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Law to stop Westminster meddling in Wales and Scotland would save the union claim Lib Dems

02 Mar 2021 2 minute read
Picture by Luke Stackpoole.

Westminster should pass a law to stop itself being able to meddle in Wales and Scotland’s autonomous affairs in order to save the union, the Liberal Democrats have suggested.

They said Westminster should renounce the ability to unilaterally change the powers of the devolved parliaments or to pass laws in their areas of devolved responsibility.

Willie Rennie, the party’s Scottish leader, has asked former leader Lord Menzies Campbell to re-examine the party’s approach to reform and give the nations and regions of the UK a bigger say on the future of the Union.

Rennie said: “We need a new future for the United Kingdom where we reform to create a federal country. Power is best exercised when it is shared effectively.

“As we recover from the pandemic, a federal UK would allow us to chart a course together that allows us to reflect our common interests and our more local needs.

“During the pandemic we have seen some of the benefits of devolution and joint decision making through the four nations approach.”

‘Minimum steps’

Willie Rennie added that the leaders of the different nations and regions should be brought together when necessary to enabled joint decisions.

“I believe that the United Kingdom will only be secure when its constitution clearly recognises the shared sovereignty of all four constituent parts of the Union and finds a way to ensure that the UK Government, the governments of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the various parts of England can work together with rather than grandstanding for political advantage,” he said.

The blueprint drawn up by the party includes setting up a United Kingdom council of ministers which would bring together the devolved governments and administrations with elected mayors and regional leaders across England.

Menzies Campbell said: “This interim report asks what are the minimum steps that must be taken to ensure a stable, fair and cooperative future for Scotland in the United Kingdom.

“We welcome the thoughts and ideas of those in our party and outside it who understand the need for action and we plan to publish our final report in advance of the Scottish parliamentary elections in May.”

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