The English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) process is designed to ensure that legislation that affects only England, or England and Wales, is approved by a majority of MPs representing English constituencies, or English and Welsh constituencies. It also applies to legislation introducing a tax measure that affects only England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which must be approved by a majority of MPs representing constituencies in those areas. EVEL may apply to a whole bill, specific clauses or schedules, Lords amendments, a statutory instrument, or specific Budget resolutions. Two tests must be met for EVEL to apply:
- The first test is that the bill (or clause or schedule of the bill), statutory instrument or Budget resolution relates exclusively to England (or England and Wales, or England, Wales and Northern Ireland).
- The second test is that it is “within devolved legislative competence”. In other words, that the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament (Senedd Cymru) or the Northern Ireland Assembly could legislate in their territories on the same matter.
The Speaker decides whether the tests are met and, if EVEL applies, issues a certificate. You can find the Speaker’s certificates on Bills before Parliament. You can also find notification that legislation is affected by EVEL on the Order Paper and on the selection list for amendments.
Legislation that’s been certified by the Speaker goes through all the usual procedures and all MPs can vote on it, but a majority of MPs representing constituencies in the relevant part(s) of the UK also have to approve it for it to become law.