Piecemeal devolution won't cut it anymore


The new powers that will be delivered to Scotland through the new Scotland Bill are very welcome.

We also need to secure the full powers for Wales set out in the Silk Commission. But piecemeal devolution cannot deliver the stability we need.

Pitting one part of the UK against another is no way to secure the future of our country.

We need to abolish the make do and mend approach to reform.

Progress towards a sustainable devolution settlement that works right across the UK has been slow. It is also long past time to grasp the nettle and reform the House of Lords to give it a solid democratic foundation.

This is why I have brought forward a bill at Parliament that would create a 12 month constitutional convention that would consider:

  • devolution of legislative and fiscal competence to and within Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland;
  • devolution of legislative and fiscal competence to local authorities within the United Kingdom;
  • reform of the electoral system;
  • reform of the House of Lords.

The Convention would include representatives from political parties and local authorities, but half of the membership would be drawn from outside of politics.

My bill had its committee stage debate in the House of Lords today. There is growing consensus that a citizen-led convention is now the only means whereby we can secure a long term, stable relationship between the nations of the UK. It's time now for the SNP to get off the fence and join the Lib Dems, Labour, Plaid, Greens and civic groups across the UK who are supporting my bill.

It would be a tragedy if the SNP set their face against the democracy campaigners and citizen groups who are part of this momentum.

I would welcome their support very warmly but so far they have been silent on whether they will work with me to get this bill through. Soon enough the bill will come to the House of Commons for debate. I hope the SNP will now get on board.

If you like the sound of Jeremy's Consitutional Convention, why not back his bill here: scotlibdems.org.uk/convention


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