Devolution in the United Kingdom
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In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...

United Kingdom
, devolution is the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
's
statutory A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contraste ...

statutory
granting of a greater level of
self-government __NOTOC__ Self-governance, self-government, or self-rule is the ability of a person or group to exercise all necessary functions of regulation without intervention from an external authority (sociology), authority. It may refer to personal co ...
to the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Pairlament) is the devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyrood area of the capital ...

Scottish Parliament
, the
Senedd The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English language, English and () in Welsh language, Welsh, is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes ...

Senedd
(Welsh Parliament), the
Northern Ireland Assembly sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie , legislature = Seventh Assembly , coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg , coa_res = 250px , house_type = Unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''came ...
and the
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds super-majority, to amend the Mayor's annual budget and to rejec ...
and to their associated executive bodies the Scottish Government, the
Welsh Government The Welsh Government ( cy, Llywodraeth Cymru) is the Welsh devolution, devolved government of Wales. The government consists of ministers and Minister (government), deputy ministers, and also of a Counsel General for Wales, counsel general. Minist ...
, the
Northern Ireland Executive The Northern Ireland Executive is the devolution, devolved government of Northern Ireland, an administrative branch of the legislature – the Northern Ireland Assembly. It is answerable to the assembly and was initially established according ...
and in England, the
Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved Regions of England, regional governance body of Greater London. It consists of two political branches: the exec ...
and
combined authorities A combined authority is a type of local government in England, local government institution introduced in England outside Greater London by the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. Combined authorities are created v ...
.
Devolution Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a polity, political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimat ...
differs from
federalism Federalism is a combined or compound mode of government that combines a general government (the central or "federal" government) with regional governments ( provincial, state, cantonal, territorial, or other sub-unit governments) in a singl ...

federalism
in that the devolved powers of the subnational authority ultimately reside in central government, thus the state remains, ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'', a
unitary state A unitary state is a sovereign state governed as a single entity in which the central government is the supreme authority. The central government may create (or abolish) administrative division Administrative division, administrative un ...
.
Legislation Legislation is the process or result of enrolling, enacting, or promulgating laws by a legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign st ...
creating devolved
parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...

parliament
s or assemblies can be
repeal A repeal (O.F. ''rapel'', modern ''rappel'', from ''rapeler'', ''rappeler'', revoke, ''re'' and ''appeler'', appeal) is the removal or reversal of a law. There are two basic types of repeal; a repeal with a re-enactment is used to replace the law ...
ed or amended by parliament in the same way as any statute. Legislation passed following the EU membership referendum, including the
United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 The United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 is an Act of Parliament, act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in December 2020. It is concerned with trade within the UK, as the UK is no longer subject to EU law. The act seeks to preven ...
, has undermined and restricted the authority of the devolved legislatures in both Scotland and Wales.


Irish home rule

The issue of
Irish home rule The Irish Home Rule movement was a movement that campaigned for Devolution, self-government (or "home rule") for Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was the dominant political movement of Irish nationalism from 1 ...
was the dominant political question of
British
British
politics at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Earlier in the 19th century, Irish politicians like
Daniel O'Connell Daniel O'Connell (I) ( ga, Dónall Ó Conaill; 6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847), hailed in his time as The Liberator, was the acknowledged political leader of Ireland's Roman Catholic majority in the first half of the 19th century. His mobilizat ...

Daniel O'Connell
had demanded a
repeal A repeal (O.F. ''rapel'', modern ''rappel'', from ''rapeler'', ''rappeler'', revoke, ''re'' and ''appeler'', appeal) is the removal or reversal of a law. There are two basic types of repeal; a repeal with a re-enactment is used to replace the law ...
of the
Act of Union 1800 Act or ACT may refer to: Arts and entertainment * A.C.T, a Swedish band * Act (band), a British band * Act (drama), a segment of a play or opera * ACT Music, a German music label * ACT Theatre, in Seattle, Washington, US * Acting, theatr ...
and a return to two separate kingdoms and parliaments, united only in the personal union of the monarch of Great Britain and Ireland. In contrast to this, demands for home rule called for autonomy for Ireland within the United Kingdom, with a subsidiary Irish parliament subject to the authority of the parliament at Westminster. This issue was first introduced by the
Irish Parliamentary Party The Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP; commonly called the Irish Party or the Home Rule Party) was formed in 1874 by Isaac Butt, the leader of the Nationalist Party (Ireland), Nationalist Party, replacing the Home Rule League, as official parliament ...
led by
Isaac Butt Isaac Butt (6 September 1813 – 5 May 1879) was an Irish barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks inclu ...
, William Shaw and
Charles Stewart Parnell Charles Stewart Parnell (27 June 1846 – 6 October 1891) was an Irish nationalist politician who served as a Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) from 1875 to 1891, also acting as Leader of the Home Rule League fr ...

Charles Stewart Parnell
. Over the course of four decades, four Irish Home Rule Bills were introduced into the British Parliament: * the First Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1886 by Prime Minister
William Ewart Gladstone William Ewart Gladstone ( ; 29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British statesman and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal politician. In a career lasting over 60 years, he served for 12 years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread ...

William Ewart Gladstone
. Following intense opposition in Ulster and the departure of Unionists from Gladstone's
Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics ...
, the bill was defeated in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...

House of Commons
. * the Second Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1893 by Prime Minister Gladstone and passed the Commons but was rejected in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...

House of Lords
. * the Third Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1912 by Prime Minister H. H. Asquith based on an agreement with the Irish Parliamentary Party. After a prolonged parliamentary struggle it was passed under the provisions of the
Parliament Act 1911 The Parliament Act 1911 (1 & 2 Geo. 5 c. 13) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the Uni ...

Parliament Act 1911
, under which the Commons overruled the veto by the Lords. Again, this bill was fiercely opposed by Ulster Unionists who raised the
Ulster Volunteers The Ulster Volunteers was an Irish Unionism in Ireland, unionist, Ulster loyalism, loyalist paramilitary organisation founded in 1912 to block devolution, domestic self-government ("Home Rule Act 1914, Home Rule") for Ireland, which was then p ...
and signed the
Ulster Covenant
Ulster Covenant
to oppose the bill, thereby raising the spectre of civil war. The act received royal assent (with restrictions in regard to Ulster) shortly after the outbreak of
World War I World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...

