Labour Party Is the Party of Devolution

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“The Labour Party is the party of devolution.” Is this a reasonable statement to make? Devolution is defined as “the transfer of power to a lower level, especially by central government to local or regional administrations” (oxforddictionaries.com). It can also be defined as “the transfer of power from a superior sovereign to a subordinate parliament or assembly.” (Tonge 2010). Within a devolved state, the sovereign power retains the technical power to suspend the devolved government. Since Labour came into power in 1997 under Tony Blair, power has been devolved from Westminster to Scotland, Wales as well as Northern Ireland. Devolved government was created in both Scotland and Wales after majority referenda in the respective countries; however the majority in Wales was notably miniscule. A year later, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly were set up and after the Good Friday Agreement also in the year 1998, a Northern Ireland Assembly was actualised. Although there were plans for England to become devolved, these were shunned after a comprehensive “No” vote on a referendum for a North East assembly with a resounding 78% to 22% victory (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3984387.stm). All of the aforementioned cases of devolution were carried out under a Labour government which looking at these facts alone strongly suggests that Labour is indeed, the party of devolution. Nevertheless it would be extremely naive to neglect the other parties and events in the writing of this essay. This essay is going to examine The Labour party of the 1970s and their views towards devolution under the likes of Wilson and Callaghan. The essay will also consider devolution under New Labour, devolution widely being regarded as one of Tony Blair’s biggest triumphs during his 10 year tenure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Not only will this paper consider Labour as the party of devolution, it will also examine the Conservative party as a party of devolution looking...
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