Labour looking to strengthen devolution

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LABOUR is looking at setting up a Constitutional Convention to examine strengthening devolution and reforming the House of Lords.

Last week Jon Cruddas, the co-ordinator of Labour’s policy review, was presented with a proposal to set up a cross-party convention to look at Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh devolution at the same time as looking at Westminster’s second chamber.

The proposal has been put together by the former Welsh secretary Lord Morris of Aberavon and is supported by the shadow constitutional reform minister Wayne Davies and the Scottish Labour peer Lord Foulkes.

Morris suggests that membership of the Lords could be reduced if its purpose was limited to reviewing legislation. He has also suggested that the convention could look at strengthening the devolved governments and reassessing their relationship with West-minster.

Labour in Scotland has already announced a devolution commission to look at extending the powers of Holyrood.

The party wants to be able to present a firm vision of what new powers it believes the Scottish Parliament should adopt before the independence referendum in 2014.

Labour sources have signalled that welfare, oil revenues and greater control over taxation are among the items that could be transferred from Westminster to Edinburgh.

Morris’s vision of a Constitutional Convention follows similar moves by the Conservative Party.