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Labour leadership frontrunners call for more autonomy for Wales

27 Jan 2020 2 minute read
Keir Starmer. Picture by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

Both Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey, the frontrunners in the Labour leadership contest, have called for a more autonomy for Wales within the United Kingdom.

Keir Starmer will today call for a fully federal UK to “repair the shattered trust in politics” will almost all powers devolved to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

He will say that the country needs a new political consensus to “put power, wealth and opportunity back into the hands of the people”.

“We need a new constitutional settlement: a large-scale devolution of power and resources. This will involve building a new long-term political and constitutional consensus. I believe that could best be built on the principle of federalism,” he will say.

“We need to end the monopoly of power in Westminster and spread it across every town, city, region and nation of the United Kingdom.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey also said on Sunday that the Welsh and Scottish parliaments needed to be as “autonomous and independent” as they could possibly be.

Speaking at a leadership hustings, she said: “When we devolved power to Scotland and Wales they were never meant to be a satellite government with Westminster being the king and them being servile under the bottom. They were meant to be on an equal footing. That’s what we need to push forward for.

“I’m always going to argue for the union. But I want our Scottish parliament and our Welsh parliament to feel as completely autonomous and independent as they possibly can whilst having that collaborative relationship with Westminster.

“That’s why we need to devolve real power – fiscal power, economic power and political power – to Wales and Scotland.”



Keir Starmer is currently the bookies’ favourite to win the Labour leadership, with Rebecca Long-Bailey in second place.

To make the ballot, the candidates need the support of three unions and affiliate groups representing 5% of the membership, or 33 local branches.

Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy have already secured the required support ahead of the 14 February deadline.

Rebecca Long-Bailey needs just one more union or affiliate to join them, having secured the support of Unite and BFAWU.

The new Labour leader and deputy leader will be announced on 4 April.

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j humphrys
j humphrys
4 years ago

Minimum requirements for Cymru;
– Jersey type status (would give us a happier style of government than a federal system.)
– free us to protect our language.
– and our population using selective immigration.
– 10 year residence before voting rights.
– locals front of queue for social housing
I do not insist this is better than Independence.

4 years ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Correct on all points, although selective immigration and settlement would remove the need for such a draconian residency qualification regarding voting rights (what are Jersey’s rules regarding the voting issue?). If Labour ever get in power again this milleneum, then these minimum requirements must be included in Starmer’s package. You could also add the adoption of Jersey’s two-price system for private housing — a local (i.e. affordable) price for local househunters, and a ‘market price’ (currently unaffordable for most locals) if the house remains unsold after local people have been given the option to buy. Watch the number of second-home… Read more »

Sian Caiach
Sian Caiach
4 years ago

For the next five years Labour has no realistic hope of regaining any power in Westminster so they should be very nice to Wales as their last” power base” in the UK. Ironically they now desire a great deal more autonomy for the Welsh Government – “Real Power”, which they can use in their little fiefdom to show up the UK Government. Interesting to see Labour joining us on the practical path to Independence. Although their motives for taking more powers from Westminster are surely more selfish and party orientated than the inspiration of most Nationalists, the result , empowering… Read more »

Walter Hunt
Walter Hunt
4 years ago

Tinkering. Only dissolution of the UK will end Westminster’s monopoly of power. Then the peoples of these islands can go forward in a genuine partnership of equals.

Jonathan Gammond
Jonathan Gammond
4 years ago

These leadership candidates appear to be talking about the constitution on the hoof. Surely all devolved administrations are in some way lesser than the institution from which power was devolved. Dont these people understand the rules of the game to which they have dedicated their careers? Political parties that have based their ideas of government on what supports their own party political interests have created the mess we and they are in at the moment.

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