Do we need a constitutional convention for the UK?: response

25 November 2013

The Chair of the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, Graham Allen MP, welcomed the Government’s response to the Committee’s report on the need for constitutional convention for the UK to consider the future of the Union as a whole, rather than piecemeal through a focus on specific issues or nations. 

He said

"The future of the UK rests on two principles: Union and Devolution. My view is that local councils will be the vehicle for English devolution and with recent progress in Wales, and the debate on the future of Scotland, the need for a principled coherent settlement will become an ever-more pressing issue for inclusion in manifestos. Our report will become ever more pertinent and we hope a source of inspiration in coming months.

The Government states that it does not believe that there is a compelling case for establishing a constitutional convention at this time, but I am pleased that it welcomes the Committee’s report as part of the ‘broad-ranging conversation that is taking place on the UK's constitutional arrangements’.  The Committee’s original report stated that devolution should be regarded as a principle rather than a political expedient. I was glad to see that the Government acknowledges in its response that ‘the devolution of power from Westminster is an important principle’. 

The Government’s response is also positive about devolving power to a local level in England, stating ‘The Government is committed to giving more power to leaders in cities, towns and counties to initiate policies and retain greater control of financial resource.’  The Government agrees that there is more to be done."

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