A row broke out yesterday after the UK Government announced that English MPs will have a veto over laws that only affected that country.
House of Commons leader Chris Grayling claimed the move would answer the so-called West Lothian question but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hinted that the controversial move could increase support for independence.
The changes relate to whether Scottish MPs should be able to vote on matters that affect only England, while MPs from that country are unable to vote on issues that have been devolved to Holyrood.
The UK Government will attempt to enact the “English votes for English laws“ (Evel) proposals through changing standing orders – rules which govern parliamentary procedure.
But Ms Sturgeon claimed the Tories had produced a “constitutional shambles” which was “staggering in the extent of its hypocrisy and incoherence”.
She said the plans were about cutting Scottish MPs out of votes which impact on this country and its budget while “imposing a totally inadequate Scotland Bill, which fails to live up to the recommendations of the Smith Commission and defies the will of 56 of Scotland’s 59 MPs.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The Westminster system wants an English veto – but rides roughshod over the democratic rights of the people of Scotland.
“I have been very clear that, at least in part, the level of support for independence will be determined by what the Tory government at Westminster does, as well as what the SNP Government does.
“And there is no question that the great disrespect shown to Scotland in these proposals is likely to have more people asking whether Westminster is capable of representing Scotland’s interests at all.”
Ian Blackford, SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, claimed the Tories were signalling the end of the union by “creating two classes of MPs in the House of Commons”.
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael, a former Scottish Secretary, claimed Prime Minister David Cameron was now a “bigger threat” to the continuation of the UK than former First Minister turned MP Alex Salmond.
“It has now been confirmed with this ill-advised plan for Evel which the UK Government is not even prepared to offer up for proper scrutiny by all MPs,” said the Liberal Democrat.
“This will create two classes of MPs.
“I have written to the speaker today asking that he allows the House of Commons to debate the disgraceful tactics being employed by the government in bulldozing this change through the House of Commons.
“The House of Lords will not even get to consider the changes.”
But Scottish Secretary David Mundell claimed the announcement could make the union stronger because people in England would feel that their voices were heard.
He said it did not diminish the rights of Scottish MPs or create two classes of parliamentarians.
Mr Mundell said: “This is an approach to bring some balance and equilibrium and fairness to the devolution settlement across the whole of the United Kingdom.
“There’s no impact on financial decisions because Scottish MPs will still have a vote on the budgets of all UK Government departments.”
Referring to Ms Sturgeon’s remarks, the Tory MP said: “It’s very silly politics to constantly threaten to have a referendum every time you don’t get what you want.
“Obviously Nicola hasn’t examined the detail of the proposals.
“When she examines the detail she will see there is no detriment to Scotland at all from these proposals, but they are bringing fairness and balance to England.
“During the general election campaign, as I remember it, Nicola set out on many occasions that she had the interests of people in England at heart.”
The changes have to be approved in a Commons vote on July 15.