As the Labour party prepares to launch a ground-breaking commission on constitutional reform, the party’s regional Mayors in England are meeting with Gordon Brown discuss the project and make clear the demand for change cuts across the whole of the country.
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said:
“This commission is a significant step on the road to a better, more democratic UK.
“As a Metro Mayor, I know first-hand just how much frustration there is with our over-centralised, under-responsive political system, and how much of our potential we could unleash if we balanced our solidarity and ties as a community of nations and regions with the devolution we need to take back control. People in England need and deserve a better democracy as much as people in any other part of the country.
“Remaking our country will take time, and it is a process that will never be finally complete. But the right thing to do in the face of our growing divisions is to sit down and find a way to fix them. We need a national conversation, and this initiative is a very welcome contribution to it.”
The five Labour Mayors and one Combined Authority Chair due to take part in the meeting put out a joint statement that read:
“We are very pleased to be meeting with Gordon Brown today (8 February) as part of his preparations for the launch of the Labour Party’s constitutional commission. This is a critical project for the future of our party and our country.
“As leaders of devolved metropolitan regions within England, our message is that the status quo is broken, and the demand for reform cuts across the country. Almost 80% of people throughout the UK believe our political system needs improvement, a record high; only 15% have trust in government, a record low. Change is not only needed: it is unavoidable.
“That demand was visible in the December 2020 cross-party letter we signed along with 40 English local authority leaders calling for substantive constitutional reform. In that letter we highlighted the deep weaknesses in English devolution, which make the UK more centralised than any other comparable country. That problem is inextricable from the wider challenge of the relations between our family of nations. Stronger devolution within England must be an integral part of creating a better Britain that brings power closer to the people and helps us all take back control.
“We look forward to collaborating with Gordon and the Commission as we seek to build a better, more democratic, more empowered Britain of nations and regions. Meanwhile, we look forward to working side by side with our counterparts in Scotland and throughout the country to more effectively fight our common threats of mass unemployment, economic disruption, and rising inequality – and to build a fairer and more sustainable society as we emerge from this pandemic.”
Dan Jarvis – Mayor of Sheffield City Region
Jamie Driscoll – Mayor of North of Tyne
Sadiq Khan – Mayor of London
Andy Burnham – Mayor of Greater Manchester
Susan Hinchcliffe – Chair, West Yorkshire Combined Authority