The Scottish Liberal Democrat spring conference has today discussed a new report entitled Federalism: Still the best future for Scotland, outlining a series of radical proposals for reforming the United Kingdom and how the party will work with others to fix the union.
The report outlines five steps to a federal union:
- Decentralise power to make real decisions in a wide range of policy areas from Whitehall and Westminster to the cities and regions of England.
- Recognise that the Government of the UK must enjoy the support of the majority of those who vote in each UK General Election.
- Create a United Kingdom Council of Ministers, to bring together the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland together with elected Mayors and regional leaders across England.
- Pass legislation in which Westminster renounces the ability to unilaterally change the powers of the devolved parliaments across the UK or to pass laws in their areas of responsibility.
- Establish a United Kingdom Constitutional Convention to bring together political parties, parliamentarians, local government and civic Society to address the alienation that exists and finalise and confirm the move to a federal union.
On Saturday 27th February, Willie Rennie wrote to the new leader of Scottish Labour pledging to work with them to deliver a federal UK.
Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:
“We have already seen one union disintegrate on the basis of divisive nationalism. We cannot let that happen to another.
“As Liberals, we are able to be honest about the failings of our political systems. Unlike the Conservatives, we will never argue that the status quo is good enough.
“It is up to us to offer an alternative, Liberal vision. One in which the imbalance of power between the four nations, and the regions, of the UK is fundamentally rebalanced.”
Lord Campbell of Pittenweem QC said:
“There is momentum building to reform the United Kingdom.
“Under the influence of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Labour are exploring reform once more, which presents an opportunity for our two parties to work together and with others of like mind.
“In English cities, regional mayors have fought hard for their communities and held the feet of national politicians to the fire. There is a mood for change consistent with our proposals throughout the United Kingdom.
“With Liberal Democrat knowledge and expertise in constitutional reform, we are able to join that effort. We reject the idea that the only choice is between independence and the status quo.”