Ged Killen: Bring forward Devolution law for 'Federal UK'
In an article for LabourList website, Scottish Labour MP, Ged Killen, has called on the British government to introduce a new devolution law to federalise the UK.
His proposals would see the nations and regions of the United Kingdom given the legal right to claim any non-reserved power, which the Labour MP says would allow local government to address local issues.
He pointed to the president of returning powers from European Union after Brexit, and the existing devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales as examples of how national and regional governments could decentralise the economic centre of the UK away from London.
In his piece the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West said that although he believed in devolution it has "created an imbalance in Westminster and across the country.”
“Increasingly this sense of imbalance is being felt not only just by non-English MPs, but those from the North of England where there is no sense that any of the powers already devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are likely to reach any part of England other than the palace of Westminster”." he said.
“The nations and regions of the UK should not have to wait for Westminster to catch up to them.”
Federalism has formed a key demand of Scottish Labour for reform of the British constitution, which the party sees as a way to offer an alternative for Scottish voters who want to see the Scottish government given more powers and decision making powers, but against independence.
At Labour conference in Liverpool this year Richard Leonard pledged the party would seek to radically overhaul the UK's current constitutional set-up, not just in Scotland but across the UK.
“The Government should end the top-down approach to devolution and create an act of Parliament which will establish a legal right for the nations and regions of the UK to claim any non-reserved power they need to address their own local problems.” continued Killen.
“This wouldn’t just offer opportunities for the regions of England, but also new collaborative policy options for Scotland to work with fellow nations and the regions of England to pull the UK’s economic centre of gravity northwards and outwards.”
“Labour is the party of devolution and aims to be architect of a federal UK. To get there we must be forthright and offer a radical new deal that not only enhances the positions of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but of the regions of England as well.”
“It is by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, we must change the UK to reflect this”