Analysing the Manifestos: The Liberal Democrats

Analysing the Manifestos: Maintaining the Union(s)

Published: 6 December 2019

Unlike Labour, the Liberal Democrats have detailed proposals for the constitutional debate, with their focus on two unions - UK and EU. In our next instalment of Analysing the Manifestos, Coree Brown Swan discusses the Liberal Democrat's pledges, asking will they resonate with voters?

Whilst Labour have sidestepped constitutional debates in its manifesto, the Liberal Democrats have detailed proposals for constitutional reform, albeit overshadowed by their pledge to reverse Brexit. They argue for a written constitution, a federal structure for the United Kingdom and the ‘radical redistribution of power away from Westminster’. Their constitutional proposals are consistent with previous iterations and reflect a federal vision of the United Kingdom. The Liberal Democrats pledged to protect and expand the devolution settlements for Scotland and Wales and restore Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions. Like its competitors, the party is vague on the issue of England, outlining some sort of reformed EVEL and proposals for extending local and regional government on an ad hoc basis. On Scotland, it is more definite – arguing against a second independence referendum and opposing independence in the event that referendum would take place. The party speaks in favour of two unions -  the United Kingdom within the European Union and Scotland within the United Kingdom, but as televised debates have demonstrated, it is unclear if this message has resonated with voters. 

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