by the Coalition. Harriet Baldwin (now a whip) made the case for one energetically in the Commons, but David Cameron and Nick Clegg were determined not to destablise the referendum (as they saw it). The quiet of English voters on the issue since 1997 also helped it to recede.
John Redwood made a push for a better settlement for England at the very start of the Parliament. Events stifled it. But now their turn is helping him to make it once again. Here he is in the Sunday Times today (£), for example. It is a long time since this former leadership contender was making such big waves in the national media.
He asked William Hague a sharp question about the constitutional future during Business Questions last week. “Assuming there is a no vote in the Scottish referendum, who in the Government will represent England in the new devolution settlement? Who speaks for England, because we need a voice and a new deal?” Hague played a dead bat on it.
In the event of a close No vote on Thursday, Redwood’s voice will be an important one during the debate that follows. The combination of his feeling for England and his high intelligence is formidable. He has been no less committed to the debate about the UK’s relationship with the EU. But this will be not be the immediate matter to hand in the event of a narrow No. Watch Redwood.