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‘The centre hasn’t delivered’ – Brown to reveal plan to reform devolution and Westminster

05 Dec 2022 3 minute read
Former prime minister Gordon Brown. Picture by Andrew Milligan / PA

Labour leader Keir Starmer will say that “the centre hasn’t delivered” as he launches a new plan by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to reform devolution and Westminster.

Many of the big changes trailed this morning however concerned Scotland, suggesting that Labour’s policy on Welsh devolution may wait on the suggestions of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales set up by the Welsh Government.

Proposed changes that will impact Wales include beefing up the Sewell Convention which stops the UK Government from meddling in devolved areas. This was broken when the three devolved nations refused consent for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

Gordon Brown pledged that Labour would abolish the existing House of Lords and replace it with a new democratic upper chamber – which would have a key role in maintaining the devolution settlement by protecting the Sewell Convention.

Other reforms could see a new Council of the United Kingdom, to be chaired by the Prime Minister, which would replace the existing Joint Ministerial Committee system as a way of bringing together ministers from the UK’s devolved administrations.

Overall, Gordon Brown said the 40 recommendations, which are outlined in the 155 page report, represented “a new way forward for Scotland”.

The former Labour leader, who was tasked by Sir Keir Starmer with carrying out the review, added: “We are setting out a programme of major constitutional, social, economic and political reform that will be implemented by a Labour government.

“That is the answer to people’s desire for change.”

‘Remote’

Keir Starmer will hail the proposals for political and economic devolution as “the biggest ever transfer of power from Westminster to the British people”.

However, he earlier hinted that some of the measures – including a new democratic assembly of nations and regions to replace the Lords – may have to wait for a second term Labour government.

Backing the plan, Sir Keir will tell the launch event: “The centre hasn’t delivered.

“We have an unbalanced economy which makes too little use of the talents of too few people in too few places.

“We will have higher standards in public life, a wider spread of power and opportunity, and better economic growth that benefits everyone, wherever they are.

“By setting our sights higher, wider, better, we can build a better future together.”

He will say the report reflects the demand from people across the country for a “new approach”.

“During the Brexit referendum I argued for Remain, but I couldn’t disagree with the basic case that many Leave voters made to me,” he will say.

“They wanted democratic control over their lives so they could provide opportunities for the next generation, build communities they felt proud of, and public services they could rely on.

“And I know that in the Scottish referendum in 2014, many of those who voted Yes did so for similar reasons. The same frustration at a Westminster system that seems remote.”


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Linda Balfe
Linda Balfe
2 months ago

Starmer needs to start with his own party if he wants to widen democracy and spread power more evenly.
Strong, hardworking, local Labour Party who have put their names forward as potential parliamentary candidates are being blocked by the party leadership from getting onto the long list.

Linda Balfe
Linda Balfe
2 months ago

Starmer needs to start with his own party if he wants to widen democracy and spread power more evenly.
Strong, hardworking, local Labour Party members who have put their names forward as potential parliamentary candidates are being blocked by the party leadership from getting onto the long list.

Christine Jones
Christine Jones
2 months ago

We have to trust Gordon, and have faith in Keir. They are Wales’ only hope.

Doctor Trousers
2 months ago

really hoping you’re taking the p**s here…..

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago

Well the report’s been published christine and im afraid it offers wales practically nothing. PS. plaid cymru are our only hope

Doctor Trousers
2 months ago

A party that could be trusted to deliver on constitutional reform would be one that had spent the last decade demonstrating it in practice by working with the SNP against the tories. Labour won’t even commit to reforming FPTP in favour of a more democratic and representative voting system, so how can anyone believe that they will deliver on radical constitutional reform? The only reform they’ll deliver will be the kind that does not threaten the status quo of single party majorities, even if it means decades at a time of tory rule. Anything to avoid agreeing to an independence… Read more »

George Atkinson
George Atkinson
2 months ago

After the lies he told people in his own country in 2014, I seriously doubt anything that gobsh1te has to say.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
2 months ago

How many times have I said this?????
This is the same Gordon Brown who promised untold riches for Scotland if the people voted No.
This is the same Gordon Brown who didn’t have the courage to then defend his Westminster seat.
Beware! Tigers and spots………

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
2 months ago

Gordon Brown is only interested in the survival of his beloved Labour party. Keir Starmer is an archetypal fence sitter trying to please everyone. For those who see Labour as the saviours of Wales think again please. In the south Wales Valleys Labour party corruption over many years has suffocated development in the Valleys. The Labour party are happy with the status quo, the communities remain deprived and the Labour councillors get re-elected.

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

The people of Cymru need to remember, that this man was part of the team that gave us devo, and with it, less powers than Scotland N Ireland London and Manchester, on policing, justice airport duty, not to mention the crown estates and other things. And if our consultation comes down on the side of Indy, it will be ignored and we maybe offered a bank holiday on March 1st, like a dog being given the scraps.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
2 months ago

Whatever is decided now – it is too late. Besides, Westminster can not be trusted to reform, there is too much money tied up in the present system. I think the future for the British Isles will consist of closely working independent countries, probably part of a bigger European entity too.

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