World War I
but implementation was suspended until after the war's conclusion. Attempts at implementation failed in 1916 and 1917 and the subsequent
Irish War of Independence The Irish War of Independence () or Anglo-Irish War was a guerrilla war fought in Ireland from 1919 to 1921 between the Irish Republican Army (1919–1922), Irish Republican Army (IRA, the army of the Irish Republic) and United Kingdom of Gre ...
(1919–1922) resulted in it never coming into force. * The Fourth Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1920 by Prime Minister
David Lloyd George David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1916 to 1922. He was a Liberal Party (United Kingdom), Liberal Party politician from Wales, known for lea ...

David Lloyd George
and passed both houses of parliament. It divided Ireland into
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...

Northern Ireland
(six counties) and Southern Ireland (twenty-six counties), which each had their own parliament and judiciary but which also shared some common institutions. The Act was implemented in Northern Ireland, where it served as the basis of government until its suspension in 1972 following the outbreak of
the Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trioblóidí) were an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years from the late 1960s to 1998. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "i ...
. The southern parliament convened only once and in 1922, under the
Anglo-Irish Treaty The 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty ( ga , An Conradh Angla-Éireannach), commonly known in Ireland as The Treaty and officially the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland, was an agreement between the government of the ...
, Southern Ireland became the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a State (polity), state established in December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. The treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independ ...
, a
dominion The term ''Dominion'' is used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was first accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Un ...

dominion
within the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...

British Empire
, and was declared fully sovereign in 1937 (see
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland (), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 Counties of Ireland, counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern ...

Republic of Ireland
).


Northern Ireland

Home Rule came into effect for
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...

Northern Ireland
in 1921 under the
Government of Ireland Act 1920 The Government of Ireland Act 1920 (10 & 11 Geo. 5 c. 67) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislativ ...
("Fourth Home Rule Act"). The
Parliament of Northern Ireland The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended because of its inability to restore ord ...
established under that act was prorogued (the session ended) on 30 March 1972 owing to the destabilisation of Northern Ireland upon the onset of
the Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trioblóidí) were an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years from the late 1960s to 1998. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "i ...
in late 1960s. This followed escalating violence by state and paramilitary organisations following the suppression of civil rights demands by Northern Ireland Catholics. The
Northern Ireland Parliament The Parliament of Northern Ireland was the home rule legislature of Northern Ireland, created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, which sat from 7 June 1921 to 30 March 1972, when it was suspended because of its inability to restore ord ...
was abolished by the
Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 The Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which received the royal assent on 18 July 1973. The Act abolished the suspended Parliament of Northern Ireland and the post of Gov ...
, which received royal assent on 19 July 1973. A
Northern Ireland Assembly sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie , legislature = Seventh Assembly , coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg , coa_res = 250px , house_type = Unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''came ...
was elected on 28 June 1973 and following the
Sunningdale Agreement The Sunningdale Agreement was an attempt to establish a power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive (1974), Northern Ireland Executive and a cross-border Council of Ireland (1970s), Council of Ireland. The agreement was signed at Sunningdale Park l ...
, a power-sharing
Northern Ireland Executive The Northern Ireland Executive is the devolution, devolved government of Northern Ireland, an administrative branch of the legislature – the Northern Ireland Assembly. It is answerable to the assembly and was initially established according ...
was formed on 1 January 1974. This collapsed on 28 May 1974, due to the
Ulster Workers' Council strike The Ulster Workers' Council (UWC) strike was a general strike that took place in Northern Ireland between 15 May and 28 May 1974, during "the Troubles". The strike was called by Unionism in Ireland, unionists who were against the Sunningdale Ag ...
. The Troubles continued. The Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention (1975–1976) and second
Northern Ireland Assembly sco-ulster, Norlin Airlan Assemblie , legislature = Seventh Assembly , coa_pic = File:NI_Assembly.svg , coa_res = 250px , house_type = Unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''came ...
(1982–1986) were unsuccessful at restoring devolution. In the absence of devolution and power-sharing, the
UK Government ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal Arms , date_es ...
and
Irish Government The Government of Ireland ( ga, Rialtas na hÉireann) is the cabinet that exercises executive authority in Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, ...
formally agreed to co-operate on security, justice and political progress in the Anglo-Irish Agreement, signed on 15 November 1985. More progress was made after the ceasefires by the
Provisional IRA The Irish Republican Army (IRA; ), also known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and informally as the Provos, was an Irish republicanism, Irish republican paramilitary organisation that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland, fa ...
in 1994 and 1997. The 1998
Belfast Agreement The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of The Troubles, a po ...
(also known as the Good Friday Agreement), resulted in the creation of a new Northern Ireland Assembly, intended to bring together the two communities (
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation should be congruent with the State (polity), state. As a movement, nationalism tends to promote the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of peo ...
and unionist) to govern Northern Ireland.Jackson, Alvin (2003) ''Home Rule, an Irish History 1800–2000'', . Additionally, renewed devolution in Northern Ireland was conditional on co-operation between the newly established
Northern Ireland Executive The Northern Ireland Executive is the devolution, devolved government of Northern Ireland, an administrative branch of the legislature – the Northern Ireland Assembly. It is answerable to the assembly and was initially established according ...
and the
Government of Ireland The Government of Ireland ( ga, Rialtas na hÉireann) is the cabinet (government), cabinet that exercises executive (government), executive authority in Republic of Ireland, Ireland. The Constitution of Ireland vests executive authority in a gove ...
through a new all-Ireland body, the
North/South Ministerial Council The North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) ( ga, An Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh-Theas, Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is a body established under the Good Friday Agreement to co-ordinate activity and exercise certain governmental powers ac ...
. A British–Irish Council covering the whole British Isles and a
British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference The British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC) is an intergovernmental organisation established by the Governments of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocea ...
(between the British and Irish Governments) were also established. From 15 October 2002, the Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended due to a breakdown in the
Northern Ireland peace process The Northern Ireland peace process includes the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire, the end of most of the violence of the Troubles, the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, and subsequent political developm ...
but, on 13 October 2006, the British and Irish governments announced the
St Andrews Agreement The St Andrews Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Chill Rímhinn; Ulster Scots: ''St Andra's 'Greement'', ''St Andrew's Greeance'' or ''St Andrae's Greeance'') is an agreement between the British and Irish governments and Northern Ireland No ...
, a 'road map' to restore devolution to Northern Ireland.. On 26 March 2007,
Democratic Unionist Party The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist, Ulster loyalism, loyalist, and National conservatism, national conservative political party in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, ...
(DUP) leader
Ian Paisley Ian Richard Kyle Paisley, Baron Bannside, (6 April 1926 – 12 September 2014) was a Northern Irish loyalist politician and Protestant religious leader who served as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from 1971 to 2008 and Fir ...
met
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, "Ourselves") is an Irish republican and democratic socialist political party active throughout both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The History of Sinn Féin, original Sinn Féin organisation was foun ...

