I was relieved to wake up after the Scottish referendum to the news that the people had voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom – and that the deceitful campaign run by the Scottish Nationalists, built on bluster and bullying, had been defeated.
However, while the vote has answered the question over Scotland’s future, it has also exposed an unfairness at the heart of our political system.
For too long the voices of the English have been ignored; with more powers distributed out across the UK but denied to us here in England.
Now with even more powers set to be granted to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the people of England must be given the same basic democratic rights.
It is a fundamental issue of fairness: just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on tax, spending and welfare – as they already do on matters like health and education – so too England should be able to vote on these issues.
The alternative of Scottish MPs making the law in England seems inconceivable. Yet stunningly there are those who want to block a new constitutional arrangement that simply seeks to give people in England the exact same powers as those enjoyed by people in every other part of the United Kingdom.
This cannot be right. Having been selected to be a candidate as Gosport’s MP in an open primary, during which every local voter had a say, I am convinced that the best way to tackle the deep disconnect people feel with politics is to empower them to take more of the decisions on the issues that matter to them.
This is why I’ve been consistent in backing an In/Out referendum on Europe, and why I will be working hard in Westminster to provide a strong voice not just for Gosport, but for England.
If for any reason the process of English devolution is held up, I will make English votes for English laws a central part of my campaign for re-election.