27 February 2019
The Constitution Reform Group is delighted to welcome Lisa Nandy MP, Bim Afolami MP and Seema Malhotra MP to the Steering Committee.
This announcement comes in light of the recent introduction of the Act of Union Bill 2018 as a private member’s bill in the House of Lords by Lord Lisvane. The Bill is the result of wide consultation over the last three years and it is the Group’s objective to stimulate further debate, particularly as the UK’s departure from the EU will mean that action will need to be taken in response to the UK’s internal governance structure. The question of how power can be more effectively shared between the nations and parts of the UK has become an urgent one that requires a considered approach and answer, and the Act of Union Bill attempts to do just this. The question of English governance – a key concern for the three new Steering Committee members who each have English constituencies – is also a pressing issue, and it is predicted that the English question will become an increasingly important question to answer over the coming years as a result of Brexit.
Speaking of her involvement with the Constitution Reform Group, Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, said “Too many people in Britain today feel power is remote, unaccountable and unresponsive. In towns across the country, where good jobs have been lost in recent decades and the local economy is under strain, there is a clamour for more control. Following Brexit these fundamental questions can no longer be ignored. That is why I am pleased to join the Constitutional Reform Group to ensure power is restored to those who rightfully own it.”
Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, said “Since I was first elected to Parliament in June 2017 I have come to understand that we cannot divorce the Brexit debate from the debate around our entire constitutional setup, such is the division between the referendum results in the different countries in our United Kingdom and such has been the criticality of Northern Irish and Scottish political opinion in the whole Brexit debate. In addition, in my work locally in my first term, I have seen the sub-optimality of our local governance structure – we are suffering from not having thought strategically about our devolution arrangements in England as well as still having issues with our devolved assemblies. These are the reasons why I am honoured to be involved with the Constitution Reform Group, and I believe its work to be of the most critical importance.”
Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham and Heston, said “The referendum result and its aftermath have shown in stark terms the character of our divided nation. We need to heal the divide not through more of the same but through an analysis of the causes of Brexit and a much more thoughtful debate about the future of our country. We face an existential challenge far deeper than the nature of Brexit issues in Parliament. At the heart of how we respond to the growing tugs at the fabric of our union itself has to a serious review of the how we govern our country. In the light of macro social, political and economic changes, how do we better understand identity, bring a coherence to how we devolve power and control and develop a new social contract. The work of the Constitution Reform Group is leading the way in the debate about our values and how we review and renew the ties that bind our country together.”