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Liberal Democrats

F21: A Framework for England in a Federal UK

Motions as passed by conference

Submitted by: Federal Policy Committee

Mover: Cllr Prue Bray.

Summation: Lord Shipley (Chair of the Policy Working Group).

Conference believes that:

  1. The UK's constitution is no longer fit for purpose, failing to deliver appropriate representation, disempowering communities and risking the break-up of the UK.
  2. Too much power and control over people's lives is hoarded in Westminster and Whitehall, especially in England, with regions and communities excluded from decision making over their areas, leading to a dangerous sense of powerlessness and alienation from government.
  3. Power and decision making should be dispersed as widely as possible across the UK, which is best delivered through a federal system of government.
  4. In England, many of the decisions about areas which are currently taken in London should be taken instead at the regional level, which should become powerful centres of decision-making in their own right, empowering and engaging communities, improving the quality and efficiency of public services, leading to a sustainable levelling-up of the UK, and strengthening the union.

Conference calls for:

  1. The creation of a UK Constitutional Convention, with the aim of drafting a new Federal Constitution that sets out the powers of the government at each tier, founded on the principles of democratic engagement, liberal values and respect for diverse identities, underpinned by a fair distribution of resources based on respective needs.
  2. English Ministries and ministerial functions to be separate from those of the United Kingdom Federal Government.
  3. The Convention to establish an inclusive approach for determining the structure of government in England, including a regional tier of government and special protections for rural communities where necessary.
  4. A new Declaration of Rights, which will ensure human rights are integrated fully into the new system of government and respected at all levels.
  5. The replacement of the House of Lords with an elected Senate of the federal UK Parliament which will represent the federal states of the UK.
  6. A target of at least 50% of public spending to be controlled by state, regional and local government, in line with other successful federal states. Achieving this will be a prerequisite for successfully and sustainably levelling up the UK.

Conference further calls for:

  1. A federal system in which the UK government primarily has responsibility over matters affecting the whole of the United Kingdom, including;
    1. International Aid.
    2. Defence and security.
    3. Transnational and cross-boundary crime.
    4. Foreign policy.
    5. Monetary policy.
    6. Overall fiscal policy.
    7. International trade.
    8. Employment and the United Kingdom internal market, working in partnership with the nations and regions.
    9. Immigration.
    10. Strategic transport.
    11. Strategic environmental and decarbonisation policy.
    12. Ensuring financial resources are shared fairly across the UK.
    13. Pensions and core social security benefits.
  2. A tier of directly elected regional government throughout England which will have responsibility for:
    1. Regional economic development.
    2. NHS and social care services.
    3. Policing.
    4. Strategic housing and planning policy.
    5. Regional transport.
    6. Education, including skills.
    7. Agriculture and rural affairs.
    8. Local environmental and decarbonisation policy.
  3. A smaller range of functions to be exercised at the all-England level, including the legal system and universities.
  4. A process based on natural communities and local consent for determining the boundaries of regions.
  5. The interest of rural communities within England to be given enhanced protection both within the federal constitution and in the processes and practices of English regions.
  6. The powers and standing of local government to be enhanced and strengthened in the new federal constitutional settlement.
  7. Individual regions within England to be federal states, with a constitutional standing equivalent to that of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with England remaining as a single legal jurisdiction and some common functions being managed at an all-England level.
  8. An English National Chamber with representatives appointed by the English Regions.


Applicability: Federal; except II. to VIII. (lines 60-98), which are England only.

Mover: 7 minutes; summation of motion and movers and summation of any amendments: 4 minutes; all other speakers: 3 minutes.

For eligibility and procedure for speaking in this debate, see page 7 of the agenda. To submit a speaker's card go to: libdems.org.uk/speakers-card.

The deadline for amendments to this motion - see pages 9-10 of the agenda - and for requests for separate votes - see page 7 of the agenda - is 13.00 on 6 September. Those selected for debate will be published in the Conference Extra and Sunday Conference Daily updates to the Conference Agenda.

The deadline for requests for separate votes is 09.00 Saturday 18 September; see page 7 of the agenda.