Emma urged the Deputy Prime Minister not to do a deal with the Tories over the future of UK devolution today (18 November), instead demanding that voters be allowed to decide what powers are given to their cities and regions.
Emma asked Nick Clegg:
“The hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Nick Harvey) has reportedly asked the Deputy Prime Minister to ‘do a deal with the Tories’ on English Votes for English Laws. Can the Deputy Prime Minister rule out such a deal and promise that the question of devolution will not be decided in Westminster, but by the British people as part of a constitutional convention?”
The Deputy Prime Minister admitted there was a “difference of opinion between the coalition parties” and said he wanted to see the issue discussed “on a cross party basis.”
But as Emma has warned, people do not want to see Britain’s future decided in Westminster. That is why Labour has called for a constitutional convention that will include not just MPs but local politicians and voters as well, so that regions can decide for themselves what powers they want.
Following the No vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum, Ed Miliband called for a constitutional convention involving all the regions of the UK.
Labour already has plans to devolve £30 billion worth of new powers to Britain’s cities and regions, including the power to control their own transport, housing and business policies. This will allow regions to set their own priorities instead of having to go cap in hand to Westminster for funding.
Speaking after Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions, Emma said:
“After the Scottish referendum it’s obvious that people want more powers at the local level, but it’s important we get this right and that’s why we need to speak to people across the country about the powers they want for their local area.
“The worst thing that could happen now would be for this decision to be made by politicians in Westminster without consulting the public. That will do nothing to give people confidence in politics. That’s why a constitutional convention is the right way forward.”