Constitution ‘no longer fit for purpose’ says Labour leadership

Former prime minister Gordon Brown
Former prime minister Gordon Brown
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The UK constitution is “no longer fit for purpose” and must be overhauled to unite a “deeply divided kingdom” in the wake of Brexit, Labour leaders will today warn.

Senior party figures from Scotland, Wales and England will gather in Cardiff to plans for a more decentralised UK that aims to put more power in the hands of English regions as well as devolved assemblies in Scotland and Wales.

The group will also condemn plans to retain some control over agriculture and fisheries powers returning from Brussels after Brexit as a “Westminster power grab”.

Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale, London mayor Sadiq Khan and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones will join a “devolution taskforce” to campaign for a people’s constitutional convention, in a bid to reshape the UK and stave off growing nationalism. Plans for a federal UK will be drawn up by John Trickett MP, with former prime minister Gordon Brown also taking part.

Also attending the summit will be Sion Simon, the party’s candidate for West Midlands mayor, who has called for the abolition of the Barnett funding formula for devolved nations.

“On the day the United Kingdom formally begins the process of leaving the European Union, it is clear that our constitution is no longer fit for purpose,” Labour said in a statement.

“The UK government would claim for Westminster those devolved responsibilities currently administered by Brussels – increasing the concentration of power in what has until recently been one of the most centralised states in the developed world.

“As leading Labour figures from across the UK, we reject this Whitehall power grab – and call on the UK government as part of the Brexit negotiations to agree to the transfer of powers over agriculture, fisheries, regional policy and environmental protection to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies.”