Post Independence Referendum - let's finally have the constitutional convention that Lib Dems have long sought

September 19, 2014 5:27 PM
By Sal Brinton

As the dust settles after the Referendum, the Lib Dems stand in a strong position to make further devolution right across the UK happen. Firstly, we've long proposed a federal arrangement, with each state responsible for its own income raising and spending, but working together on matters that are best managed at a union level, with the strength needed at an international level. Secondly, with both Labour and the Conservative leaders now talking devolution, we need to make it happen.

Today Ed Millband is talking about devolving more powers down to local authorities. On its own that won't do for England, where many people of all political persuasions are saying we need a vehicle to decide on English matters. I used to be Deputy Chair of the East of England Development Agency, and before that was a member of the East of England Regional Assembly - regional bodies that were a Labour fudge for devolution, where in fact powers were more often dragged up from local authorities. Labour's words and figures didn't agree, and the Assemblies that succeded were because local authorities worked well together. Those that didn't were just talking shops. We must not go down that route again.

David Cameron says that we will have more devolution, but already Tory backbenchers are showing their true colours and saying they will block it.

What was absolutely clear from the Indpendent Referendum in Scotland is that across the United Kingdom ordinary people are talking about the need for a change in the way politics is done. If the party leaders don't consult with the people it will be catastrophic: politicians are not trusted or believed. Let's have the UK Constitutional Convention that Lib Dems have wanted for a long time, driven by the views of the people.

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