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SNP add their support to Citizen Convention

The SNP have joined Plaid Cymru and the Green Party in backing our call for a Citizens' Convention to reform the UK's outdated and unjust constitutional arrangements.

You can read the full text of our open letter calling for reform and the wide alliance of those who form the movement for constitutional reform.

Ian Blackford MP responded to Gavin Barker, who is coordinating the movement for constitutional reform, as follows:

Dear Gavin Barker,

Thank you for your letter regarding the introduction of a citizens’ convention on a written constitution – please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

Firstly, I share the many concerns across the UK that the government in Westminster is far too interested in keeping powers within itself instead of understanding the desire for devolution and need for the UK government to devolve more powers to local government.

We have seen in the past that successive governments at Westminster dragged their feet on Mayoral elections – although it was good to see some progress on that last year. Moreover, there are many decisions taken by the central UK government – like HS2 - that fosters a sense of detachment for countries and regions within the UK, which is a sentiment we can wholly sympathise with.

The SNP has a longstanding view that the current constitutional settlement is outdated and archaic. It will come as no surprise that we believe independence can provide an opportunity to modernise Scottish democracy on the basis of a written constitution, setting out the way the country is government and the rights of citizens.

During the independence referendum campaign in 2014, we published a draft written constitution putting at its heart the sovereignty of the Scottish people. Indeed, we advocated that a constitutional convention would ensure a participative and inclusive process by which the people of Scotland, as well as politicians, civic society organisations, business interests, trade unions, local authorities and others, can have a direct role in shaping the constitution.

As you will be aware, the SNP has long called for the transfer of power from Westminster to Scotland and we make no secret of the fact that we think the form of government best suited to the needs of people in Scotland is an independent one. We believe that a written constitution is necessary in any modern democracy; our own party’s constitution states that the restoration of national sovereignty includes the Scottish Parliament having full powers, limited only by the sovereign power of the Scottish people and should be bound to a written constitution.

A constitutional convention for Scotland is something we in the SNP believe in. It can help to modernise the current outdated structure and would also provide an opportunity to opine on the things that really matter to Scotland and to the SNP, including; equality of opportunity; the right to live free of discrimination and prejudice; a constitutional ban on nuclear weapons being based in Scotland; social and economic rights, such as the right to education, the right to healthcare and protections for children.

The SNP understand the need for ordinary people to take control over their lives and shape their own future. I fully support the principles of what you and others are trying to achieve through a constitutional convention and wish you the best in your efforts.

Dr Simon Duffy, Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform said:

Thanks to the SNP for adding their support to the movement for constitutional reform. After 40 years of attacks on social justice, increasing inequality and the growing privatisation of our national life it is time to create a new foundation for our community life - not just new politicians - but a new kind of politics. We hope other political and civil society leaders will join us in recognising that now is the time for fundamental reform.

If you want to support our campaign for a Citizens' Convention please contact Gavin Barker directly.

You can also follow @CitizenReform.