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Labour would reform the Union ‘quickly’ and without a referendum after winning power says Starmer

29 Jan 2022 3 minutes Read
Keir Starmer delivering a speech

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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Andrew
Andrew
3 months ago

The current Labour party in Westminster would have trouble catching up with the Chrartist movement, let alone what’s happening in Wales.

hdavies15
hdavies15
3 months ago

Here we go again. Starmer’s Labour may be a shade less offensive than Boris’ Tories but they remain Unionist and London centric to the core. They still see more devolution as being “in their gift” – jolly effin’ decent of them ! Now Starmer might cobble together some sort of patchwork deal that might please Drakeford and his crew, might even please Adam and the sinecure fixated wing of his party but it would not fix the fundemental problems of the lopsided relationship between the 2 countries. This kind of thinking might have worked in 1997-99 when the devo project… Read more »

Gaynor
Gaynor
3 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Unfortunately we know from rheur track record thar Welsh Lab MPs don’t want a change. They have actively campaigned agsinst strengthening devolved powers

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
3 months ago

First and foremost should be a law enshrining that sovereignty lies with the people, not with the Westminster Parliament.

Paul
Paul
3 months ago

‘… he would sell as Prime Minister to “settle” …’ – What does this mean?

‘I’ve asked Gordon …’ – Gordon who??

Does anyone proofread this stuff?

As for Keir’s comments – you can’t “settle” anything without entrenching it in a constitution so that a subsequent Parliament can’t simply undo or undermine what has been settled. And you can’t realistically draw up a constitution quickly or without a referendum.

Dafydd
Dafydd
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Gordon = Gin?

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Agreed, any constitutional change enacted without a referendum would be regarded by the Tories as illegitimate and they would regard it as perfectly legitimate to undo any constitutional change enacted on that basis.

Also, even if Labour get in at Westminster with a majority (which is by no means certain), it would be with the god-awful first-past-the-post electoral system – in other words Labour would be doing this on the basis of around 35-40% of the vote. Hardly a mandate for lasting – and legitimate – constitutional change.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Frances McKie

Thanks for sharing

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago

Enough of this London control freakery…I’m with you Grayham…

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

😁🤪😁🤪😁🤪😁

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago

What the h*ll does that mean?

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

It was meant to be funny? Red to Graham who mysteriously has not posted yet?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago

Sorry…I’m not fluent in this modern signage? I don’t even know what they are called but I knew when I joined I would have to take a joke so forgive the h*ll…

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

No problem. Graham is a bit of a cult on the nation

Richard
Richard
3 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Grayham stays 💯 solid on his views and comments and is a national treasure ✅

Dafydd
Dafydd
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard

He just needs to start putting a capital W in fron of all references to Wales and Welsh.He seems to manage it for England so why not Wales?

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
3 months ago

Starmer: “May I tempt you with a re-heated Union sausage, folks?”

Last edited 3 months ago by I.Humphrys
Erisian
Erisian
3 months ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

It would be full of Botch-you-lism 😀

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
3 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Excellent!

Hywel
Hywel
3 months ago

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour is a throwback to golden era neoliberalism – with all the charm of a reanimated corpse.

Last edited 3 months ago by Hywel
Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Hywel

I think you are been to kind

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
3 months ago

Let’s hope for Indy ref 2 in 2023 like the SNP are promising, would make his utterances obsolete before the next election

Malcolmrj
Malcolmrj
3 months ago

We in Wales should get away from the union and thank God we are not on the union jack that is getting known around the world has the BUTCHER’S APRON just think what that means

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago
Reply to  Malcolmrj

As far as No 10 and all the other departments go the arrangement of the flag is no longer the union flag rather it is a Neo-Crusader red cross…

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

It is estimated that 45-50 million people have died in the shadow of that flag, it belongs in the museum of atrocities in the same display case as the swostika

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
3 months ago

Dont. Believe. Him.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Wise words

Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago

Labour will dump on Wales as soon as they’ve harvested our votes. We’ve heard all the promises before.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
3 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

……..starting with another ” Keir ” long ago.

