Analysing the Manifestos: No radical change required?

Published: 21 November 2019

Throughout the General Election campaign, we will analyse where the parties stand on constitutional issues. Following the launch of the Labour Party's manifesto, Dr Coree Brown Swan looks at Labour commitments.

This week, the Labour Party launched their manifesto for the 2019 General Election, pledging radical change. In it, they set out their social and economic programmes, and their plan for Brexit. However, engagement with the broader constitutional questions facing the United Kingdom was minimal. Constitutional issues were presented at the end, nested under a pledge to ‘Tackle Poverty and Inequality’. The party detailed plans to abolish the House of Lords, replacing it with a Senate of the Nations and Regions and hold a constitutional convention to address some of these thorny issues, proposals all present in previous manifestos. New was a proposal to reintroduce Regional Offices to England, but this seems unlikely to fulfil the ambitions of those advocating for a more direct form of English representation. Regarding the devolved governments, Labour outlined its commitments to restore the power-sharing government in Northern Ireland, revisit the funding allocated to Wales, and invest in Scotland. On a second independence referendum, the party remained vague, saying that a referendum and independence would not be in Scotland’s interests but failed to explicitly rule it out. A Section 30 order would not be granted in the early years of a Labour government. 

Labour seems uncertain when engaging in constitutional debates and their Scottish MPs, caught between the hyper-unionism of the Conservatives and renewed calls for independence made by the SNP, may suffer for it.

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