Alisdair Calder McGregor our prospective parliamentary candidate for Calder Valley has been lobbying Nick Clegg to request that we have the ability to push for regional devolution powers. The response we got confirms that the devolution on demand policy the Liberal Democrats are pushing would allow for devolution of powers not just to cities but to counties and regions too.
Thank you for your email about the devolution of powers. Please accept my apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I hope the following lines will make clear the position we are taking when responding on this issue, and will confirm our commitment to more localisation and regional powers.
As was highlighted by Ministers at conference, we as party remain absolutely committed to delivering significant new powers to Scotland – the party leaders made a clear ‘vow’ on this, and we are determined to keep that promise in full and on time. Nick and the Lib Dems have been strong on this, despite unclear messages from other parties. We remain longstanding advocates of reform and of a fully Federal solution for the whole UK, and to this end, we want a radical rebalancing of power within England, devolving power away from Whitehall and Westminster. We are also committed to delivering further powers for Wales as recommended by the Silk Commission and to strengthening devolution in Northern Ireland too.
Nick has been clear that a solution is needed to the so-called “West Lothian Question”, and that more powers should be given to the cities, counties and regions of England. Liberal Democrats are proposing this in government currently, and our party policy of “Devolution on Demand” would make this available as of right across England. David Laws’s article in the Guardian set this out clearly,
Any changes to the way legislation passes in Westminster should take account of votes cast in elections, and should not, for example, allow one party to block English legislation on the basis of only minority support in England. In light of the importance of such changes, we want to see a constitutional convention take place, starting next year, with a Citizen’s Jury representing every part of the UK making the decisions. In doing this, we could hopefully tackle some of the issues you raised in your email and give local people their say in the kind of governance they want.
With other parties beginning to endorse our longstanding commitment to devolution, and to the belief that the future direction of the UK should be for people, not just politicians, to decide, Nick will use this opportunity do everything possible to make it happen. Decisions across the whole country should be taken as closely as possible to those they affect, and this period may be the best opportunity in our lifetimes to disperse power out of the corridors of Westminster to the cities, counties and regions of England, improving not just our democracy but revitalising and rebalancing our economy too.
I hope this information is helpful in addressing some of your concerns. Thank you again for your email.
Office of Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP