Labour prepares to push power out of Westminster with a long-awaited report

Elliot Chappell
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Keir Starmer will unveil a report on constitutional reform this morning. Commissioned in 2020 and led by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the long-awaited document sets out what the Labour leader described today as “the biggest transfer of power, of wealth, resource and opportunity to all places across the UK”. The report makes 40 recommendations on devolving power out of London to boost growth with “real and lasting economic and political devolution across our towns, communities and to people across the country”. The document rests on four “pillars”: 1) national purpose; 2) devolution from Westminster; 3) reforms of parliament; and 4) local growth.

Labour has emphasised plans within the report to establish ‘clusters’ of economic activity by creating new powers for mayors, local councils and devolved governments. This is not “some academic report”, Starmer told BBC Breakfast viewers this morning, but is “grounded in my real, core belief that if we come into government in the next couple of years – and I hope that we will – we have to fix our economy and we have to fix our politics”. The Labour leader argued that not using “all the resources, all the innovation, all the ability and talent that we’ve got across the whole of the country” is a key reason “our economy has failed over the last 12 years”. The Labour leader promised that the constitutional reform blueprint will ensure decisions are made as close to people as possible, adding: “And that includes the revenue, that includes the money.”

Unsurprisingly, plans to scrap the House of Lords have perhaps been the most eye-catching so far. Starmer described the body as “indefensible” and told viewers that his party would replace it with an “elected chamber that has really strong missions” that, for example, would include protecting the devolution settlement. Asked whether Labour would axe the Lords in its first term in government, Starmer said he is “keen” to implement the recommendations “as soon as possible”. “The reason we’re having the consultation now, before the election, is because I’m absolutely determined that an incoming Labour government will be a government of delivery,” he said. “All of the recommendations in the report, including the recommendation in relation to the House of Lords, are deliberately written in a way that means they can be implemented within the first five years of a Labour government.”

Starmer will launch the report at 10am in Leeds, alongside Gordon Brown and Labour’s mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin. Also on LabourList for readers this morning, Andrew Dyson writes about his new report for Progressive Britain and the challenges facing Labour, Martin Wicks explains that Right to Buy can never be a ‘sustainable’ policy, and Momentum’s Martin Abrams argues that “Labour’s parliamentary selection process is under major scrutiny – and for good reason” as “local left-wing candidates are being blocked from standing”.

We also have some exciting LabourList announcements today. As the leading place for news, views and debate on the Labour Party and labour movement – and as we head towards a general election – we are beefing up our operations and growing our team. LabourList has brought in Cathleen Clarke as business manager to boost our fundraising efforts and to help put us on a more sustainable footing. Cathleen comes to LabourList with experience working with local and national campaigns – if your organisation or campaign would like to partner with us, email Cathleen for more details. Meanwhile, our dedicated colleague Katie Neame is being promoted to senior reporter. LabourList will be delivering more of the content that we know our readers value, and continuing to keep it free, as we look towards the prospect of a Labour government. You can expect more events and other exciting initiatives from the New Year. Stay tuned for more.

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