Lib Dems to draft post-No vote constitution

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell. Picture: PAFormer Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell. Picture: PA
Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell. Picture: PA
SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: A timetable for “lasting permanent constitutional change” across the UK after the independence referendum will be set out by former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, according to the Lib Dems.

The “consensus for constitutional change” is growing with Wales calling for action on powers, English regions seeking to redress the “London-effect”, and several models of devolution now on the table, Scottish leader Willie Rennie said.

In a speech to the David Hume Institute, Mr Rennie will set out Sir Menzies’s latest attempt to harness “the emerging consensus for building a stronger Scotland within the UK” if Scotland votes no to independence.

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In its first report, The Campbell Commission invited other parties, organisations and individuals across Scotland to build a sustainable consensus on the constitutional structures of the UK.

“Campbell II” will see Sir Menzies review the results of this debate including Reform Scotland’s “Devo Plus”, the IPPR’s “Devo More” and the Liberal Democrat’s own “home rule all round” proposals.

Mr Rennie said: “My party has refreshed our hundred-year-old commitment to ‘home rule all round’ and set out details of a Scotland, and a Britain, where people can have nimble, powerful governments on their side.

“Our work has shown Labour what is possible and we have seen the previous hostility of the Conservatives to constitutional reform washed away with their Strathclyde Commission on more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

“Reform Scotland has published Devo Plus. The IPPR and Alan Trench published Devo More. The Welsh Assembly wants action on its powers.

“And the UK Government is tackling the London-effect by signing city deals with local authorities across England that puts powerful tools for skills, investment and infrastructure into the hands of local communities - including in the North East of England, I imagine to the delight of the Northern Echo.

“The consensus for change is growing and I think we can be certain that, subject to the consent of voters at the 2015 election, decentralising reform across Britain is now building such momentum that it will happen.

“To push that further I have asked Sir Menzies Campbell today to return to the issue.

“I want Campbell II to examine this emerging consensus.

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“I want to harness the expertise and insight that allowed Sir Menzies Campbell and the Scottish Liberal Democrats to publish our work first.

“That expertise should now be turned to assessing the growing consensus and planning a timetable for implementing lasting, permanent constitutional change after the referendum.

“Within a few weeks I want Campbell II to show just how widespread the consensus is and just how quickly it can be turned into actual change. This shows how seriously I take this.”