Doctor Trousers
3 months ago

If Starmer, or anyone else in the westminster labour party, could be trusted on this, then they would’ve agreed a long time ago not to stand in the way of a second Scottish independence referendum. Just the fact that they even see it as their place to allow or disallow a referendum demonstrates that they absolutely cannot be trusted on this, and I include the Corbynist sect in that too. A party that truly believed in real home rule within the union would not seek to dictate on such matters. It would take the approach of demonstrating the benefits of… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Doctor Trousers
Erisian
Erisian
3 months ago

If Labour are lucky enough to form a majority government it won’t because of Starmer or his crew, it will be simply because they are not the Tory party.
Labour are as bereft of new ideas as the Tories.
If he thinks a bit if tweaking around the edges of devolution can ‘fix’ the ‘union’ he is sadly mistaken.
Mae’r llong honno wedi hwylio, oesoedd yn ôl.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

Once Labour are back in power their enthusiasm for further devolution will be gone, especially amongst Welsh Labour MPs

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

You don’t need to worry. The Starmer clique’s current stance on electoral reform means that they will not co-operate with the other parties to oust the Tories. So with a divided left the Tories will roll back in an carry on partying.

Notta Bott
Notta Bott
3 months ago

He is both wrong and right. He is right as an Englishman in WM, Brown too, that the only way to bring some people back onside towards the union is full powers to Wales minus taxes. Some will question that WM can just underfund like the Tories do, but on the face of it, it would bring some labour voters back onside and secure those seats in Wales, which lets face it they need to get back in WM. This must be why Mark Drakeford said Wales doesn’t need tax powers the other day. But he is wrong because he… Read more »

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
3 months ago
Reply to  Notta Bott

Why minus taxes?

Grayham Jones
3 months ago

It’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories English Labour and all Brexit party’s stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh

Dafydd
Dafydd
3 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Again I ask Grayham – why capitals for England and not for Wales?

Wynn
Wynn
3 months ago

If Starmer can do this without a referendum then why cannot Scotland and Wales leave the union if they wish without a referendum? This is a cobbled together piece of crap from Starmer. As an independence supporter in Scotland am I really going to think “Yeah, yeah this half-way house thing Gordon Brown has come up with will do me fine.”

Arwyn
Arwyn
3 months ago

Shambolic.

Marc
Marc
3 months ago

Too little too late. Nothing less than independence,

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
3 months ago

If he wants to save his union, the price is devo-max. If he won’t cough up, then it’s indy referendum time. That’s assuming UK Labour are ever in a position to offer maximum devolution any time this millennium.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
3 months ago

It’s too late for more powers to the devolved governments – the damage is done.You can not wipe away centuries of neglect and I doubt very much Westminster will change it’s colonialist ways. Independence is now the best option for Wales.

Last edited 3 months ago by Steve Duggan
Adrian Meagher
Adrian Meagher
3 months ago

Is Keir Starmer open-minded enough to make a manifesto commitment to make Dydd Dewi Sant a bank holiday in Wales? If not, I would be sceptical about his plans being radical in any way.

E Llwyd Morgan
E Llwyd Morgan
3 months ago

I would cut Drakeford some slack… he’s so fed up with Johnson and Gove that he is, albeit slowly, moving away from the unionist position. This is to be encouraged as he carries some weight with many. Public opinion matters.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
3 months ago

Any constitutional change enacted without a referendum would be regarded by the Tories as illegitimate and they would regard it as perfectly legitimate to undo any constitutional change enacted on that basis.

Also, even if Labour get in at Westminster with a majority (which is by no means certain), it would be with the god-awful first-past-the-post electoral system – in other words Labour would be doing this on the basis of around 35-40% of the vote. Hardly a mandate for lasting – and legitimate – constitutional change.

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