Why the left needs to start talking about England

Dave Dyke, an academic and a supporter of the English Labour Network, has written for Left Foot Forward on why he believes the choice between an English Parliament and regional devolution is a false one – we need both, he says.

“Lord Salisbury’s Constitutional Reform Group (CRG) drafted an Act of Union Bill that was introduced as a Private Bill to the House of Lords by Lord Lisvane this October.

The Bill is an attempt to find a way forward for the union, treating the constituent parts as equals. Regarding England, two options are put forward:

1. An English Parliament, constituted from the current House of Commons, coupled with the abolition of the House of Lords;

2. Leaving the current House of Commons legislating for England, maintaining ‘English Votes for English Laws’, and utilising City Deals and Regional Devolution.

The options are presented as either-or; the reality is that both are needed. 

An English Parliament established on its own would become another remote and centralised institution, especially if based in London. Yet the Regional Devolution approach still denies a voice for all-England concerns, reducing the determination of whether legislation is England-only or union-wide to Parliamentary procedure, and the whim of the Speaker.

A solution for England is made up of three sides of a triangle: local, regional and all-England.  All linked to each other, all in tension with each other. Too much tension on one side, or not enough on another, and the triangle collapses.”

You can read the full piece here.

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