David Cameron gives a press conference following the results of the Scottish referendum on independence outside 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Cameron promises English votes for English laws - what does Labour do now?

Having opposed "two classes of MPs", Miliband faces a huge political dilemma. 

Downing Street was briefing last night that David Cameron would move immediately to address "the English question" following a No vote in the Scottish referendum - and he did just that in his statement outside N0.10 a few minutes ago. The PM suggested that he would end the right of non-English MPs to vote on English laws that do not affect their constituents. He said:

I have long believed that a crucial part missing from this national discussion is England. We have heard the voice of Scotland and now the millions of voices of England must also be heard. The question of English votes for English laws - the so-called West Lothian question - requires a decisive answer.

So just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so, too, England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland should be able to vote on these issues. And all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland. I hope that this will take place on a cross-party basis, I've asked William Hague to draw up these plans. We will set up a cabinet commitee right away and proposals will also be ready to the same timetable. I hope the Labour Party and other parties will contribute. 

The move is designed to respond to a genuine constitutional anomaly (one that will only intensify with further devolution to Scotland and Wales), but it is also intensely political. The Tories are keenly aware that denying Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs the right to vote on English-only legislation could leave future Labour governments in office but not in power, handing the Conservatives an effective veto. Significantly, Cameron suggested that the reforms would not only apply to areas long devolved to Holyrood such as health and education, but also to tax, welfare and spending. Were the changes to be applied in their purest form, a future Labour Chancellor could be left unable to pass his or her Budget. 

For these reasons, among others, Labour has long opposed having "two classes of MPs" (although some would argue that there are already two classes). Ed Miliband has promised radical devolution to city authorities, transferring at least £30bn of funding downwards from Whitehall, but this does nothing to answer the West Lothian question (first posed by Labour MP Tam Dalyell). Whether and how to do so is the question he must now confront. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Brexit is teaching the UK that it needs immigrants

Finally forced to confront the economic consequences of low migration, ministers are abandoning the easy rhetoric of the past.

Why did the UK vote to leave the EU? For conservatives, Brexit was about regaining parliamentary sovereignty. For socialists it was about escaping the single market. For still more it was a chance to punish David Cameron and George Osborne. But supreme among the causes was the desire to reduce immigration.

For years, as the government repeatedly missed its target to limit net migration to "tens of thousands", the EU provided a convenient scapegoat. The free movement of people allegedly made this ambition unachievable (even as non-European migration oustripped that from the continent). When Cameron, the author of the target, was later forced to argue that the price of leaving the EU was nevertheless too great, voters were unsurprisingly unconvinced.

But though the Leave campaign vowed to gain "control" of immigration, it was careful never to set a formal target. As many of its senior figures knew, reducing net migration to "tens of thousands" a year would come at an economic price (immigrants make a net fiscal contribution of £7bn a year). An OBR study found that with zero net migration, public sector debt would rise to 145 per cent of GDP by 2062-63, while with high net migration it would fall to 73 per cent. For the UK, with its poor productivity and sub-par infrastructure, immigration has long been an economic boon. 

When Theresa May became Prime Minister, some cabinet members hoped that she would abolish the net migration target in a "Nixon goes to China" moment. But rather than retreating, the former Home Secretary doubled down. She regards the target as essential on both political and policy grounds (and has rejected pleas to exempt foreign students). But though the same goal endures, Brexit is forcing ministers to reveal a rarely spoken truth: Britain needs immigrants.

Those who boasted during the referendum of their desire to reduce the number of newcomers have been forced to qualify their remarks. On last night's Question Time, Brexit secretary David Davis conceded that immigration woud not invariably fall following Brexit. "I cannot imagine that the policy will be anything other than that which is in the national interest, which means that from time to time we’ll need more, from time to time we’ll need less migrants."

Though Davis insisted that the government would eventually meet its "tens of thousands" target (while sounding rather unconvinced), he added: "The simple truth is that we have to manage this problem. You’ve got industry dependent on migrants. You’ve got social welfare, the national health service. You have to make sure they continue to work."

As my colleague Julia Rampen has charted, Davis's colleagues have inserted similar caveats. Andrea Leadsom, the Environment Secretary, who warned during the referendum that EU immigration could “overwhelm” Britain, has told farmers that she recognises “how important seasonal labour from the EU is to the everyday running of your businesses”. Others, such as the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, and the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, have issued similar guarantees to employers. Brexit is fuelling immigration nimbyism: “Fewer migrants, please, but not in my sector.”

The UK’s vote to leave the EU – and May’s decision to pursue a "hard Brexit" – has deprived the government of a convenient alibi for high immigration. Finally forced to confront the economic consequences of low migration, ministers are abandoning the easy rhetoric of the past. Brexit may have been caused by the supposed costs of immigration but it is becoming an education in its benefits.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.