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Andy Burnham calls for ‘maximum devolution’ for Wales if Labour win the next General Election

25 Sep 2022 3 minute read
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham. Picture by Martin Rickett / PA Wire

Andy Burnham has called for “maximum devolution” for Wales if Labour win the next General Election.

At a fringe event on the opening day of the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, the Greater Manchester mayor said the party is “odds on now to be the next government” within a year to two.

He said that Labour should “put maximum devolution out to Wales, at national level, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but beneath that you devolve down as well”.

It was part of a plan to “rewire” Britain and bring in “massive” political reforms, such as a proportional electoral system and a “senate of the nations and regions” to replace the House of Lords.

Mr Burnham praised Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for putting himself in a position where “he can lead us to victory”, but insisted the party needs to go “that step further”.

“I don’t think Labour’s oppositions traditionally have won by default.

“I think Labour oppositions have won when they have gone that extra thing and then connected with the country with regard to the policies that they would bring in.

“And the Government have left us a massive amount of space here”, he told the fringe event.

‘Minority’

On whether he would support reforming the voting system, Mr Burnham said “yes” as it is “just the right thing to do” and indicated he would go even further, replacing the House of Lords with a body representing the region and “maximum devolution”.

He described Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s budget last week as the “most graphic demonstration you could possibly imagine of how our current political system can be manipulated in the best interest of a tiny, tiny minority of people”.

He went on: “For me, if you are to get more regional equality, and just more fairness, if you are to get more durable social reform, I think you’ve got to rewire Britain completely.

“And to me that means a proportional system for the Commons, you abolish the elected Lords and replace it with an elected senate of the nations and regions, so every part of this country has an equal voice in Parliament, which it doesn’t currently have.

“And then you put maximum devolution out to Wales, at national level, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but beneath that you devolve down as well.”

‘Not ruling it out’

During the event, which lasted for around an hour, Mr Burnham also said nationalising railways is “a no brainer”, as “public control of essentials means you can make those essentials more affordable for people who need them to be affordable”.

He suggested the party should propose rolling out nationally the £2 cap on bus fares and called for “radical” housing policies.

He went on: “I would like to see safe, affordable, decent housing as a human right in UK law and then a massive expansion of building social housing. Zero carbon.”

Mr Burnham was also asked whether he would seek selection for the West Lancashire by-election.

He reiterated his promise to serve a full second term as Greater Manchester mayor to 2024 but did not rule out a return to Westminster.

He said: “You know, one day I can see that I may go back, but it’s obviously… I don’t know if the circumstances were right. So, I’m definitely not ruling it out. But I honestly do love what I’m doing.”


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Arwyn
Arwyn
2 months ago

Aye, it’s called “independence” Andy.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

…took the words.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 months ago

I think it’s a bit too late Andy. Your suggestion although admirable is doomed to failure. You will not be listened to by Thatcherite Keir Starmer. At present we have the Labour party borrowing UKIP & Brexit party clothing, spouting centrist rhetoric, whilst draping itself an the Union Flag singing God Save The King at their party conference which goes against everything they once stood for. In Wales we’ve had 23 long years fighting for more powers for our Senedd, this thanks to New Labour who in 1997 deliberately watered down our devolution settlement to appease Welsh Unionists like Neil… Read more »

Windy
Windy
2 months ago

I have a dream!!!

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 months ago

Nice gesture but it’s just not going to happen!

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
2 months ago

Ddim diogn da, Andreas bach. Annibynniaeth lwyr!

Nia James
Nia James
2 months ago

The Labour Party is full of these deceivers. Gordon Brown’s pledge to Scotland stands out. Expect more of this subsidiarity drivel in the run up to the General Election. Wales has to chart its own course without fickle words from England’s regional politicians.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Nia James

Began with Keir Hardie, and never ends.

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

Don’t be fooled again Cymru. Any further devolution to the 3 country’s, though an admirable thought, will be just like the situation we have today, where an incoming Tory party can sweep all aside, eg using the internal market bill, and the levelling up agenda, this is because we do not have a written constitution, that would make devolution irreversible. As things stand in the UK, the party in power can change anything, at any time, without consultation, remember the Tory mantra, “Westminster is the sovereign power within the UK”. I do not see a new Labour Gov being allowed… Read more »

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
2 months ago

Andy Burnham is a good man and a friend to Wales. His ideas are to be lauded and I wish he had won the Labour leadership election, when he ran, instead of Jeremy Corbyn. He would have been a great partner with the Welsh Government. I visit Manchester regularly and I have seen the positive moves he has made there. However, sadly, I am not filled with any confidence from the rest of the UK Labour party. In my opinion, their recent conference has produced nothing to inspire us and Keir Starmer’s refusal to make it a policy to change… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Mr Williams
Rob
Rob
2 months ago

As much as I want the Tories gone, I fear that once Labour return to power they will lose their enthusiasm for further devolution. Opposition will no doubt come from the likes of Stephen Kinnock and Chris Bryant & other Labour MPs only concerned for their relevance.
They will blame all of Wales problems on devolution, conveniently ignoring that it is THEIR PARTY that is in government in Wales. So in some ways to cut in Welsh MPs to 32 could actually be a good thing.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

They will. More devolution is a vote loser in England, where Labour need to win the majority of their seats.

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