Sinn Féin
leader
Gerry Adams Gerard Adams ( ga, Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh; born 6 October 1948) is an Irish republican politician who was the president of Sinn Féin between 13 November 1983 and 10 February 2018, and served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Louth (Dáil constituency ...
for the first time and together announced that a devolved government would be returning to Northern Ireland. The Executive was restored on 8 May 2007. Several policing and justice powers were transferred to the Assembly on 12 April 2010. The 2007–2011 Assembly (the third since the 1998 Agreement) was dissolved on 24 March 2011 in preparation for an
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative ...

election
to be held on Thursday 5 May 2011, this being the first Assembly since the Good Friday Agreement to complete a full term. The fifth Assembly convened in May 2016. That assembly dissolved on 26 January 2017, and an
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative ...

election
for a reduced Assembly was held on 2 March 2017 but this did not lead to formation of a new Executive due to the collapse of power-sharing. Power-sharing collapsed in Northern Ireland due to the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. On 11 January 2020, after having been suspended for almost three years, the parties reconvened on the basis of an agreement proposed by the Irish and UK governments.


Scotland

The
Acts of Union 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Act of Parliament, Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act 1707 passed by the Parliament of Scotland. They put ...
merged the Scottish and English Parliaments into a single
Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts ratified the treaty of Union which created a new unified Kin ...
. Ever since, individuals and organisations advocated the return of a Scottish Parliament. The drive for home rule for Scotland first took concrete shape in the 19th century, as demands for home rule in Ireland were met with similar (although not as widespread) demands in Scotland. The National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights was established in 1853, a body close to the Scottish Unionist Party and motivated by a desire to secure more focus on Scottish problems in response to what they felt was undue attention being focused on Ireland by the then Liberal government. In 1871,
William Ewart Gladstone William Ewart Gladstone ( ; 29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British statesman and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal politician. In a career lasting over 60 years, he served for 12 years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread ...

William Ewart Gladstone
stated at a meeting held in
Aberdeen Aberdeen (; sco, Aiberdeen ; gd, Obar Dheathain ; la, Aberdonia) is a city in North East Scotland, and is the List of towns and cities in Scotland by population, third most populous city in the country. Aberdeen is one of Scotland's 32 Loc ...
that if Ireland was to be granted home rule, then the same should apply to Scotland. A Scottish home rule bill was presented to the
Westminster Parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
in 1913 but the legislative process was interrupted by the
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
. The demands for political change in the way in which Scotland was run changed dramatically in the 1920s when Scottish nationalists started to form various organisations. The Scots National League was formed in 1920 in favour of
Scottish independence Scottish independence ( gd, Neo-eisimeileachd na h-Alba; sco, Scots unthirldom) is the idea of Scotland as a sovereign state, independent from the United Kingdom, and refers to the political movement that is campaigning to bring it about. S ...
, and this movement was superseded in 1928 by the formation of the National Party of Scotland, which became the
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist and social democracy, social democratic list of political parties in Scotland, political party ...
(SNP) in 1934. At first the SNP sought only the establishment of a devolved Scottish assembly, but in 1942 they changed this to support all-out independence. This caused the resignation of John MacCormick from the SNP and he formed the
Scottish Covenant Association The Scottish Covenant Association was a non-partisan political organisation in Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Bri ...
. This body proved to be the biggest mover in favour of the formation of a Scottish assembly, collecting over two million signatures in the late 1940s and early 1950s and attracting support from across the political spectrum. However, without formal links to any of the political parties it withered, devolution and the establishment of an assembly were put on the political back burner.
Harold Wilson James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from October 1964 to June 1970, and again from March 1974 to April 1976. He ...
's Labour government set up a Royal Commission on the Constitution in 1969, which reported in 1973 to
Edward Heath Sir Edward Richard George Heath (9 July 191617 July 2005), often known as Ted Heath, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conserv ...
's Conservative government. The Commission recommended the formation of a devolved Scottish assembly, but was not implemented. Support for the SNP reached 30% in the October 1974 general election, with 11 SNP MPs being elected. In 1978 the Labour government passed the Scotland Act which legislated for the establishment of a Scottish Assembly, provided the Scots voted for such in a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
. However, the Labour Party was bitterly divided on the subject of devolution. An amendment to the Scotland Act that had been proposed by Labour MP George Cunningham, who shortly afterwards defected to the newly formed Social Democratic Party (SDP), required 40% of the total electorate to vote in favour of an assembly. Despite officially favouring it, considerable numbers of Labour members opposed the establishment of an assembly. This division contributed to only a narrow 'Yes' majority being obtained, and the failure to reach Cunningham's 40% threshold. The 18 years of Conservative government, under
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. S ...
and then
John Major Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997, and as Member of Parliament ...
, saw strong resistance to any proposal for devolution for
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
, and for
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
. In response to Conservative dominance, in 1989 the Scottish Constitutional Convention was formed encompassing the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and the
Scottish Green Party The Scottish Greens (also known as the Scottish Green Party; gd, Pàrtaidh Uaine na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Green Pairtie) are a green Green is the color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual percepti ...
,
local authorities Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-loca ...
, and sections of "civic Scotland" like Scottish Trades Union Congress, the Small Business Federation and
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland ( sco, The Kirk o Scotland; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba) is the national church in Scotland. The Church of Scotland was principally shaped by John Knox, in the Scottish Reformation, Reformation of 1560, when it split from t ...
and the other major churches in Scotland. Its purpose was to devise a scheme for the formation of a devolution settlement for Scotland. The SNP decided to withdraw as independence was not a constitutional option countenanced by the convention. The convention produced its final report in 1995. In May 1997, the Labour government of
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He pr ...
was elected with a promise of creating devolved institutions in Scotland. In late 1997, a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
was held which resulted in a "yes" vote. The newly created
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Pairlament) is the devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameralism, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood, Edinburgh, Holyrood area of the capital ...

