Constitutional Convention

Graham is currently Campaigning for a Constitutional Convention to be held.

He presented a Bill in the House of Commons on the 21st July 2015, echoing the one in the House of Lords by Lord Purvis of Tweed.

We should set up a Constitutional Convention now with or without Government '"says Graham Allen after introducing a Bill in the Commons. Senior MPs of all parties are beginning the campaign for a Constitutional Convention.

“Government has an incoherent rag bag of reactive stop gap measures on our democratic future which are endangering the Union. It is not taking people or Parliament with it. We need to respond with a democratic alternative-a Constitutional Convention open to all. We need to go back to the drawing board, hold a through, citizen-led discussion and take ownership of our democracy. Only then can we build a healthy, united democracy” said Graham Allen MP

A number of senior cross-party MPs, led by Graham Allen, are supporting a Bill http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2015-2016/0010/16010.pdf  which has already been presented in the Lords and calls for a Constitutional Convention for the UK.

Supporting signatories so far include:

  • David Davis
  • Tim Farron
  • Zac Goldsmith
  • Caroline Lucas
  • Jeremy Corbyn
  • Jon Cruddas
  • Mark Durkan
  • Jeremy Lefroy
  • Alistair Carmichael

Graham presented the Bill in the House of Commons on the 21st July 2015. 

The Bill is identical to the one presented by Lord Purvis of Tweed in the House of Lords on Friday 17th July 2015.

Graham said: “There is no denying there is currently a crisis in our democracy. Changes are being made to how we are governed behind closed doors and there remains too many unanswered questions about the future of the Union, how our democracy works, English devolution, EVEL and the Human Rights Act.

The Bill has broad cross party and external support. Our democracy is not the private property of Government.  It is up to the millions of people in the UK who should ultimately decide where power lies and a convention will allow everyone to have their say on how they should be governed".

 

Letter to Labour Leadership Candidates

 

Graham with the support other Labour MPs has written to the Labour Leadership candidates to ask them their views on the creation of an English Labour Party. The letter is below:

 

Dear Liz, Jeremy, Andy and Yvette,

We are writing to you to ask that you put your view on an English Labour Party into the public domain.

We believe that the concept of a Federal Labour Party and a Federal UK is something that our party should explore as part of Labours offer and vision for 2020.

There is no doubt if we look back in 10 or 20 years’ time we will see that the devolution struggle is a series of steps on the way to a federal structure which is commonplace in most Western democracies. We hope you will undertake to encourage this debate to range far and wide before settling on a clear party position, the debate should encompass those who believe that a written settlement is essential for our democracy to those who just want to take a little further a good old British evolutionary approach.

To facilitate this we would ask that you commit not only to the idea of a Constitutional Convention but take the lead now in establishing one [while in opposition]with all elements of political and civil society who will participate.

Our policy position coming into 2015 failed to seize the excitement around devolution generated by the Scottish referendum and missed the chance to have a clear position of opposition to the stifling, overcentralised Whitehall model. We should oppose separatism as strongly as over centralisation and have a clear model of devolved power to each of the nations of the Union with a Labour party structure strong enough and flexible enough to deliver it.

At one level it is already happening ,England could evolve through the next 5 years until half the local authorities are devolved, similarly devolution in Wales is moving swiftly. However both  in England and in Wales we are in danger of repeating Labour’s recent story from Scotland. A hope that things will turn out ok, the party in some places being the conservative establishment, not responding to people’s wishes but appearing to be  centrally designed and above all a failure to really believe with a passion in devolution such that electors will look  elsewhere.

That is why this is a Party as well as democratic question. Our party structures need to facilitate and reflect the separate national debates that are necessary and home grow the distinct devolution answers that each nation in the union will be most comfortable with. This requires the  pre-requisite of a revived federal labour party where Scotland, England, Wales can each find their voice and representative capacity but nonetheless are still part of the  transcending architecture of a federal party with a more generalised manifesto and all the party conference governance structures etc. A devolved party structure will feed a devolving democracy and vice versa.

We are therefore asking the leadership candidates whatever their personal views to lead the debate on the big concept of a federal labour party and a federal UK. We and the many supporters of this view in the council chambers and ward parties will happily help organise this discussion. We and our Party look forward to hearing your view on these issues and how we can take this forward together.

Best wishes,

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham.  

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool

Graham Allen MP for Nottingham North.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader Manchester City Council.

Judith Blake Leader Leeds City Council

Chuka Umunna MP for Streatham

Chi Onwurah MP Newcastle upon Tyne Central 

Jon Collins Leader Nottm City

Frank Field MP for Birkenhead

Sarah Champion MP for Rotherham 

Steve Reed MP Croydon North

Rob Flello MP for Stoke on Trent South.

Keith Vaz MP Leicester East 

Stephen Twigg MP Liverpool West Derby

Rosie Cooper MP West Lancashire.

Matthew Pennycook MP for Greenwich and Woolwich

Andrew Smith MP for Oxford East

Justin Madders MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston

Catherine West MP for Hornsey and Wood Green

Rob Marris MP for Wolverhampton South West

 

[and others]