“Creation of UK-wide frameworks

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 4th December 2017.

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Photo of Jenny Chapman Jenny Chapman Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union) 4:18 pm, 4th December 2017

My hon. Friend is right. People voted for these powers to be devolved and it is wrong for the Government to attempt to use Brexit as an excuse to bring them back to London.

The historian Professor Tom Devine called Scottish devolution and the establishment of the Scottish Parliament:

“the most significant development in Scottish political history since the union of 1707.”

The Conservative party may have been opposed to devolution in the 1990s, and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Administrations may not have been conceived of in the early ’70s, but they are now an important and respected integral part of the constitutional architecture of our country.

The Good Friday agreement could never have succeeded without devolution to Northern Ireland, and, in the view of many of those involved at that time, the fact that devolution to Scotland and Wales took place at the same time as the Good Friday negotiations helped to ease some misgivings about the process.

Two nations of our Union voted to remain in the EU and two voted to leave. Our nations are run by different parties with different views about what Britain should look like after Brexit. The challenge for the Government therefore is significant. Just because it is challenging, however, does not mean the Government should attempt to take shortcuts that undermine the credibility, autonomy or sharing of decision making that are now an accepted feature of our democracy.