In a previous discussion paper published by the Constitutional Commission, the case for ‘Secure autonomy’ as an alternative to ‘Devo-Max’ or Federalism was made. Secure autonomy would be a ‘Scotland-only’ solution that would leave the rest of the UK unchanged.
In contrast, this draft constitution for a Confederal UK shows an example of how we could achieve a similar arrangement for all parts of the UK. Full-scale federalism like in Canada, Australia or Germany would still be too centralised and top heavy, and would be thrown off balance by the size of England. However, a looser confederation would be feasible. The essence of this would be ‘Secure Autonomy all round’, with simple confederal institutions having responsibility for defence, foreign affairs, passports, immigration, and a few minor sundries, backed up with voluntary co-operation mechanisms in a few other policy areas.
This arrangement would enable Westminster to continue as the Parliament of England, while a limited range of confederal powers – relating to the Crown, defence, foreign policy, the currency, passports, and a few incidentals – would be vested in a new Confederal Assembly. Each ‘State’ would be able to adopt its own institutions within a broad constitutional framework that would secure fundamental rights and help protect the integrity of political processes.
Read the draft Constitution in full here:A draft Constitution for a confederal UK.