Ian Murray: Scottish Labour is ready to take up the mantle of federalism

Scottish Labour’s Ian Murray accuses the SNP and Tories of creating a constitutional crisis within the UK

SCOTLAND’S only Labour MP has said that the party is ready to seize the mantle of federalism.

Ian Murray told the Scottish Labour party conference that the party must stand up for what the majority of people in Scotland want, which opposes both independence and the status quo.

In a bid for Scottish Labour to solve the constitution question in Scotland following both the Scottish independence referendum and the EU referendum, Murray moved the motion for a new UK People’s Constitutional Convention that will give more power to the people across the UK.

Murray told delegates that it is time for a new Act of Union  fit for the 21st century.

“[In the UK People’s Constitutional Convention] We would enhance the legislative scope of the Scottish Parliament, by repatriating powers in devolved areas that will return from Brussels in the coming years.” Ian Murray  

He said: “Under our proposals, every component part of the United Kingdom would take on more responsibility for what happens in their own communities while maintaining the protection of being part of a greater whole.  

“We would enhance the legislative scope of the Scottish Parliament, by repatriating powers in devolved areas that will return from Brussels in the coming years.  

“And we would transfer powers over workers’ rights and the minimum wage to the Scottish Parliament.”

Murray added: “The people will decide how they wish to be governed, in a People’s Constitutional Convention involving citizens and civic institutions across the UK.  

“The people will decide how they wish to be governed, in a People’s Constitutional Convention involving citizens and civic institutions across the UK.” Ian Murray MP

“In the long run, that would mean more power, more autonomy, and more accountability for Scotland (and for Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions).”

Murray went on to say that people are disenfranchised and detached from the political process because political power is concentrated in the hands of the few, not the many.

According to Murray, “the only winners are the right and the forces of nationalism”.

He said: “The SNP’s obsession with constitutional politics comes as no surprise. 

“For the SNP, the independence referendum was not the end – a once in a lifetime opportunity – but the beginning.  

“The nationalists never accepted the result. They went back to the drawing board and produced a list of potential triggers for another referendum the length of your arm.” Ian Murray

“The nationalists never accepted the result. They went back to the drawing board and produced a list of potential triggers for another referendum the length of your arm.  

“But then that’s what nationalists do. The fight for independence is what gets them out of bed every morning.  

“Conference, we will not create a better future – for ourselves, our families, our communities – by cutting the bonds that unite us. Rather, we must act to strengthen those bonds.”

Murray added: “And that brings me to the SNP’s enablers – the Tories.  

“It is they who are really responsible for this current mess – Nicola Sturgeon’s mibbaes aye mibbaes naw referendum.  

“Thanks to them, the constitution has barely been off the agenda since the early hours of September 19th 2014, when David Cameron stepped out of 10 Downing Street and unveiled English Votes for English Laws.

“Thanks to them [the Tories], the constitution has barely been off the agenda since the early hours of September 19th 2014, when David Cameron stepped out of 10 Downing Street and unveiled English Votes for English Laws.” Ian Murray

“That was followed by a pernicious General Election campaign, which stoked the embers of English nationalism and placed voters in England and Scotland at loggerheads. 

“And who can forget the election in 2015, when Ruth Davidson and her Tories went enthusiastically around the country riding on a manifesto that pledged a referendum on the EU? 

“It is Brexit, more than anything else that has destabilised the UK.  ”

Billy McCauley from Glasgow Anniesland CLP told delegates that nobody joined the party to talk about the constitution because “our party does not exist to talk politics. Our party exists to do politics”.

“While the main question for the SNP is my country: right or wrong, the question within our movement is country: right or left. My country, who owns it and who should own it?” Billy McCauley from Glasgow Anniesland CLP. 

McCauley went only say that the party is in existence “to change lives and communities”. He said: “While we have a National Health Service that is being failed every single day by the SNP, with more and more families struggling to find a home, with communities feeling further and further away from prosperity, it seems perverse then to talk about the constitution.

“While the main question for the SNP is my country: right or wrong, the question within our movement is country: right or left. My country, who owns it and who should own it.

“In other words, where does power lie, and where should power lie?”

The motion was passed by delegates at the conference.

Picture courtesy of Open Rights Group

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