Leader's speech

Starmer pledges ‘new and durable’ deal on constitution

Keir Starmer says UK is united by common bonds

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is pledging a “new and durable constitutional settlement” as part of a Contract with the British people.

In a new year address, Sir Keir offered no details on his proposed settlement beyond describing the UK as “a unique construct of four distinct national identities” with common bonds that unite it.

He said a “reckless government in Westminster that does not seem to care about what happens in Scotland erodes people’s faith in our common bonds.

“But I believe in our union of nations. I believe we are better together than any of us would be apart. I believe that each nation can speak with a progressive voice. 

“But we need a new and durable constitutional settlement. Which is why I am delighted that Gordon Brown’s Commission on the Future of the UK will chart a new course for our union of nations.”

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Sir Keir added that the UK “is complex and it can easily be exploited for political gain. as we have seen in Northern Ireland (where) the government is playing fast and loose with the peace agreement as the price of getting Brexit done.”

He described his contract as “a solemn agreement about what this country needs and how a good government should conduct itself.”

Security, Prosperity and Respect are also the values that should inform Britain’s role in the world, he said. “I am determined that Britain should profit from our strong global relationships. That means not just getting Brexit done but making Brexit work.  

“When I spoke at the CBI last November, I described how we would approach this. Making Brexit work is painstaking work, and slogans won’t cut it. My goals will be to repair the alliances that this government has damaged while also ensuring that our borders remain safe and secure.”

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