Chris Grayling, leader of the House of Commons, said the Tory party is a “passionate supporter of the Union” of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As there are 50-odd Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) members in the Commons, and sundry other MPs from the other two countries, the logistical matter of separating the Scottish, Welsh and Irish wolves from the English sheep is a bit of a problem.
The Tory party only has one MP in Scotland after the SNP staged a landslide victory which swept away nearly all Labout MPs as well as Liberal Democrats.
Currently, when MPs vote they file through two lobbies – one for yes and one for no – and are counted by human tellers.
But in a move which will propel MPs from Gladstone’s days into the 21st century, the Clerks have come up with a new system of telling using tablet computers to account for the differences in nationalities.
The tablets, said Grayling, will “give the Tellers an immediate tally of whether a measure has a majority of English MPs”.
He did not say which brand of tablets will be used, but the method won’t apply to the House of Lords because, well, it just won’t.
Grayling’s plans were picked up by Pete Wishart, the shadow SNP leader of the House of Commons.
He said: “What a lot of constitutional bilge and unworkable garbage!” He said the plans will create two classes of members of parliament. “We would do as well to stamp the foreheads of Scottish MPs before they go into the Lobby, and I thought that the Leader of the House was quite close to suggesting or proposing it.”
Grayling said: “The honourable Gentleman seems a tad on the exercised side”.