Scottish Parliament
(as a result of the
Scotland Act 1998 The Scotland Act 1998 (c. 46) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which legislated for the establishment of the Devolution, devolved Scottish Parliament with tax varying powers and the Scottish Government (then S ...
) has powers to make primary
legislation Legislation is the process or result of enrolling, enacting, or promulgating laws by a legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign st ...
in all areas of policy which are not expressly 'reserved' for the UK Government and parliament such as national defence and international affairs. Note that 76% of Scotland's revenue and 36% of its spending are 'reserved'. Devolution for Scotland was justified on the basis that it would make government more representative of the people of Scotland. It was argued that the population of Scotland felt detached from the Westminster government (largely because of the policies of the
Conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
governments led by
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. S ...
and
John Major Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997, and as Member of Parliament ...
). Critics however point out that the Scottish Parliament’s power is on most measures surpassed by the parliaments of regions or provinces within federations, where regional and national parliaments are each sovereign within their spheres of jurisdiction. A referendum on Scottish independence was held on 18 September 2014, with the referendum being defeated 55.3% (No) to 44.7% (Yes). In the
2015 United Kingdom general election The 2015 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday, 7 May 2015 to elect List of MPs elected in the 2015 United Kingdom general election, 650 members to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons. It was the first an ...
the SNP won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats with 50% of all Scottish votes. This saw the SNP replace the Liberal Democrats as the third largest in the UK Parliament. In the 2016 Scottish Parliament election the SNP fell two seats short of an overall majority with 63 seats but remained in government for a third term. The proportional electoral system used for Holyrood elections makes it very difficult for any party to gain a majority. The
Scottish Conservatives The Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party ( gd, Pàrtaidh Tòraidheach na h-Alba, sco, Scots Tory an Unionist Pairty), often known simply as the Scottish Conservatives and colloquially as the Scottish Tories, is a centre-right Centre-rig ...
won 31 seats and became the second largest party for the first time.
Scottish Labour Scottish Labour ( gd, Pàrtaidh Làbarach na h-Alba, sco, Scots Labour Pairty; officially the Scottish Labour Party) is a social democracy, social democratic political party in Scotland. It is an autonomous section of the UK Labour Party (U ...
, down to 24 seats from 38, fell to third place. The
Scottish Greens The Scottish Greens (also known as the Scottish Green Party; gd, Pàrtaidh Uaine na h-Alba ; sco, Scots Green Pairtie) are a green Green is the color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual percepti ...
took 6 seats and overtook the Liberal Democrats who remained flat at 5 seats. Following the 2016 referendum on EU membership, where Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain and
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
and
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
voted to Leave (leading to a 52% Leave vote nationwide), the Scottish Parliament voted for a second independence referendum to be held once conditions of the UK's EU exit are known. Conservative Prime Minister
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
rejected this request citing a need to focus on EU exit negotiations. The SNP had advocated for another independence referendum to be held in 2020, but this was stopped by the Conservatives winning the majority of seats in the 2019 General Election. They were widely expected to include a second independence referendum in their manifesto for the
2021 Scottish Parliament election The 2021 Scottish Parliament election took place on 6 May 2021, under the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998. All 129 Member of the Scottish Parliament, Members of the Scottish Parliament were elected in the sixth election since the parliament ...
. Senior SNP figures have said that a second independence referendum would be inevitable, should an SNP majority be elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2021 and some claimed this was going to happen by the end of 2021, though that hasn't been the case. The
United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 The United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 is an Act of Parliament, act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in December 2020. It is concerned with trade within the UK, as the UK is no longer subject to EU law. The act seeks to preven ...
restricted and undermined the authority of the Scottish Parliament. The legislation restricts the ability of the Scottish government to make different economic or social choices from those made in Westminster.


