Labour would reform the Union ‘quickly’ and without a referendum after winning power says Starmer
Keir Starmer has said that Labour would move to reform the Union “quickly” and without a referendum after winning power to ensure that it does not break apart.
The UK Labour leader said that while holding the Union together was a “red line” he was “open-minded” about the possibilities, including more powers for the semi-autonomous nations.
Speaking to the Daily Record he said that he would sell as Prime Minister to “settle” the issue of Scotland’s place in the union in particular, without a referendum.
“I’ve asked Gordon to look at the whole question of how we make the positive case for the Union, and that’s across the whole of the United Kingdom,” he said.
“Obviously there is a red line, which is we want to hold the Union together. That’s very important. But otherwise, I am open-minded as to how we make the positive case for the Union.”
He was then asked whether he saw the extra devolved powers as a priority for a Labour Government.
“Yes, I do. I think it’s very important to settle that issue,” he said. “We need change without a referendum, but we need change quickly.”
‘Job to be done’
His comments come after Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said that the Labour Party in Westminster “has not caught up with the devolution”.
The First Minister made the comments during a webinar hosted by Labour in Communications, in which he called for internal party reforms.
He told the audience at the event, organised by a network of Labour-backing public affairs experts, that there are decisions being made by the party’s ruling body, the NEC, that “patently ought to be made by the Welsh executive”.
He was asked whether his party is properly supporting devolved leaders and involving them in the internal structures of the party.
He said: “I think there are a number of different strands in an answer. One is that the Labour Party itself has not caught up with the devolution that they advocate for government across the United Kingdom.
“There are still decisions made at the NEC [national executive committee] that patently ought to be made by the Welsh executive, because those decisions only apply to people who live and are members of the party here in Wales.
“So, inside the party, there is a job of work to be done in bringing up to date the way that we do our business, to reflect the presence of metro mayors and the presence of devolution.”
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