Sir Keir Starmer calls for devolution from Westminster to take back control

27 January 2020, 12:24

The Labour leadership frontrunner is calling for "radical devolution of power, wealth and of opportunity" to win back voters.

Sir Keir Starmer, the frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest, told Nick Ferrari: "There are powers coming back from the EU. If they just come to Westminster or Whitehall and get stuck there, I think there will be sense that there is no real control being taken back there.

"Then of course, in Scotland, you've got the risk that the argument for nationalism just gets more powerful and you end up with the United Kingdom being broken up.?"

Starmer said: "One of the things that we failed to do in the last three and a half years since the referendum is address any of the reasons that people voted in the way that we did.

"Now we're leaving on Friday and we need to have that debate."

Starmer continued: "I'm calling for radical devolution of power, wealth and of opportunity across the United Kingdom but including to towns and cities and regions to readdress the constitutional settlement because the status quo just isn't working across anywhere in the United Kingdom."

Nick Ferrari asked if we'd have an English parliament or an English assembly.

Starmer replied: "I mean, there are various different models. What I'm doing this week is I'm going to Scotland tomorrow, I'm going to the north of England on Wednesday, to Wales to have those conversations."

Nick Ferrari asked: "What about England? Does England need its own assembly?"

Starmer said: "I do think that we need England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland. So the answer is yes, of some sort."

Nick Ferrari said: "If I'm living in London, I've got to have local councils, I've got to have an assembly and a mayor. I've going to have an English representative and then I've got to have an MP. How much money is there gonna be, Sir Keir?"

Sir Keir Starmer calls for devolution from Westminster to take back control
Sir Keir Starmer calls for devolution from Westminster to take back control. Picture: PA

Starmer responded: "I get the groaning, but people voted as they did for a reason. Amongst the reasons were that people feel that decisions are just too remote from them.

"I spent a lot of time in areas that voted Leave in the last three years to have some gritty conversations and they've been good.

"Everywhere I've gone, the end of it, I've always said let's just jot down two or three things that you think will make a massive difference.

"This is with community groups in wherever they are, and therer was a compelling case."

He added: "People said we want infrastructure and we want transport. That's obviously a massive thing.

"We want investment in jobs that, in their view, have dignity and atr proper secure jobs, etc. But also we don't want things done to us anymore. We want to be part of the decision making.

"I'm not fixed on a model but what I am doing, I'm speaking really as a fundamental principle."