Wales

Following the
Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 ( cy, Y Deddfau Cyfreithiau yng Nghymru 1535 a 1542) were Act of Parliament, Acts of the Parliament of England, and were the parliamentary measures by which Wales was annexed to the Kingdom of England. Moreo ...
, Wales was treated in legal terms as part of England. However, during the later part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century the notion of a distinctive Welsh
polity A polity is an identifiable Politics, political entity – a group of people with a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relations, and have a capacity to mobilize ...
gained credence. In 1881 the
Sunday Closing (Wales) Act 1881 The Sunday Closing (Wales) Act 1881 was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was one of the Licensing Acts 1828 to 1886. It required the closure of all public houses in Wales on Sundays. The Act had considerable p ...
was passed, the first such legislation exclusively concerned with Wales. The Central Welsh Board was established in 1896 to inspect the grammar schools set up under the
Welsh Intermediate Education Act 1889 The Welsh Intermediate Education Act 1889 (52 & 53 Vict c 40) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative ...
, and a separate Welsh Department of the Board of Education was formed in 1907. The Agricultural Council for Wales was set up in 1912, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries had its own Welsh Office from 1919. Despite the failure of popular political movements such as Cymru Fydd, a number of national institutions, such as the
National Eisteddfod The National Eisteddfod of Wales (Welsh language, Welsh: ') is the largest of several eisteddfodau that are held annually, mostly in Wales. Its eight days of competitions and performances are considered the largest music and poetry festival in Eur ...
(1861), the
Football Association of Wales The Football Association of Wales (FAW; cy, Cymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru) is the Governing bodies of sports in Wales, governing body of association football and futsal in Wales, and controls the Wales national football team, Welsh national foo ...
(1876), the
Welsh Rugby Union The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU; cy, Undeb Rygbi Cymru) is the Sports governing body, governing body of rugby union in the country of Wales, recognised by the sport's international governing body, World Rugby. The WRU is responsible for the running ...
(1881), the
University of Wales The University of Wales (Welsh language, Welsh: ''Prifysgol Cymru'') is a confederal university based in Cardiff, Wales. Founded by royal charter in 1893 as a federal university with three constituent colleges – Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff ...
(Prifysgol Cymru) (1893), the
National Library of Wales The National Library of Wales ( cy, Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru), Aberystwyth, is the national legal deposit library of Wales and is one of the Welsh Government sponsored bodies. It is the biggest library in Wales, holding over 6.5 million boo ...
(Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru) (1911) and the
Welsh Guards The Welsh Guards (WG; cy, Gwarchodlu Cymreig), part of the Guards Division, is one of the Foot guards, Foot Guards regiments of the British Army. It was founded in 1915 as a single-battalion regiment, during the World War I, First World War, by Wa ...
(Gwarchodlu Cymreig) (1915) were created. The campaign for disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Wales, achieved by the passage of the
Welsh Church Act 1914 The Welsh Church Act 1914 is an Act of Parliament under which the Church of England was separated and disestablishment, disestablished in Wales and Monmouthshire (historic), Monmouthshire, leading to the creation of the Church in Wales. The Act h ...
, was also significant in the development of Welsh political consciousness.
Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru ( ; ; officially Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, often referred to simply as Plaid) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left to Left-wing politics, left-wing, Welsh nationalism, Welsh nationalist list of political parties in Wales ...
was formed in 1925. An appointed
Council for Wales and Monmouthshire The Council for Wales and Monmouthshire ( cy, Cyngor Cymru a Mynwy) was an appointed advisory body announced in 1948 and established in 1949 by the Her Majesty's Government, UK government under Labour Party (UK), Labour prime minister Clement At ...
was established in 1949 to "ensure the government is adequately informed of the impact of government activities on the general life of the people of Wales". The council had 27 members nominated by local authorities in Wales, the
University of Wales The University of Wales (Welsh language, Welsh: ''Prifysgol Cymru'') is a confederal university based in Cardiff, Wales. Founded by royal charter in 1893 as a federal university with three constituent colleges – Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff ...
, National Eisteddfod Council and the Welsh Tourist Board. A cross-party Parliament for Wales campaign in the early 1950s was supported by a number of Labour MPs, mainly from the more Welsh-speaking areas, together with the Liberal Party and Plaid Cymru. A post of Minister of Welsh Affairs was created in 1951 and the post of
Secretary of State for Wales The secretary of state for Wales ( cy, ysgrifennydd gwladol Cymru), also referred to as the Welsh secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with responsibility for the Offi ...
and the
Welsh Office The Welsh Office ( cy, Swyddfa Gymreig) was a department in the Government of the United Kingdom with responsibilities for Wales. It was established in April 1965 to execute government policy in Wales, and was headed by the Secretary of State f ...
were established in 1964 leading to the abolition of the Council for Wales and Monmouthshire. Labour's incremental embrace of a distinctive Welsh polity was arguably catalysed in 1966 when Plaid Cymru president Gwynfor Evans won the Carmarthen by-election. In response to the emergence of Plaid Cymru and the
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist and social democracy, social democratic list of political parties in Scotland, political party ...
(SNP)
Harold Wilson James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from October 1964 to June 1970, and again from March 1974 to April 1976. He ...
's Labour Government set up the Royal Commission on the Constitution (the Kilbrandon Commission) to investigate the UK's constitutional arrangements in 1969. The 1974–1979 Labour government proposed a Welsh Assembly in parallel to its proposals for Scotland. These were rejected by voters in the 1979 referendum: 956,330 votes against, 243,048 for. In May 1997, the Labour government of
Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He pr ...
was elected with a promise of creating a devolved assembly in
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ...
; the referendum in 1997 resulted in a narrow "yes" vote. The turnout was 50.22% with 559,419 votes (50.3%) in favour and 552,698 (49.7%) against, a majority of 6,721 (0.6%). The
National Assembly for Wales The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English language, English and () in Welsh language, Welsh, is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes ...
, as a consequence of the
Government of Wales Act 1998 The Government of Wales Act 1998 (c. 38) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was passed in 1998 by the Labour Party (UK), Labour government to create a Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament, Welsh Assembly, t ...
, possesses the power to determine how the
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government ...
budget for Wales is spent and administered. The 1998 Act was followed by the
Government of Wales Act 2006 The Government of Wales Act 2006 (c 32) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed the then-National Assembly for Wales (now the Senedd) and allows further powers to be granted to it more easily. The Act ...
which created an executive body, the
Welsh Government The Welsh Government ( cy, Llywodraeth Cymru) is the Welsh devolution, devolved government of Wales. The government consists of ministers and Minister (government), deputy ministers, and also of a Counsel General for Wales, counsel general. Minist ...
, separate from the legislature, the National Assembly for Wales. It also conferred on the National Assembly some limited legislative powers. The 1997 devolution referendum was only narrowly passed with the majority of voters in the former industrial areas of the South Wales Valleys and the Welsh-speaking heartlands of
West Wales West Wales ( cy, Gorllewin Cymru) is not clearly defined as a particular region of Wales. Some definitions of West Wales include only Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, which historically comprised the Welsh principality of ''Deheuba ...
and
North Wales North Wales ( cy, Gogledd Cymru) is a regions of Wales, region of Wales, encompassing its northernmost areas. It borders Mid Wales to the south, England to the east, and the Irish Sea to the north and west. The area is highly mountainous and rural, ...
voting for devolution and the majority of voters in all the counties near England, plus
Cardiff Cardiff (; cy, Caerdydd ) is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of Wales. It forms a Principal areas of Wales, principal area, officially known as the City and County of Cardiff ( cy, Dinas a ...
and
Pembrokeshire Pembrokeshire ( ; cy, Sir Benfro ) is a Local government in Wales#Principal areas, county in the South West Wales, south-west of Wales. It is bordered by Carmarthenshire to the east, Ceredigion to the northeast, and the rest by sea. The count ...
rejecting devolution. However, all recent opinion polls indicate an increasing level of support for further devolution, with support for some tax varying powers now commanding a majority, and diminishing support for the abolition of the Assembly. The 2011 Welsh devolution referendum saw a majority of 21 local authority constituencies to 1 voting in favour of more legislative powers being transferred from the UK parliament in Westminster to the Welsh Assembly. The turnout in Wales was 35.4% with 517,132 votes (63.49%) in favour and 297,380 (36.51%) against increased legislative power. A
Commission on Devolution in Wales The Commission on Devolution in Wales ( cy, Comisiwn ar Ddatganoli yng Nghymru), also known as the Silk Commission, was an independent commission established by Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan on 11 October 2011. The commission was based at the ...
was set up in October 2011 to consider further devolution of powers from London. The commission issued a report on the devolution of fiscal powers in November 2012 and a report on the devolution of legislative powers in March 2014. The fiscal recommendations formed the basis of the Wales Act 2014, while the majority of the legislative recommendations were put into law by the
Wales Act 2017 The Wales Act 2017 (c. 7) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It sets out amendments to the Government of Wales Act 2006 and devolves further powers to Wales. The legislation is based on the proposals of the St D ...
. On 6 May 2020, the National Assembly was renamed "''Senedd Cymru"'' or "the Welsh Parliament" with the "''
Senedd The Senedd (; ), officially known as the Welsh Parliament in English language, English and () in Welsh language, Welsh, is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved, unicameral legislature of Wales. A democratically elected body, it makes ...

