EXTENDING DEMOCRACY

As we change our constitutional relationship with Europe, we must also adjust our own arrangements.


EXTENDING DEMOCRACY

As we change our constitutional relationship with Europe, we must also adjust our own arrangements. Just as many felt that power was too centralised and unaccountable in Brussels, so many feel that about Westminster.

A Labour government will establish a Constitutional Convention to examine and advise on reforming of the way Britain works at a fundamental level.

We will consult on its form and terms of reference and invite recommendations on extending democracy.

This is about where power and sovereignty lies – in politics, the economy, the justice system, and in our communities.

The Convention will look at extending democracy locally, regionally and nationally, considering the option of a more federalised country.

Our fundamental belief is that the Second Chamber should be democratically elected. In the interim period, we will seek to end the hereditary principle and reduce the size of the current House of Lords as part of a wider package of constitutional reform to address the growing democratic deficit across Britain.

We will extend the Freedom of Information Act to private companies that run public services.

We will reduce the voting age to 16. At 16, you are eligible to pay tax, get married or even join the army. You deserve a vote.

We will safeguard our democracy by repealing the Lobbying Act, which has gagged charities, and introduce a tougher statutory register of lobbyists.

This is about where power and sovereignty lies

ENGLAND

We need a relationship of equals with devolved administrations. Labour will create a role for a Minister for England, who will sit under the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and will work with the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We will restore regional offices to increase contact between central and local government on the ground.

Labour will be guided by public opinion when determining whether to include directly elected mayors in future devolution deals.


SCOTLAND

Labour opposes a second Scottish independence referendum. It is unwanted and unnecessary, and we will campaign tirelessly to ensure Scotland remains part of the UK. Independence would lead to turbo-charged austerity for Scottish families.

The Scottish Parliament will receive a huge funding increase from our policies, and massive numbers of Scots will benefit from our plans in areas reserved to Westminster.

We will establish a Scottish Investment Bank, with £20 billion of funds available to local projects and Scotland’s small businesses, creating work and stimulating the economy.

We will set up an inquiry into blacklisting and will urge the Scottish Government to hold an inquiry into the actions of Scottish police during the miners’ strike.

WALES

We are proud of the achievements of the Welsh Labour government and its record of delivery. In government, we will work in partnership to stand up for the people of Wales and protect public services.

We need long-term reform of how the UK allocates public expenditure to ensure that it reflects the needs of different parts of our country and that no nation or region of the UK is unfairly disadvantaged.

We will build on the Development Bank of Wales using more than £10 billion from Labour’s new National Investment Bank.

We will bring forward legislation to make the devolution settlement more sustainable as set out by the Welsh Labour government in its Alternative Wales Bill, including the devolution of policing.

NORTHERN IRELAND

The peace we have today in Northern Ireland is due to the courageous endeavours of those on all sides who have been brave enough to build it.

The Good Friday Agreement, which Labour helped to negotiate, is one of the greatest achievements of Labour in office.

We will continue to fully support the principles and structures inherent within the Good Friday Agreement and we remain committed to working with all sides to deliver real peace and greater prosperity to Northern Ireland.