Westminster

The Government – changing the game

Britain’s businesses will today be braced for massive change in the wake of the Scottish referendum “no” vote.

David Cameron is under enormous pressure to shake up the way the nation is governed for ever.

It is highly likely that the power of MPs in Westminster will change – and that will have a major changes in the way policy is made.

There will be significant effects on our economic environment.

Such upheaval will take years to deliver and bed in.

There will be enormous and protracted political battles over who gets what power as the UK begins to devolve further.

Mr Cameron’s Tory backbenchers – and a big number of his own ministers – want more powers for English MPs.

The PM – facing the loss of Clacton to UKIP – will deliver on this.

It will mean Scottish MPs unable to vote directly on matters which affect English constituencies.

Take Scots MPs out of the Westminster lobbies and Labour suddenly have drastically reduced firepower.

What a prize for a Conservative Party leader.

This is the “new and fair settlement” the Premier talked about from Downing St this morning.

“Now the millions of voices of England must be heard”, he said.

The clock is ticking.

A Cabinet committee is already appointed to thrash out the details.

Cities and regions will get more powers.

This means local politicians – not MPs – will suddenly be handed sweeping new authority to make decisions which will affect industry.

Planning, public health decisions, who can set up in business where, what local business rates might be.

All of these micro but enormously important matters will be decided by people we currently know little or nothing about.

For the General Election today’s constitutional revolution will have enormous impact.

Ed Miliband leads his Labour troops to Manchester this weekend.

There he hopes to put the NHS at the heart of his campaign.

He is mighty relieved at the “no” vote. A “yes” would have consigned his party to the history books.

But his party in Scotland is shot to pieces – saved only at the death by the English Labour Party decamping north of the border in the last fortnight.

It needs root and branch change but there’s no money or energy spare to tackle this nightmare.

So the SNP will continue to dominate Scotland.

And this will only give Alex Salmond’s successor the drive to push for another referendum.

Mr Cameron faces a tough run-in to Christmas.

He must use this moment to turn a negative into a positive with his own party.

He must remind his MPs this referendum shows him to have been a winner.

That he took a bold decision in 2011 and it has paid off.

And that – and this is the thing his Parliamentary party craves – he is listening to their wishes.