Kezia Dugdale: Federal UK would fix ‘failure of politics’

Kezia Dugdale said her partys plan for a new constitutional convention would bring power closer to people. Picture John Devlin
Kezia Dugdale said her partys plan for a new constitutional convention would bring power closer to people. Picture John Devlin
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A federal UK would begin to fix a “failure of politics” reflected in support for Scottish independence and the vote for Brexit, Kezia Dugdale has said.

The Scottish Labour leader said her party’s plan for a new constitutional convention would bring power closer to people and communities in the face of a rise in populism.

Delegates at Scottish Labour’s conference in Perth later this month will be asked to back a motion calling for a “progressive federal structure” for the UK.

The motion calls for the UK Labour Party to convene a people’s constitutional convention to report before the next UK general election.

Ms Dugdale used an address at University College London to reiterate her party’s opposition to a second independence referendum.

She said: “Brexit represented a failure of our politics. People willing to take a leap in the dark and vote for independence represented a failure of our politics.

“And in the face of it, governing parties haven’t just ignored the problem. They’ve doubled down on the disastrous policies that got us here in the first place, and now, even after all that we’ve gone through; we’re making the same mistakes again.

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“How could we possibly go through the past decade, and face the next decade, and believe that the way we govern ourselves doesn’t need to change?”

Ms Dugdale added: “Our proposal seeks to build out from the benefits we already derive from being part of the UK, and it would bring power closer to people.

“It does mean more powers for the Scottish Parliament - starting with those powers in devolved areas that will return from Brussels in the coming years.

“These are the proposals that we will take to any constitutional convention in the future, and which I believe would strengthen the UK well into the future.

“The vast majority of people in Scotland want what the Labour Party wants - a strong Scotland, with a strong Scottish Parliament, inside the United Kingdom. I believe that is even truer now after Brexit.”

Speaking at the same event, Liberal Democrat Welsh peer Baroness Randerson also called for a new federal UK settlement.

She said: “Brexit threatens to impose an intolerable strain on the very structure of the UK. It is generally agreed that the Brexit vote was a symptom of public unhappiness with the status quo, that runs much deeper than the powers of the EU.

“The stresses are greatest in Scotland, which voted to remain, and in Wales, which voted to leave but is led by a Government that wants to remain.

“What we therefore need is a ‘refresh’ of federalism but it must be accompanied by renewed and real trust in the people. No more centralised solutions, but devolution of power to communities instead.”