Scottish Labour commits to federalism

Written by Tom Freeman on 24 February 2017 in News

Scottish Labour conference in Perth votes to back Kezia Dugdale's plans for a constitutional convention on federalism

Perth concert hall - credit John Lord

Scottish Labour has voted to back plans for a federal UK at its conference in Perth.

Delegates were debating leader Kezia Dugdale's plans to launch a constitutional convention across the UK, launched in December.

The motion said federalism would "lead to a renewed partnership between Scotland and the other nations of the UK".


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Delegates expressed frustration that the party was forced to debate the constitution, but argued a solution was needed because the party finds itself between "competing ideological nationalisms" of the SNP and the Conservatives.

Ian Murray MP said: "I know that many in this hall would rather be focusing on today’s issues. How we eradicate poverty, create jobs, fund our public services and create a better future. Yet here we are once again talking about the constitution."   

A federal solution, he said "would renew and refresh our ailing democracy, and give a voice to those who feel they have none.  

"It would allow us to mitigate the failures of the past, and lay the foundations for a better future.   

"And it would uphold the democratic will of the Scottish people: a strong Scotland in a secure United Kingdom, with a close relationship with Europe."

Although details of the constitutional proposition are yet to emerge, the party's deputy leader Alex Rowley said it could allow Labour to be "at the forefront of the next phase of constitutional debate" as Scotland prepares for another referendum on independence.

"Never again will we stand together on a platform with the Tories," he said.

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