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Royal Commission on the Constitution (UK) Crowther Commission (1969), then Kilbrandon Commission (report published 31 October 1973)

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Presentation on theme: "Royal Commission on the Constitution (UK) Crowther Commission (1969), then Kilbrandon Commission (report published 31 October 1973)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Royal Commission on the Constitution (UK) Crowther Commission (1969), then Kilbrandon Commission (report published 31 October 1973)

2 Origins set up by Harold Wilson (Lab PM) on 15 April 1969 in response to demands for home rule or independence context: Plaid Cymru by-election victory 1966 (Gwynfor Evans), SNP Winnie Ewing in Hamilton Growing protest. Prince of Wales' investiture 1969.

3 Prince of Wales The investiture of The Prince of Wales, during which the 20-year-old Prince received the insignia as the 21st Prince of Wales from The Queen, took place on 1st July, 1969, at Caernarfon Castle in front of 4,000 guests inside the medieval walls.

4 Prince of Wales

5 Crowther Report When Crowther died the report was chaired by Lord Kilbrandon. A "minority report" or memorandum of dissent was produced by Lord Crowther- Hunt and Prof Alan Peacock

6 Kilbrandon Report Conclusions on forms of devolution appropriate for the UK First, defects to be remedied: centralisation, feeling decisions should be taken closer to population; too much centralisation placing strain on Westminster and Whitehall, hence delay (#1096)

7 Kilbrandon Report majority in favour of moderate amount of devolution, though devolution not well understood (#1097). sense weakened democracy: too much going on "behind closed doors" (#1099)

8 Kilbrandon Report While only minority separatist, many people "wish their distinctive national identities to be recognized" (#1100) Some feel that while they recognize Scotland and Wales well funded, better use could be made if specifically Socttish and Welsh solutions. UK wide plans often inapplicable (#1101).

9 Kilbrandon Report No serious dissatisfaction with govt. but less attachment to govt than in past (#1102). "We believe that the essential political and economic unity of the United Kingdom should be preserved. Subject to that, diversity should be recognised" (#1102).

10 Kilbrandon Report Report rejects separatism and federalism (#1106) Principle equal rights and treatment throughout UK. "Rights conferred on one component of the UK cannot be denied in another." (#1108).

11 Kilbrandon Report "The grant of a measure of self-government to Scotland or Wales alone, with nothing comparable in the English regions, would produce a situation of intolerable anomaly and injustice. If Scotland and Wales continued to have representation at Westminster (as we unanimously recommend) Scottish and Welsh citizens would enjoy two votes—" (#1108).

12 Kilbrandon Report "one for a representative in their national assembly and one for a representative in the UK Parliament—to the Englishman's one, and the Scottish and Welsh assemblies would enjoy complete autonomy in the domestic functions devolved to them, while the Enngish would be denied a similar autonomy in purely English affairs, which would continue to be...." (#1108).

13 Kilbrandon Report "... determined by a Parliament including a large number of Scottish and Welsh members... In the view of the two of us who take a minority view this is unacceptable, and would be unacceptable to the Englsih people" (#1108).

14 Kilbrandon Report "The rest of us do not take this view, and consider that neither on grounds of principle nor for any practical reason is it necessary for the same system of government to be applied to all parts of the country." (#1109).

15 Kilbrandon Report No clear idea about what the people want in Scotland and Wales—not surprisingly, as they don't really know what is on offer. (#1112).

16 Kilbrandon Report Opinion divided in Scotland: some want continuation of present systm which is in some ways advantageous; others want devolved assembly (#1117). Support for the latter is growing and is likely to continue to do so. (#1118). This would be appropriate means "of recognising Scotland's identity and of giving expression to its national consciousness" (#1119)

17 Kilbrandon Report It would give Scotland a voice, be able to spend more time on Scottish affairs and enhance democratic accountability. (#1119) Wales has had a developing, though less extensive, system of administrative devolution. Many think Wales would need to keep a "strong voice at the centre" (#1120)

18 Kilbrandon Report There is however a lot of support for a Welsh assembly. No less strong a feeling in Wales that national identity should be preserved, "and this is reinforced by concern for the Welsh economy and the Welsh language and institutions". (#1121) Wales small; difficult for UK to devote enough time to Welsh affairs (#1122)

19 Kilbrandon Report Preferred solutions: Eight members preferred legislative devolution to Scotland, all but two also to Wales (#1123). Assemblies would legislate on "specifically defined matters" (#1125) "Parliament would retain ultimate legislative authority in all matters, but it would be a convention that...

