Report undermines Labour case for rewriting UK-wide constitutional structure, claims SNP

Labour’s proposed plans of radically rewriting the constitutional structure of the United Kingdom have been undermined by the latest results from the British Social Attitudes survey, the SNP has claimed.

However Scottish Labour labelled the attack “bizarre”.

Research undertaken by the National Centre for Social Research shows the desire for constitutional change in England sits well below the preference for the status quo.

Figures show 58 per cent, the highest figure since the beginning of devolution, of people in England believe the country should continue to be governed as it is now from Westminster.

In comparison, just under 19 per cent believe each region should have its own assembly, with just over 20 per cent backing an England-only party.

The report states: “England also shows little sign of becoming keener on the idea of devolution for itself – other than not allowing Scottish MPs to vote on English laws, where a procedure that might be thought to address that sentiment has now been withdrawn.

"Finding a set of constitutional arrangements that would satisfy public opinion across the UK appears to have become more difficult.”

SNP MSP Paul McLennan said the figures demonstrated the “hollowness” of Labour promises of constitutional reform across the UK, while denying pro-independence voters a second referendum.

Labour leader Keir Starmer during a press conference at the headquarters of the Labour Party in Victoria, central London

"These figures just expose the hollowness of Labour’s vague promises of UK wide constitutional reform,” he said. “There is no appetite for them in England.”

He added: “However, there is an appetite backed up with a cast iron mandate in Scotland for constitutional change.

"Not only do we know that Labour have form in not sticking to their word such as century-old promises of abolishing the Lords or Home Rule, but, fundamentally, no amount of constitutional tinkering would protect Scotland from the catastrophic consequences of Westminster control.

"As Westminster continues to ignore Scotland and trash the foundations of devolution, independence is the only way to uphold Scotland’s democracy and to get rid of Westminster Tory government for good."

The survey found the Union “has become decidedly less popular” in Scotland, putting support for independence at a record high of 52 per cent.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “This is a bizarre line from Paul McLennan.”

They added: “Devolution is delivering for the people of Scotland despite the SNP’s best attempts to disrupt it and their failure to use the powers they have.

“They are showing their true colours with this bizarre rant against Labour’s plans to push power out into communities across the UK.

“There’s a real irony that we are seeing more powers devolved across England while the SNP’s track record is to hoard power and cut funding to local services.”

All episodes of the brand new limited series podcast, How to be an independent country: Scotland’s Choices, are out now.

It is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


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