Submission to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee: The future of devolution

While the Scottish referendum campaign has clearly opened the door to devolve more powers from Westminster, devolution should not be a one size fits all solution. The advantage of variable devolution is that it can respond to demand for different levels of powers in different areas.

Devolution has always proceeded at different paces in different areas of the UK, and what is appropriate in Scotland is not necessarily appropriate elsewhere. The key is that where there is significant demand for powers to be devolved, there should be a mechanism for negotiating the transfer of powers which allows the public to express their view.

Our recommendations:

  • The future of devolution must be decided by voters, not behind closed doors by politicians

  • The next step for devolution should be a constitutional convention led by the public

  • Any constitutional convention should have equal representation for the countries that make up the UK

  • The “vow” timetable for devolution to Scotland is grossly unrealistic, but politicians can agree the form of a constitutional convention before the next election

  • Devolution to England - in the form of an English Parliament or English votes for English laws - should not be seen as a substitute for devolution within England