Senedd
"'' as its common name in both languages. The devolved competence of the Welsh Government, as the Scottish Government, is restricted and undermined by the
United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 The United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 is an Act of Parliament, act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in December 2020. It is concerned with trade within the UK, as the UK is no longer subject to EU law. The act seeks to preven ...
.


England

England is the only country of the United Kingdom to not have a devolved Parliament or Assembly and English affairs are decided by the Westminster Parliament. Devolution for England was proposed in 1912 by the Member of Parliament for Dundee,
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
, as part of the debate on Home Rule for Ireland. In a speech in
Dundee Dundee (; sco, Dundee; gd, Dùn Dè or ) is Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a ...
on 12 September, Churchill proposed that the government of England should be divided up among regional parliaments, with power devolved to areas such as Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands and London as part of a federal system of government.


Regional devolution in England

The division of England into provinces or regions was explored by several post-
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
royal commissions. The
Redcliffe-Maud Report The Redcliffe-Maud Report (Cmnd. 4040) was published in 1969 by the '' Royal Commission on Local Government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particula ...
of 1969 proposed devolving power from central government to eight provinces in England. In 1973 the Royal Commission on the Constitution (United Kingdom) proposed the creation of eight English appointed regional assemblies with an advisory role; although the report stopped short of recommending legislative devolution to England, a minority of signatories wrote a memorandum of dissent which put forward proposals for devolving power to elected assemblies for Scotland, Wales and five Regional Assemblies in England. The 1966-1969
Redcliffe-Maud Report The Redcliffe-Maud Report (Cmnd. 4040) was published in 1969 by the '' Royal Commission on Local Government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particula ...
recommended the abolition of all existing two-tier councils and council areas in England and replacing them with 58 new
unitary authorities A unitary authority is a local authority Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of adm ...
alongside three
metropolitan areas A metropolitan area or metro is a region that consists of a densely populated urban area, urban agglomeration and its surrounding territories sharing Industry (economics), industries, commercial areas, Transport infrastructure, transport net ...
(
Merseyside Merseyside ( ) is a metropolitan county, metropolitan and ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in North West England, with a population of List of ceremonial counties of England, 1.38 million. It encompasses both banks of the Merse ...
, ' Selnec', and the West Midlands). These would have been grouped into eight provinces with a provincial council each. The report was initially accepted "in principle" by the government. In April 1994 the Government of John Major created a set of ten
Government Office A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature A legislature is an deliberative as ...
Regions for England to coordinate central government departments at a provincial level. Regional Development Agencies were set up in 1998 under the Government of Tony Blair to foster economic growth around England. These Agencies were supported by a set of eight newly created Regional Assemblies, or Chambers. These bodies were not directly elected but members were appointed by local government and local interest groups. Following a referendum in 1998, a directly elected administrative body was created for Greater London, the
Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved Regions of England, regional governance body of Greater London. It consists of two political branches: the exec ...
. In a white paper published in 2002, the government proposed decentralisation of power across England similar to that done for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 1998. A proposal to devolve political power to a fully elected Regional Assembly was put to public vote in the 2004 North East England devolution referendum. This, however, failed by a large margin, resulting in the cancellation of subsequent referendums planned in
North West England North West England is one of nine official regions of England and consists of the ceremonial counties of England, administrative counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside. The North West had a population of ...
and
Yorkshire and the Humber Yorkshire and the Humber is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of ITL (UK), ITL for Office for National Statistics, statistical purposes. The population in 2011 was 5,284,000 with its largest settlements being Leeds, She ...
, with the government abandoning its plans of regional devolution altogether. As well as facilitating an elected assembly, the proposal would also have reorganised local government in the area. Regional Assemblies were abolished between 2008 and 2010, but the
Regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England, established in 1994. Between 1994 and 2011, nine regions had officially devolved functions within government. While they no ...
continue to be used in certain governmental administrative functions. After the proposal of devolution to regions failed, the concept of city regions was pursued. The 2009 Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act provided the means for the creation of
combined authorities A combined authority is a type of local government in England, local government institution introduced in England outside Greater London by the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. Combined authorities are created v ...
based upon city regions, a system providing cooperation between authorities, and a single directly elected mayor. The first such, the
Greater Manchester Combined Authority The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is a combined authority for Greater Manchester, England. It was established on 1 April 2011 and consists of 11 members; 10 Indirect election, indirectly elected members, each a directly elected c ...
, was established in 2011, followed by four in 2014, two in 2016, two in 2017, and one in 2018, with further proposals for other conurbations. Over the latter part of the 2010s the national government reached deals with several regional authorities to further devolution, though some authorities choose not to take up the proposals. The
Local Government Association The Local Government Association (LGA) is the national membership body for local authorities. Its core membership is made up of 339 English councils and the 22 Welsh councils through the Welsh Local Government Association.   The LGA is p ...
keeps a register of up to date devolution proposals, as of the beginning of 2021 some of these deals include creating the North of Tyne Combined Authority, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, and Sheffield City Region Combined Authority.
Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English districts by population, 10th largest English district by population and its E ...
and
Manchester Manchester () is a city in Greater Manchester, England. It had a population of 552,000 in 2021. It is bordered by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and the neighbouring city of City of Salford, Salford to ...
similarly received combined authorities. Each of these has an elected mayor, and some powers devolved to it by the national government. Compared to the powers of the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the powers in the regional English authorities are limited, the powers they do have are largely economic in nature, and concern related regional transport and planning powers.


