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Gordon Brown report on future of devolution criticised as a ‘rush job’ with ‘mistakes in it’

12 Dec 2022 3 minute read
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown during a Labour Party press conference. Picture by PA Wire / Danny Lawson.

Gordon Brown’s report on the constitutional future of the UK – including what new powers Wales will have under a Labour UK Government – has been criticised as a “rush job” by an expert in constitutional law.

The report only included two pages directly addressing Wales and includes some basic errors such as calling the Welsh Government the Welsh Assembly Government, even though it changed its title over a decade ago.

Aileen McHarg, a Professor of Public Law at Durham University, described the report as “surprisingly vague” and said that key details had not been “properly fleshed out”.

“These are important things but there is a lack of detail on exactly what they mean and that’s problematic,” she told the Sunday National.

“In general it looks like a rushed job. There are mistakes in it. There’s a part on the reform of intergovernmental relations when it talks about joint ministerial committees but they were actually replaced earlier this year.

“Did they not notice? It was just a bit strange. There were other things like that such as saying the Sewel Convention breakdown begun ­under Boris Johnson. Well no, it began under Theresa May.

“There were a few points like that where you think this could have done with a better proofread before it was published.”

‘First steps’

The report was welcomed by First Minister Mark Drakeford however who said that the promise to devolve some powers over justice opened the door to more in the future.

Speaking in the Senedd on Tuesday, he said: “I powerfully welcome the Gordon Brown report, and I powerfully welcome its very specific commitment that the devolution of criminal justice will begin with the next Labour Government,” he said.

“And let’s be clear, Llywydd: only a Labour Government will ever be able to set off on that journey and complete it. The Tories won’t do it, Plaid Cymru can’t do it, only Labour.

“Only Labour is able to deliver that, and the Brown report commits the party to begin that journey. I think it will be a fantastic thing if, in that next term, youth justice and the probation service are both transferred to this Senedd. That will be the start of that process.

“Of course, we want that process to go further. It’s the policy of the Welsh Government that the whole of the criminal justice system should become the responsibility of this Senedd. But every journey begins with the first step, and those steps are very clearly endorsed in the Gordon Brown report.4

“If you were serious about devolution, Llywydd, if you were serious about the powers of this place, you would welcome that first step.”


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Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
1 month ago

Sounds like a bit of a copy and paste job from other documents Gordon. Don’t worry we’ve all done it before, but not for the future of Wales we haven’t. Please get this meddling British Labour has-been politician out of Wales!

Last edited 1 month ago by Cwm Rhondda
Frank
Frank
1 month ago

This man bankrupted the UK. Why would anyone in their right mind take advice from him?

The original mark
The original mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

The uk can’t be bankrupt, it literally prints/creates its own money

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

Sorry Frank, but you have got hold of Tory propaganda there. Thatcher’s deregulation of the City is what caused the banking crash because bankers are very happy to do rash things with other people’s money if not carefully regulated. Gordon Brown stepped in and rescued the City from serious damage using ‘Quantitative Easing’, i.e. printing money. The joke note left by one of Brown’s team that “There’s no money left” was picked up by the Tories as a gift to support their policy of reducing the size of the state. Thus they claimed that Labour had crashed the economy and… Read more »

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
1 month ago

Why does Wales have to be singled our by having to have a first step in the devolution of the justice system (including the police)? There was no first step when it was devolved to Scotland (or Northern Ireland) – it was all devolved at the same time. In welcoming Gordon Brown’s first step, Mark Drakeford once again shamefully accepts that it’s OK for Wales to be second best. Standardising devolution for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is clearly the only sernsible and equitable way to proceed.

Riki
Riki
1 month ago
Reply to  Gwyn Hopkins

Because we are the Sole heirs to Britain! Who needs to be remade in Englands own image. At least that is what the English believe. If we don’t agree to this Cultural genocide, we will be fully absorbed without a whimper from the rest of the world. Really does make you think how the world can be in arms over one countries survival, but not another.

The original mark
The original mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Gwyn Hopkins

Ask Carwyn, he had the option of having justice devolved to Wales but turned it down.

Wynn
Wynn
1 month ago

I’m surprised by Drakeford.- the whole plan is designed to make Scotland (I’m a Scot) and Wales comparable to English regions. Independence is the only future for both our countries.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 month ago

There is nothing in the report that changes my mind, Cymru is barely mentioned. The best way forward is independence.

Radian Prys
1 month ago

Rowan Williams is far more knowledgeable than Gordon the man who gave away Britain’s gold.

Dr Keith W Darlington
Dr Keith W Darlington
1 month ago

Of course, it was a rushed job. Its primary purpose was to distract Labour members away from their wish to get electoral reform. Starmer is against changing the First Past the Post system because he thinks this dysfunctional duopoly system will benefit him in winning more seats. His party, however, voted massively for change to FPTP by over 85%. These Labour members probably know, especially after the New Labour years, that real political change is not going to come by having Starmer in number 10. After all, Starmer supports the Tory Brexit, refuses to consider above-inflation pay rises even for… Read more »

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago

Exactly. He just wants a Labour Government of the UK and that’s that. Same with Drakeford, same with Carolyn Harris. Always party first with these people. Seeing the reaction of the Labour Party bigwigs to this utter tripe has thoroughly turned me against them. As I’ve said before, I’ve a lot in common with their membership. Any self-respecting member of Welsh Labour should cancel their membership and join Plaid Cymru now. There is no future for Wales with Labour.

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

I should have mentioned that whilst it looks like a rush job, they spent months on this report! It really is a crock of …

Riki
Riki
1 month ago

Devolution = Scraps that the English feel guilty or pressured into giving us! Scraps that we should already have by the universal right of self determination. Haven’t people noticed how only one of the “Celtic” peoples have been granted an internationally recognised and fully independent country? Asturias,, Brittany, Cornwall, Scotland, Wales are all kept within other political structures mainly controlled by others! Mainly England, France and Spain. I wonder why that is? We can clearly see through MD lies every time he opens his Anti-Welsh mouth

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

A rushed job to be sure !

He rushed right past Wales ……

Dark Mrakeford
Dark Mrakeford
1 month ago

This isn’t about winning Welsh voters over, it’s about winning the English voters over for greater autonomy in other major English cities. Treating Wales and Scotland like regions not voluntary partners in a union.

The original mark
The original mark
1 month ago

I know I keep saying it but, every time the uk is talking about independence it’s talking about Scotland breaking away from England, even the reunification of Ireland takes priority over Welsh independence, Wales only appears in any discussion as an after thought, that’s how unimportant we are seen

Wynn
Wynn
1 month ago

You’re dead right, but I think they really are starting to worry. There’s a terrific energy in the independence movement in Cymru.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
1 month ago

There is no future for a UK. Concentrate on finding a way for us to survive the collapse.
Learning Mandarin may help. I am Not joking!

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