Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Lib Dems to vote on Cornish devolution

Liberal Democrats will vote at our spring conference in March on a new policy paper bringing together a range of commitments to electoral and constitutional reform. Among the commitments will be one to bring proper devolution to Cornwall.

Until now, those in favour of devolution have tended to seek the perfect solution that suits every area. So debates about what is right in, say, Hertfordshire have tended to be to the detriment of Cornwall where our aims and case is settled and well stated.

Instead, the Lib Dems will be looking to what is known as 'asymmetric devolution'. In other words, devolving powers to one area at a time when that area is ready to make the case to central government for a transfer of powers. Cornwall would clearly be at the forefront of such moves and is specifically mentioned in the proposed policy as an area that would lead the way.

Devolution is not in the coalition agreement, so there is no chance of it being introduced by the current government. But I hope that Lib Dems will be able to push for it as part of any discussions after the general election next year. What is certain is that it is only likely to happen if we have enough support and enough MPs to make the case.

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