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MP demands ban on Scots voting in the 2015 election

SCOTS should be banned from voting in the May 2015 General Election if there is a Yes vote in the independence referendum, according to a Tory MP.

WARNING: MP for Carlisle John Stevenson fears a constitutional crisis is looming. Picture: Andrew Findlay/Alamy
WARNING: MP for Carlisle John Stevenson fears a constitutional crisis is looming. Picture: Andrew Findlay/Alamy

Backbencher John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, who is an Aberdonian, said that a potential constitutional crisis would loom if Scottish voters, having backed independence, were still allowed to vote at the next election, when they could determine which party governs the UK if the vote was close.

"If there is a Yes vote, there would be major consequences for the rest of the country; they have to be considered.

"You can't have a situation where the government of the United Kingdom is determined by the representation from Scotland, which could then have significant influence in the subsequent negotiations.

Mr Stevenson said: "Why should the government for 90% of the population be determined by a part of the UK that has just chosen to become a foreign country. That would potentially cause a constitutional crisis."

He acknowledged that for 10 months between the referendum and March 2016, the date earmarked by First Minister Alex Salmond for independence to begin, the UK Government would, in large part, govern Scotland.

But he insisted the over-riding issue was the legitimacy of the next government in Whitehall and the interests of the rest of the UK.

Mr Stevenson added that in the intergovernmental negotiations following any Yes vote the "Scottish Government through the Scottish Parliament should represent Scotland while the UK Government through the Westminster Parliament, without Scottish MPs, should represent the rest of the UK."

It is widely acknowledged that a Yes vote in the independence referendum would have profound consequences for Westminster.

It would completely change the terms of reference of the 2015 General Election; Scots would not so much be voting for who would best govern them in London but who could get the best deal for Scotland in the post-referendum talks. Political parties south of the border would insert into their manifestos policies detailing how they would approach the constit-utional divorce from Scotland.

It is possible Labour could form the next UK Government on a slim majority provided by its Scottish contingent of MPs. But these would disappear 10 months after the election in March 2016 as independence was formally declared. This could change the colour of the Government in Whitehall and even spark a fresh General Election for the rest of the UK less than 12 months from the 2015 poll. Already, Tory MPs have been airing concerns about the consequences of a Yes vote on the rest of the UK, with some calling for the immediate scrapping of the Barnett Formula, which they say gives Scotland a higher public spend than most other parts of the Union.

Mr Stevenson will raise his concerns in the Commons on Tuesday during a 10-minute rule motion; a parliamentary device to enable an MP to speak on a topical issue. His motion calls for a new Bill to "amend the Representation of the People Act 1983 to disenfranchise all residents of Scotland eligible to vote in any UK General Election held after September 18 2014 in the event of a positive vote in the Scottish independence referendum".

In response, Labour MP Thomas Docherty said: "Rather than seeking to cause further constitutional chaos, John Stevenson would be better getting out to Dumfries and Galloway and helping to keep the UK together."

Angus Robertson, leader of the SNP at Westminster, said: "So long as direct decisions are made about Scotland at Westminster there should be representation there. Obviously, the best option is for all decisions to be made in Scotland, which we can achieve with a Yes vote on September 18."

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