A “damning” report calling for a complete rethink of devolution has vindicated warnings issued by Lesley Laird MP as Brexit talks ground to a halt.
The report, compiled by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, urgently called on the government to produce a new ‘Devolution Policy for the Union’ which acknowledges, protects and harmonises devolved powers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In his summary, chairman Sir Bernard Jenkin also called for that model to extend to English regions and urged a systematic review of Whitehall whose structure demonstrated an “institutional lack of understanding of devolution”.
Given previous legislation was founded in the context of EU membership, his report also recommended the government set new statute clearly defining the core concepts of devolution and its role within UK constitutional legislation.
Lesley said: “This damning report should be a wake up call for the UK Government.
“It confirms what we already knew – that the devolved administrations have been treated disrespectfully and disgracefully and have had nowhere near enough say over Brexit negotiations and how it affects them.
“Essentially this report makes clear that the current constitutional structures of this country are not working.
“Labour has continually called for reform to ensure devolved administrations do have a say and that there is far greater openness over what the UK Government says and does in relation to devolution.
“That includes reform of the Joint Ministerial Committee to make sure its roles and responsibilities are clearly defined in law and that minutes of any meetings are published in order to promote transparency between the UK Government and the devolved administrations.
She added: “It has been clear for a long time now that under this Government, devolution is an afterthought, and this report simply confirms that.
“I hope that the UK Government, and in particular David Mundell, will now take a long look in the mirror and reflect on the mess that they have managed to make of this situation.
“It is becoming increasingly evident that if you want to protect Scotland’s place in the UK, voting for the Tories will not do that.”