20 Kilbrandon Report in the ordinary course this power would not be used to legislate for Scotland or Wales on a transferred matter without the agreement of the Socttish or Welsh Government. The power would, however, be available for use at any time without agreement in exceptional circumstances (#1126).

21 Kilbrandon Report "Preferred solutions: transferred matters— Local govt, Town and Country Planning, New towns, Housing, Building Control, Water, Monuments, Roads and Vehicle Licensing, Road Passenger Transport, Harbours, Environmental services, Education (except universities?), youth, sport Arts & culture..." (#1108).

22 Kilbrandon Report "... Social work, health, agriculture, fisheries and food, Crown Estates, Tourism, and, to the Scottish assembly only, Police, Fire services, Criminal policy, Prisons, Administration of justice, Legal matters and law reform, Highlands and Islands development and sea transport" (#1132).

23 Kilbrandon Report "Scotland and Wales would continue to be represented in Parliament. Their representation in proportion to population would be the same as that for England". This would reduce number of MPs from 71 to about 57 in Scotland and from 36 to about 31 in Wales. (#1147).

24 Kilbrandon Report Other schemes: Executive devolution. (# ), a Welsh Advisory Council (# ) and a Scottish Council with advisory and legislative functions (# ). Some proposals were also made for a degree of Executive Devolution to England (#1190)

25 Kilbrandon Report Agreement though that no plans were to be made for legislative devolution to England (#1188).

26 Kilbrandon Report - Memorandum of dissent Two members, Lord Crowther-Hunt and Prof Alan Peacock, felt it necessary to set down their disagreement with the findings of the commission. They felt the commission had adopted a narrow interpretation of the terms of reference to "concentrate almost exclusively on the single question of devolution" (#2a)

27 Kilbrandon Report - Memorandum of dissent They felt the majority report magnified "the extent of the social and cultural differences between Scotland, Wales and England." Soctland and Wales appear as "separate nations with distinctive values and ways of life 'struggling to be free'. In contrast there is no matching study of the more homgeneous contemporary patterns of social and cultural values and behaviour...

28 Kilbrandon Report - Memorandum of dissent which characterise all the different parts of the United Kingdom. This imbalance, we believe, has led many of our colleagues into recommending more extreme 'solutions' for Scotland and Wales than the evidence actually warrants." (#2b) Feel complaints of centralisation and weakening of democracy not justified. (#2c)

29 Kilbrandon Report - Memorandum of dissent Also feel majority have under-estimated the effect of joining the EEC. (#2e) "We cannot accept the scheme of legislative devolution for Scotland and Wales recommended in the majority report. This scheme […] would devolve to Scottish and Welsh Paliaments and Governments 'sovereign' or 'autonomous' powers...

30 Kilbrandon Report - Memorandum of dissent in a wide range of subjects […] We oppose this because:— i) we believe it makes no sense today to move 'sovereingty' downwards when in more and more subjects it is actually moving upwards—to Brussels ii) it would be giving the people of Scotland and Wales significant additional political...

31 Kilbrandon Report - Memorandum of dissent rights which would be denied to people in the different regions of England... iii) we cannot believe it is right or acceptable that the Westminster Parliament should be precluded from legislating for Scotland and Wales in a wide range of subjects […] while at the same time, about 100 Scottish and Welsh M.P.s at Westminster would have a full share...

32 Kilbrandon Report - Memorandum of dissent in legislating in these matters for England alone. (#2g)


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