Veteran Labour MP Gerald Kaufman offered a withering assessment of William Hague's plans for 'English votes for English laws', saying even a dog "would turn up its nose" at the proposals.
ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship is following developments.
Gerald Kaufman: it's not right to call Hague's proposals as a dog's breakfast because any sensible dog would rightly turn up its nose
Former cabinet minister Jack Straw also hit out at the Conservatives over their past opposition to devolution to Scotland and Wales.
Jack Straw: can I remind William Hague that it was his party's policy to OPPOSE devolution to Scotland and to Wales
Labour have warned that plans for 'English votes for English laws' risk breaking up the United Kingdom "by the back door".
Responding to a set of proposals from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan told MPs:
What we mustn't do only months after the Scottish people voted to keep our kingdom united is allow our country to be divided by the back door. Nothing we do should jeopardise the future of the union.
The Leader of the House of Commons, William Hague, has outlined four different reforms to Parliament to put a "decisive" end to the question of 'English votes for English laws'.
1 The Liberal Democrats' preferred option is for a new stage in the passing of laws, where a committee of English MPs can scrutinise laws and apply a veto if they wish. The Lib Dems want any committee to be made up in proportion to each party's share of the popular vote in England.
2 The first of three Conservative party proposals is for all stages of laws relating only to England (or England and Wales) to be determined by English/Welsh MPs.
3 The second Tory proposal is reform the amending stage of bills of England-only bills so that English(/Welsh) MPs have "the decisive say over the content of legislation".
4 The final option set out by Mr Hague is a committee stage made up of English (/Welsh) MPs that would be able to consent to or veto a bill or parts of a bill that relate only to England or only to England and Wales.
A senior Liberal Democrat minister has warned that allowing English MPs to vote on laws affecting England would amount to "Tory votes for English laws", because the Tories get a majority of MPs in England.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander told ITV News there should be a "proportional system" involving a committee based on what percentage of the popular vote different parties get in England.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott has accused the Conservatives of a "stitch-up" over plans for 'English votes for English laws'.
Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, the Labour veteran said:
This is a stitch-up. They can’t get an agreement about it. They’re rushing it before the election… to make an election claim - ’English parliament for English MPs’...This is such a stitch-up. They’re rushing it through on a major constitutional change.
The chair of the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee has hit out at William Hague over his focus on 'English votes for English laws'.
Labour MP Graham Allen said Mr Hague had "deliberately missed the opportunity" to devolve power to England by focusing instead on a "tiny Westminster issue".
England will remain under Whitehall control with a little different window dressing in a rubber-stamp Parliament. Ironically Parliament has been ignored in this process with its own Select Committee deliberately refused a hearing. Government sees Parliament's role as delivering for Whitehall not championing devolution to the localities of England.
The government will lay out plans for "English votes for English laws" as the coalition tries to balance giving greater powers to Scotland with how the whole of the UK is represented in Parliament.
Commons Leader William Hague is to present MPs with a range of options after the parties failed to reach agreement on the way forward.
Conservatives and UKIP support giving greater powers to English MPs voting on issues which only affect England - a move Labour says will destroy the union.
The options in the command paper presented by Mr Hague are expected to propose either:
- Barring Scottish MPs from any role in English and Welsh bills
- Allowing English MPs to have a greater say over the early readings of bills before allowing all MPs to vote on the final stages
- Giving English MPs a veto over certain legislation
- A separate Lib Dem plan to establish a grand committee of English MPs to scrutinise legislation
Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to bring in changes, saying this should be linked to the transfer of more powers to Holyrood.
Scotland's new Labour leader Jim Murphy said his election signaled a "fresh start" for the ailing party as he declared next year's general election would be a referendum on whether David Cameron remains as Prime Minister.
Mr Murphy said he was confident under his leadership Labour would not lose any Scottish MPs to the the SNP in May's election. His comments come as a new poll suggests support for the SNP is at a record high.
Scotland Correspondent Debi Edwards reports.
Results of a YouGov poll released today suggest support for Scotland's SNP party has reached record levels.
Carried out on behalf of The Sun newspaper, the poll indicated 47% of people in Scotland intend to vote SNP at the general election, 27% are expected to vote Labour, 16% are likely to vote Conservative and just 3% are predicted to back the Lib Dems.
The results of the pre-election poll came on the same day that Scottish Labour elected MP Jim Murphy as its new leader.
Scottish Labour's new leader Jim Murphy will have to reverse the party's fortunes if his tenure is to be viewed as a success.Read the full story ›