Scottish Liberal Democrats: A refresh of federalism is needed

Speaking at an event in London, Liberal Democrat welsh peer Baroness Randerson will today say that a “refresh” of federalism is needed but that it must be accompanied by renewed and real trust in the people.

Talking alongside other politicians including Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale at University College London (UCL), Baroness Randerson will outline the Liberal Democrat’s long held belief in federalism and that giving more power to communities is step towards a ‘happier union’ .

Commenting Baroness Randerson will say:

“Devolution sparked a rising cultural and political awareness in both Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland devolution served a different purpose, from different origins. But the new cultural and political awareness means that the UK can no longer be based on tacit consent but requires a new federal settlement.

“It was disappointing that the SNP document on Scotland remaining part of the Single Market, did not address the issue of the future governance of the UK.

“Whatever sort of Brexit we get – or not - after this massive shock to the system we need a thorough refresh of the UK system of governance. And for future arrangements to enjoy support across the society and across the UK, there needs to be a Constitutional Convention – once again well-established Lib Dem policy.

“At the heart of devolution in both Scotland and Wales is the principle of traditional unionist theory of Westminster sovereignty – power retained, not power divided as it is in a federal constitution.

“Brexit threatens to impose an intolerable strain on the very structure of the UK. It is generally agreed that the Brexit vote was a symptom of public unhappiness with the status quo, that runs much deeper than the powers of the EU. The stresses are greatest in Scotland, which voted to remain, and in Wales, which voted to leave but is led by a Government that wants to remain.

“What we therefore need is a 'refresh' of federalism but it must be accompanied by renewed and real trust in the people. No more centralised solutions but devolution of power to communities instead.”

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