Our still United Kingdom – A ‘quasi-federal’ future?

Murdo Fraser MSP

April 2019

One of the consequences of Brexit has been to crowd out from political discourse much discussion of further UK constitutional reform, unless we include renewed agitation from Scottish Nationalists for a second independence referendum. The irony is that the UK constitution, unwritten as it may be, will have to adapt to take account of post-Brexit arrangements. Our departure from the EU, and the disapplication of EU Law and its replacement with the new concept of ‘EU Retained Law’, as set out in the EU Withdrawal Act 2018, will require new processes, and structures, to be created within the United Kingdom. And yet, very little thinking has been done about what this all means for the British constitution, and specifically for relationships between the four nations that make up our Union.

We will face these challenges sooner than we think. And with nationalists in different parts of the United Kingdom seeking to use Brexit uncertainty for their own political ends, it is important that unionists have a coherent response. So it is time to reform our government structures to create a ‘quasi-federal’ United Kingdom. A failure to change may make the pressures pushing our four nations apart irresistible.

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