• MySTV

Commission: Federal 'home rule' would safeguard future of UK

Report recommends constitutional shake-up with more powers handed to devolved governments.

Sir Menzies Campbell

The UK constitutional arrangement is "unsustainable" and should be replaced by a federal system, according to a commission led by a veteran MP.

A Declaration of Federal Union would give Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland more decision-making powers, the commission led by former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell concluded.

The Scottish Lib Dems asked Sir Menzies to devise a system of "home rule" for Scotland as an alternative to independence, but his final report expands the theme to "home rule all round" the UK.

The commission recognised that there has been little appetite for home rule for England, but insists that devolution and complaints about Scottish MPs voting on purely English matters - the so-called West Lothian Question - has led to a growing awareness of the need for a shake-up of the system.

Sir Menzies said it was "nonsense" to believe Scottish independence could remedy inequalities across the UK.

"I don't think the present constitutional arrangement is sustainable," Sir Menzies said at the report's launch.

"We've got the West Lothian Question, but we've also got the West Belfast Question and the West Wales Question.

"As these three components acquire more power, then I think the constitutional settlement will come under very severe pressure, and federalism is the way to relieve that pressure otherwise the break-up becomes much more likely."

The report stated: "The idea of Scots voting alone and unilaterally to change the nature of the union is a constitutional nonsense.

"A rejection of independence will enable Scotland to continue down the track towards a modern, pluralist and federal relationship with the other parts of the United Kingdom."

It added: "The new relationship might be presaged by a Declaration of Federal Union which would be more significant than drafting a federal constitution.

"The declaration could go as far as to impose a duty on government at all levels to work for the elimination of poverty and of Beveridge's other 'giants' - squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease.

"It would be a modern British equivalent to the American Declaration of Independence or the French Declaration of the Rights of Man - or indeed of our own Declaration of Arbroath or Magna Carta."

The commission stated that the proposed federal relationship "amounts to nothing less than a remodelling of the United Kingdom for the modern age".

It recommended giving Scotland home rule over income tax, bands and rates; inheritance tax; capital gains tax; aggregates levy and air passenger duty. North Sea oil revenues and welfare and pension regulations should be treated as "federal" matters and controlled by Westminster.

"Even nationalists now accept that an independent Scotland would still rely on the rest of the UK for many things," the report states.

"One of the strengths of federalism over independence is that it gives the people of Scotland an equal and continuing voice in UK decisions, whereas independence removes the Scottish voice from the UK and from influence over these key decisions."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.