Tories slam new group launched by Labour politicians demanding radical UK reform
A new group set up by senior Labour politicians to campaign for major UK reform has been slammed by the Conservatives.
The Alliance for Radical Democratic Change has been formed by former prime minister Gordon Brown, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.
The group, being launched at an event in Edinburgh this evening, will call on political leaders from other parties and parts of the country to back their goal.
But the Tories insisted the country has “no interest in constitutional tinkering”.
They also said the launch will “just draw more attention to the fact” that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – who is not part of the event – “voted 48 times to keep us in the EU”.
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Labour know the British people have no interest in constitutional tinkering and this rally will just draw more attention to the fact that Sir Keir voted 48 times to keep us in the EU.
“While Labour are distracted by ‘radical democratic change’ the Conservatives are delivering for the British people – halving inflation, growing the economy, reducing debt, cutting waiting lists and stopping the boats.”
The new group wants more power devolved to regions and nations of the UK for a “fairer, greener and wealthier Britain”.
In a joint mission statement, the group – which will launch in conjunction with Mr Brown’s think tank Our Scottish Future – said: “There is a UK-wide demand for change.
“We recognise the urgent need for working together – locally, regionally and nationally across the UK – to reform our constitution so we can deal with the current economic and social challenges faced in every area of our country.
“To that effect we are creating the Alliance for Radical Democratic Change to implement wide-ranging proposals for the reform of the UK – to end the centralisation of power in Whitehall and Westminster, to devolve effective economic and social powers to the regions and nations, to make our cities and regions centres of initiative for full employment and good jobs, and to ensure co-ordination between all levels of government to achieve a fairer, greener and wealthier Britain, in which each nation and region enjoys the respect it deserves.”
Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Drakeford said: “We need a new strengthened union which guarantees that no-one will find themselves unable to eat or relying on a food bank; facing old age or illness at the margins of society.
“A union which offers strong devolution for all parts of the UK; a union where all four nations are treated as equals.”
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Mr Burnham said: “Just like Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the north of England has suffered from an over-concentration of political and economic power in the South East of the UK.
“This is changing with the devolution of power out of Westminster, but in our experience it works best when it goes deep.
“Places in all parts of the UK should have the ability to build a better future from the bottom up and collaborate with neighbours.”
The launch comes six months after a report released by Mr Brown on the future of the UK.
Its recommendations included abolishing the House of Lords and replacing it with a second chamber, as well as deeper devolution to the cities and regions of the UK.
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