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‘Devolution is unfair on England’, says former Welsh Secretary

25 Jan 2021 2 minutes Read
John Redwood MP by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0)

A former Welsh Secretary has lashed out at devolution, claiming it is “unfair on England”.

John Redwood, the MP for Wokingham in Berkshire, was responding to claims by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown that the UK is at risk of becoming a “failed state” and that it needs “fundamental reform”.

Mr Brown has been tasked by Labour’s Westminster leader Keir Starmer with looking at how more power could be devolved to the nations and regions of the UK. It is understood that he recently compared plans to save the union with Tory Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove.

But according to Mr Redwood, devolution was “lop-sided” and his “latest suggestions would make things worse.”

‘Unfair’ 

He said: “Gordon Brown’s lop sided devolution policy fuelled Scottish nationalism and is unfair on England. His latest suggestions would make things worse.

“No need for another vote in Scotland on staying in the UK. So soon after the last  one.  The SNP said  once  in  a  generation. Set out the advantages of the UK’s single market, currency and defence Unions. Spare us Project Fear again.”

Mr Brown, who believes Brexit and the Covid-19 crisis have weakened the UK, wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “I believe the choice is now between a reformed state and a failed state,”

“It is indeed Scotland where dissatisfaction is so deep that it threatens the end of the United Kingdom.

“‘Whoever in London thought of that?’ is a common refrain, reflecting the frustration of people in outlying communities who feel they are the forgotten men and women, virtually invisible to Whitehall.

“Battered by Covid-19, threatened by nationalism, and uncertain what the promise of a post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’ adds up to, the United Kingdom must urgently rediscover what holds it together and sort out what is driving us apart.”

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