Proposed English Parliament

There have been proposals for the establishment of a single devolved English parliament to govern the affairs of England as a whole. This has been supported by groups such as English Commonwealth, the English Democrats, and Campaign for an English Parliament, as well as the
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist and social democracy, social democratic list of political parties in Scotland, political party ...
and
Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru ( ; ; officially Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, often referred to simply as Plaid) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left to Left-wing politics, left-wing, Welsh nationalism, Welsh nationalist list of political parties in Wales ...
who have both expressed support for greater autonomy for all four nations while ultimately striving for a dissolution of the Union. Without its own devolved Parliament, England continues to be governed and legislated for by the UK Government and UK Parliament, which gives rise to the
West Lothian question The West Lothian question, also known as the English question, is a political issue in the United Kingdom. It concerns the question of whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales who sit in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, ...
. The question concerns the fact that, on devolved matters, Scottish MPs continue to help make laws that apply to England alone, although no English MPs can make laws on those same matters for Scotland. Since the
2014 Scottish independence referendum A referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of ...
, there have been a wider debate about the UK adopting a
federal system Federalism is a combined or compound mode of government that combines a general government (the central or "federal" government) with regional governments (Province, provincial, State (sub-national), state, Canton (administrative division), can ...
with each of the four
home nations Home Nations is a collective term with one of two meanings depending on context. Politically it means the nations of the countries of the United Kingdom, constituent countries of the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and W ...
having its own, equal devolved legislatures and law-making powers. In the first five years of devolution for Scotland and Wales, support in England for the establishment of an English parliament was low at between 16 and 19 per cent. While a 2007 opinion poll found that 61 per cent would support such a parliament being established, a report based on the
British Social Attitudes Survey The British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA) is an annual statistical survey Survey methodology is "the study of survey (disambiguation), survey methods". As a field of applied statistics concentrating on Survey (human research), human-research sur ...
published in December 2010 suggests that only 29 per cent of people in England support the establishment of an English parliament, though this figure has risen from 17 per cent in 2007.
John Curtice Sir John Kevin Curtice (born 10 December 1953) is a British political scientist who is currently professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde The University of Strathclyde ( gd, Oilthigh Shrath Chluaidh) is a public university, p ...
argues that tentative signs of increased support for an English parliament might represent "a form of English nationalism...beginning to emerge among the general public". Krishan Kumar, however, notes that support for measures to ensure that only English MPs can vote on legislation that applies only to England is generally higher than that for the establishment of an English parliament, although support for both varies depending on the timing of the opinion poll and the wording of the question. In September 2011 it was announced that the
British government ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal coat of arms of t ...
was to set up a commission to examine the West Lothian question. In January 2012 it was announced that this six-member commission would be named the Commission on the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons, would be chaired by former Clerk of the House of Commons, Sir William McKay, and would have one member from each of the devolved countries. The McKay Commission reported in March 2013. BBC News, ''England-only laws 'need majority from English MPs' '', 25 March 2013
Retrieved 25 March 2013


English votes for English laws

On 22 October 2015 The House of Commons voted in favour of implementing a system of "
English votes for English laws English votes for English laws (EVEL) was a set of procedures of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom whereby legislation that affected only England required the support of a major ...
" by 312 votes to 270 after four hours of intense debate. Amendments to the proposed standing orders put forward by both Labour and The Liberal Democrats were defeated. Scottish National Party MPs criticized the measures stating that the bill would render Scottish MPs as "second class citizens". Under the new procedures, if the Speaker of The House determines if a proposed bill or
statutory instrument In many countries, a statutory instrument is a form of delegated legislation. United Kingdom Statutory instruments are the principal form of delegated legislation, delegated or secondary legislation in the United Kingdom. National governmen ...
exclusively affects England, England and Wales or England, Wales and Northern Ireland, then legislative consent should be obtained via a Legislative Grand Committee. This process will be performed at the second reading of a bill or instrument and is currently undergoing a trial period, as an attempt at answering the
West Lothian question The West Lothian question, also known as the English question, is a political issue in the United Kingdom. It concerns the question of whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales who sit in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, ...
. English votes for English laws was suspended in April 2020, and in July 2021 the House of Commons abolished it, returning to the previous system with no special mechanism for English laws.


Greater London

Within England
regional In geography, regions, otherwise referred to as zones, lands or territories, are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and t ...
devolution has been more limited than the other constituent nations of the United Kingdom. Where devolution has been most prominent is in
London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
where the
Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved Regions of England, regional governance body of Greater London. It consists of two political branches: the exec ...
has “accrued significantly more power than were originally envisaged.” Within the Greater London Authority (GLA) are the elected
Mayor of London The mayor of London is the chief executive of the Greater London Authority. The role was created in 2000 after the 1998 Greater London Authority referendum, Greater London devolution referendum in 1998, and was the first Directly elected may ...
and
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds super-majority, to amend the Mayor's annual budget and to rejec ...
. The GLA is colloquially referred to as the City Hall and their powers include overseeing
Transport for London Transport for London (TfL) is a local government body responsible for most of the transport network in London, United Kingdom. TfL has responsibility for multiple rail networks including the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway, a ...
, work of the
Metropolitan Police The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), formerly and still commonly known as the Metropolitan Police (and informally as the Met Police, the Met, Scotland Yard, or the Yard), is the Territorial police force#United Kingdom, territorial police f ...
,
London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) was a functional body of the Greater London Authority (GLA), established under the Greater London Authority Act 1999. Its principal purpose was to run the London Fire Brigade. The 17 members ...
, various redevelopment corporations, and the
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a sporting complex and public park in Stratford, London, Stratford, Hackney Wick, Leyton and Bow, London, Bow, in east London. It was purpose-built for the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2012 Summer Paralympics, Paralym ...
. Part of the work of the GLA entails monitoring and furthering devolution in London: the Devolution Working Group is a committee which is particularly aimed at this. In 2017 the work of these authorities along with
Public Health England Public Health England (PHE) was an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care in England which began operating on 1 April 2013 to protect and improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. Its formation came as a ...
achieved a devolution agreement with the national government in regard to some healthcare services.


