House of Lords marks twenty years of devolution and the role of the devolved administrations

23 May 2019

Lord Peter Hain said “There is unfinished business of devolution in England outside London. That is not sustainable and the Government need to address it. I recommend the Bill introduced to this House by the noble Lord, Lord Lisvane, and the case made for it by the Constitution Reform Group, for whom he has been spokesperson, as I have, and which is chaired by the Marquess of Salisbury.

Devolution is here to stay. That is a great tribute to all who made it possible. The fact that it is now part of the constitutional architecture of the United Kingdom for good is very positive indeed.

On Wednesday 22 May, members of the House of Lords debated the 20th anniversary of devolution in the UK and the role of the devolved administrations in the governance of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The debate was proposed by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, a parliamentary under-secretary in the Wales Office, and participants included members such as Lord Hope of Craighead, Baroness Harris of Richmond, Lord Bew and Baroness Bryan of Partick amongst others.

As the former Secretary of State for both Wales and Northern Ireland, Lord Hain also noted that “…we have a United Kingdom that is deeply unbalanced in terms of its wealth. If Wales, the north-east of England, Scotland or Northern Ireland are not able to benefit from the redistributive effects of the 40% of GDP that is raised in the south-east of England, the unity of the UK is under threat, on top of the other threats that we face.

Baroness Bryan of Partick, the Labour peer who recently published a paper which set out a plan to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with a senate of the nations and regions, noted that “We cannot just keep adding to the list of devolved powers without stopping to think of the impact on the UK as a whole.

The full transcript of the debate can be accessed here.

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