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Andy Burnham says he understands case for independence from Westminster better after being Manchester Mayor

23 Aug 2022 3 minute read
The Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham. Picture by Nigel French / PA Wire

Andy Burnham has said that he has developed a new understanding of the devolved nation’s desire for more autonomy from Westminster after being the Mayor of Manchester for five years.

The former Secretary of State for Health said that he now believed that “this country, the UK needs to be completely rewired, there needs to be a redistribution of power”.

He added that he now also had “more of a perspective on the Scottish independence debate” than he had in his previous role as an MP.

Mr Burnham said he was still opposed to Scottish independence but that the country should have “as close as you can get” to home rule.

He was interviewed by former Labour MSP Neil Findlay at an Edinburgh Fringe event on Tuesday.

He said: “I understand how, for Scotland, just saying: ‘OK, the status quo but with a bit more devolution’ is not an answer if there’s to be another referendum.

“You have to have a much better alternative next time and that for me is a completely rewired Westminster where I would say a proportional representation for the Commons, a Senate of the nations and regions elected to replace the House of Lords.

“Much more devolution out of the whole thing, as close as you can get to home rule for Scotland I would say.”


Within Scotland, he said more power should be devolved from Edinburgh to local communities.

Setting out his constitutional views further, he said: “I never want to see a border across the top of the north of England and Scotland in my lifetime.”

The Greater Manchester mayor later discussed his dispute with the Scottish Government over the Covid travel ban imposed in the summer of 2021.

He said this was done without any notification or discussion with his office, adding: “What message do people in the Scottish Government think that sent to people in our place? Basically, ‘you’re not welcome’.”

He continued: “We expect the Tories to treat the north of England with contempt, but that was the Scottish National Party treating the north of England with contempt.”

Saying he was meeting with Glasgow council’s leader Susan Aitken on Wednesday, he added: “I asked to meet the First Minister while I was here and I haven’t had a reply.”

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1 year ago

Mr Milktoast has spoken.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 year ago

We could have a confederalist system of self-ruling states and regions within the British Isles, but it seems the UK regime doesn’t want to go down that road. Andy Burnham, you have seen how centralised and how monopolised wealth and power is in the UK, I cannot see it changing unless the English also agree to the change. When Mike Drakeford and Welsh Labour tries to negotiate with the UK government they rarely return with a satisfactory outcome as the UK always enforces their will through a majority at Westminster (which are English MPs). And unlike the SNP in Scotland… Read more »

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 year ago

He “understands” but still feels that Scotland should be permitted their Independence. Still thinks Indeoendence is England’s gift to give.
He understands EFF ALL.
And this is why humbly and meekly looking to democratically vote for Independence WILL NEVER WORK. We need firebrands, orators, action. Not just peaceful marches with flags. We need to wake the somnambulant 70%.
England is not “benevolent” to the other nations. They won’t “let us go” until we make it too unpleasant to keep us.

George Bodley
George Bodley
1 year ago

Spot on independence must be sought by all means available

Doctor Trousers
1 year ago

I’m actually more or less in agreement with the radical federalist faction within the Labour party in terms of how I would like to see Britain end up. They’re just utterly wrong about how we get there. We have to dissolve the union first, then negotiate a new federation, with the full democratic consent of every constituent nation, and no special powers reserved by Westminster. I believe a big part of the reason Labour won’t go down that route comes down to the disgusting arsenal of weapons of mass destruction kept at Faslane naval base in Scotland. They don’t want… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Doctor Trousers
1 year ago

There is no “radical federalist” faction in the Labour party outside of Wales and Scotland.

Proposals on constitutional reform within the UK Labour party have, reportedly, gone down like a lead balloon.

The UK Labour party won’t even allow the Scottish Labour party to change its’ logo to a more pro-Scottish one, and they certainly do not want to give more powers to Wales or Scotland.

How is “Welsh Labour” going to convince them to do so in the (unlikely) event of a UK Labour win in 2024??

Last edited 1 year ago by SundanceKid
Cymro Cymraeg
Cymro Cymraeg
1 year ago

It is exactly 100 years since Kier Hardy took exactly the same position!………Keep up Andy!

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