Kezia Dugdale’s keynote plan to revive Scottish Labour’s fortunes of creating a federal Britain has descended into confusion after Jeremy Corbyn failed to even mention it in his party conference speech.
The Labour leader backed Ms Dugdale’s proposals to set up a UK-wide ‘constitutional convention’ to decide how power should be distributed across the UK after Brexit.
But, speaking on the final day of the Scottish Labour conference in Perth, he did not commit the body to creating a federal UK in line with Ms Dugdale’s plan.
The blueprint was also undermined by a TV interview with the Scottish Labour leader in which she appeared to confirm that dividing England into federal regions – a key condition – was not UK party policy.
In a car-crash interview, she was also forced to deny that Sadiq Khan had implied there was “no difference” between Scottish Nationalism and racism and could not provide any evidence for her claim that Mr Corbyn could win the next general election.
Instead, in the wake of the disastrous Copeland by-election result, she warned that the decimation of Labour in Scotland was the “canary down the mine” for what is happening to the party in the North of England.
Ms Dugdale has attempted to use the conference to try and reassert her party’s Unionist credentials by repeatedly making clear her opposition to a second independence referendum.
This would involve a swathe of new powers being devolved to Holyrood, with potentially only defence, foreign affairs and the currency definitely remaining at Westminster. Ms Dugdale has claimed the convention would decide precisely what form of federalism would be adopted.
However, the English have previously shown little appetite for such an arrangement, with voters in many areas of the country rejecting the offer of creating city-regional mayors.
Jeremy Corbyn ignores Kezia Dugdale plan for federal UK in Scottish Labour speech – Telegraph.co.uk