Councillor Robert Brown wants to build a new future for Scotland in the United Kingdom.
On 1 June, Liberal Democrats in Westminster launched the Constitutional Convention Bill to establish a 12 month UK Constitutional Convention. Its aim is to deliver a sustainable, balanced devolution settlement that works for the whole UK. Calling for support for the Bill, Robert Brown said that a modernised and more balanced United Kingdom was needed if the country was to meet the challenges of the 21st century:
"The future of the United Kingdom is vital for all of us – in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland alike. We have worked together across the British Isles for centuries, facing challenges in war and peace and leading the world in ideas of political and personal liberty.
But I have long been concerned about the way in which the Scottish referendum tries to force a choice on us of being Scottish or British but not both. Pitting one part of the UK against another – and one half of Scotland against the other - is no way to secure the future of our country.
I absolutely condemn the calls that have started to come from the SNP for yet another referendum. The SNP called for the last one, only 9 months ago; they said it would be a decision for a generation – and the people of Scotland decided pretty decisively that they wanted to stay in the United Kingdom. The idea of a further referendum in the near future is a democratic absurdity.
But equally it is clear that there needs to be modernisation of the way the United Kingdom operates. The Government are delivering the additional powers for the Scottish Parliament promised at the time of the referendum and agreed to by all Parties including the SNP. But we now need a Federal Britain – a proper constitutional balance between the UK and its component parts – Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the regions of England. In many ways this would be in Scotland’s interests as alliances developed with the North East and North West of England, Yorkshire, East Anglia or the South West to counter the excessive dominance of London.
That’s why I and other Liberal Democrats are backing the call for a UK Constitutional Convention – to produce proposals to modernise and revitalise Britain – a federal Britain, proportional elections to better reflect the views of the people, and a reformed Second Chamber in Westminster to act as a Federal Senate representing the nations and regions of the United Kingdom.
I hope this call will be backed by people from all political parties and wider society. A Constitutional Convention will help us reach a settlement that protects the future of the UK and delivers communities the powers they need to thrive."
The passage of the Bill through Parliament, including amendments, can be followed here.
SIGN THE PETITION TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR A UK-WIDE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION: http://www.scotlibdems.org.uk/convention