29 November 2019
By Martina Bet
This morning, former Labour MP Gisela Stuart joined Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in a press conference and urged voters to back the Conservative Party in the December 12 general election. Ms Stuart was the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston from 1997 to 2017 and her victory in Birmingham, which was previously considered a safe Conservative seat, was seen as a symbol of Labour’s electoral success in the late Nineties. However, today she said: “Boris Johnson’s Conservatives represent the best way forward for traditional Labour voters like me and the best way to heal the country. I will not vote for Jeremy Corbyn, but I can vote for Brexit.
“This is, after all, the Brexit election and a vote for Boris Johnson this time around is a vote to get Brexit done.”
Ms Stuart was the chair of the successful Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 EU referendum, where she worked closely with Mr Johnson and Mr Gove.
Apart from Brexit, the Labour MP is also campaigning alongside other high-profile politicians in the Constitution Reform Group (CRG) for the Act of Union Bill – a blueprint that proposes a federal structure for the continuation of the Union, establishing the principle of self-determination among all four parts.
During an interview with Express.co.uk, the former Labour MP argued that what drove people to vote for Brexit is the lack of an English Parliament.
She said: “I think, to an extent, ‘who speaks for England’ has contributed to the vote of Brexit.
“Hence our focus on whether you want an English Parliament, whether you want greater devolution, looking at where the decisions are made – that is the real challenge.
“Because if you feel that things are imposed on you, then you build up resentment.”
Ms Stuart added: “This is where size does matter in terms of groups of population.
“If you look at the most successful economic devolved units… once you go above eight or ten million, you do need other additional structures.
“You have London with ten million people and Scotland with 5.7 million.
“Outside London you have a population with very few distinct voices. If the mayoral system in Greater Manchester becomes more successful, then I think around those big cities, we have found an answer.
“But that still doesn’t address what you do with Lincolnshire or what you do with Cornwall.
“If they feel they haven’t got a voice, that is what is so bad for democracy.”
When asked whether the Constitution Reform Group will solve this issue with their Bill, Ms Stuart firmly answered: “Yes.
“We are beginning to sort of say: ‘You make the decisions and the centre only makes the decision have given them.”
So far, the Bill put forward by the CRG proposes two alternatives for a future governance of England.
A spokeswoman for the CRG told Express.co.uk: “The first model is the creation of a directly elected English Parliament to deal with non-central areas.
“The second model provides for a regional devolution option whereby the UK Parliament would continue legislating both on central matters for the UK as a whole and on all matters for England.
“It would put the English Votes for English Laws system on a statutory basis by restriction.”
The CRG steering committee has recently been joined by three former first ministers of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – Lord McConnell, Lord Trimble and Carwyn Jones.
You can access the full article on the Daily Express website here.