‘The demand now being made by the Scots to regulate fishing rights in the English section of the River Esk in the county of Cumbria is an invasion of England’s sovereignty’, Mrs Scilla Cullen, Chairman of the Campaign for an English Parliament, has stated. ‘The demand is being made by Mr David Mundell, MP for Dumfrieshire, Clydesdale and Tweedsdale. He is the only Conservative MP in Scotland. Very possibly, come the next general election, he will have a place in history as the very last Conservative Party MP in Scotland. By reason of the 1998 Devolution legislation his demand is unconstitutional.’
‘When the Scotland Act was passed and a Scottish Parliament established in 1998, the Union Government had Scots as Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary and Lord Chancellor and had members of the Scottish Constitutional Convention involved in drafting the actual devolution legislation. A direct constitutional consequence of the Union Parliament giving Home Rule to Scotland in 1998 in the form of a Scottish Parliament was the declaration of the internal sovereignty of Scotland. Scotland now has complete and independent control of its internal affairs. However, the very obvious constitutional implication is of course that its sovereignty is limited to its borders. The constitutional implication of the Devolution legislation is the internal sovereignty of England.
‘The Scots who drove that legislation through the Union Parliament in 1998 had only the advantage of Scotland on their minds. There is now universal acceptance that the legislation, though historic and radical, was rushed and ill-thought-out. Included in it were the regulations of fishing rights and responsibilities on rivers that crossed the Scotland/England border. Unconstitutionally it handed responsibility for the regulation of fishing rights in the River Tweed and all its tributary rivers to the Scottish Parliament, even tributaries like the River Till in Northumberland which flows entirely in England. That constitutes an invasion of English sovereignty.
‘However,the legislation correctly gave to the English Environment Agency responsibility for the English section of the River Esk which flows into the Solway Firth. Now Mr David Mundell, who is also, quite inevitably, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, is demanding that the control of fishing in the English section is taken from the English Agency and given to the Scottish Parliament To make this concession would be an attack upon England’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. This government has already done this by conceding to Scottish demands to extend their control of the Solway Firth into English waters and by placing the whole of the River Till under Scottish control.
‘It now remains to be seen what response England’s Environment Agency and the Union Government give to Mr Mundell’s demand. The Chairman of the Environment Agency is Lord Chris Smith who is a Scot. However, he has lived all his political life in England and as an MP he represented an English constituency in Islington in London. The Union government however has a Scottish Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown, who in March 1989 made the pledge, which is called the Scottish Claim of Right, that ‘in every deliberation and action the interests of the Scottish people will be paramount’.
Michael Knowles CEP Media Unit Tel: 01260 271139 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scilla Cullen Chairman. CEP. Tel: 01438 833155. email: email@example.com