Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Scotland and Wales Wendy Chamberlain MP will today (Saturday 26th September) address the party’s virtual conference and call for a truly federal United Kingdom and say “the old-fashioned, out-of-touch Westminster must concede it does not have all the answers”.
The motion before conference would commit Liberal Democrats in all parliaments and at all levels of government in the UK, to campaign for this.
The process would start with a “declaration of a federal United Kingdom”. A citizens’ assembly would then help draw up a written constitution.
The Scottish Parliament, Welsh Senedd and Northern Ireland Assembly would have their powers protected and could not be over-ruled by the Westminster government.
The governments would be required to co-operate to tackle big issues that affect the whole UK such as child poverty or the climate emergency.
Westminster would be reformed with a proportional voting system to make sure a government with less than half of the votes cannot impose its policies right across the UK. The House of Lords would be reformed to reflect the voices of the nations and regions.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Wendy Chamberlain said:
“The idea to reform the UK to a federal future is a constructive third way between a centralising Westminster government and a dash for independence from the nationalists.
“It replaces division with co-operation.
“The outrage in all corners of the UK at the proposed centralised Internal Market Bill is a clear example where power needs to be shared across the governments and not horded at Westminster.
“The Liberal Democrats believe wholeheartedly in supporting a reformed union between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We believe that this is threatened by a political system which feels out of date and centralised, and has fuelled Brexit and the growth of nationalism.
“The old-fashioned, out-of-touch Westminster must concede it does not have all the answers.
“Now more than ever we need a fair distribution of responsibilities and resources across the UK and cooperation between federal and state governments, with proper dispute resolution mechanisms for when they disagree.”