Proposed Cornwall devolution

There is a movement that supports devolution in
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Historic counties of England, historic county and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people ...
. A law-making Cornish Assembly is party policy for the Liberal Democrats,
Mebyon Kernow Mebyon Kernow – The Party for Cornwall (, MK; Cornish language, Cornish for ''Sons of Cornwall'') is a Cornish nationalism, Cornish nationalist, Left-wing politics, centre-left political party in Cornwall, in southwestern Britain. It currentl ...
,
Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru ( ; ; officially Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, often referred to simply as Plaid) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left to Left-wing politics, left-wing, Welsh nationalism, Welsh nationalist list of political parties in Wales ...
and the Greens. A Cornish Constitutional Convention was set up in 2001 with the goal of establishing a
Cornish Assembly A Cornish Assembly ( kw, Senedh Kernow) is a proposed devolved law-making assembly for Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Historic counties of England, historic county and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South ...
. Several Cornish Liberal Democrat MPs such as Andrew George,
Dan Rogerson Daniel John Rogerson (born 23 July 1975, St Austell) is a British Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat politician. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Cornwall (UK Parliament constituency), North Cornwall from the 2005 United Kin ...
and former MP Matthew Taylor are strong supporters of Cornish devolution. On 12 December 2001, the Cornish Constitutional Convention and Mebyon Kernow submitted a 50,000-strong petition supporting devolution in Cornwall to
10 Downing Street 10 Downing Street in London, also known colloquially in the United Kingdom as Number 10, is the official residence and executive office of the First Lord of the Treasury, first lord of the treasury, usually, by convention, the Prime Minister of ...
. This was over 10% of the Cornish electorate, the figure that the government had stated was the criteria for calling a referendum on the issue. In December 2007 Cornwall Council leader David Whalley stated that "There is something inevitable about the journey to a Cornish Assembly". A poll carried out by Survation for the
University of Exeter The University of Exeter is a public university , public research university in Exeter, Devon, England, United Kingdom. Its predecessor institutions, St Luke's College, Exeter School of Science, Exeter School of Art, and the Camborne School of Min ...
in November 2014 found that 60% were in favour of power being devolved from Westminster to Cornwall, with only 19% opposed and 49% were in favour of the creation of a Cornish Assembly, with 31% opposed. In January 2015 Labour's Shadow Chancellor promised the delivery of a Cornish assembly in the next parliament if Labour are elected.
Ed Balls Edward Michael Balls (born 25 February 1967) is a British broadcaster, writer, economist, professor and former politician who served as Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families from 2007 to 2010, and as Shadow Chancellor of the Exc ...
made the statement whilst on a visit to Cornwall College in
Camborne Camborne ( kw, Kammbronn) is a town in Cornwall, England. The population at the 2011 Census was 20,845. The northern edge of the parish includes a section of the South West Coast Path, Hell's Mouth, Cornwall, Hell's Mouth and Deadman's Cove ...
and it signifies a turn around in policy for the Labour party who in government prior to 2010 voted against the Government of Cornwall Bill 2008–09. Cornwall has also been discussed as a potential area for further devolution and therefore a federal unit, particularly promoted by Mebyon Kernow. Cornwall has a distinct language and the Cornish have been recognised as a national minority within the United Kingdom, a status shared with the Scots, the Welsh, and the Irish. The electoral reform society conducted a poll which showed a majority supported more local decision making: 68% of councillors supported increased powers for councils and 65% believed local people should be more involved in the decision making process.


Proposed Yorkshire devolution

The Yorkshire Devolution Movement is an all party and no party campaign group campaigning for a directly elected parliament for the whole of the traditional county of
Yorkshire Yorkshire ( ; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a Historic counties of England, historic county in northern England and by far the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its large area in comparison with other Eng ...
with powers second to no other devolved administration in the UK. The Yorkshire Party advocates for the establishment of a devolved Yorkshire Assembly within the UK, with powers over education, environment, transport and housing. In the
2019 European Parliament election The 2019 European Parliament election was held between 23 and 26 May 2019, the ninth parliamentary election since the 1979 European Parliament election, first direct elections in 1979. A total of 751 Member of the European Parliament, Members of ...
, it received over 50,000 votes in the Yorkshire and the Humber constituency. In the 2021 West Yorkshire mayoral election, 2022 South Yorkshire mayoral Election, and the 2022 Wakefield By-Election, the Yorkshire Party beat major parties, being the third most voted for
political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
in each election. Arguments for devolution to Yorkshire, which has a population of 5.4 million – similar to Scotland – and whose economy is roughly twice as large as that of Wales, include focus on the area as a
cultural region In anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, societies, and linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a ...
or even a
nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a combination of shared features such as language, history, ethnicity, culture and/or society. A nation is thus the collective Identity (social science), identity of a group of people unde ...
separate from England, whose inhabitants share common features. This cause has also been supported by the cross-party One Yorkshire group of 18 local authorities (out of 20) in Yorkshire. One Yorkshire has sought the creation of a directly elected mayor of Yorkshire, devolution of decision-making to Yorkshire, and giving the county access to funding and benefits similar to combined authorities. Various proposals differ between establishing this devolved unit in Yorkshire and the Humber (which excludes parts of Yorkshire and includes parts of Lincolnshire), in the county of Yorkshire as a whole, or in parts of Yorkshire, with
Sheffield Sheffield is a city status in the United Kingdom, city in South Yorkshire, England, whose name derives from the River Sheaf which runs through it. The city serves as the administrative centre of the City of Sheffield. It is Historic counties o ...
and
Rotherham Rotherham () is a large minster (church), minster and market town in South Yorkshire, England. The town takes its name from the River Rother, South Yorkshire, River Rother which then merges with the River Don, South Yorkshire, River Don. The R ...
each opting for a South Yorkshire Deal. This has been criticised by proponents of the One Yorkshire solution, who have described it as a Balkanisation of Yorkshire and a waste of resources.


Northern England (as whole)

The Northern Party was established to campaign for a Regional Government for the
North of England Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North Country, or simply the North, is the northern area of England. It broadly corresponds to the former borders of Angles, Angle Northumbria, the Anglo-Scandinavian Scandinavian York, K ...
covering the six historic counties of the region. The Campaign aims to create a Northern Government with tax-raising powers and responsibility for policy areas including economic development, education, health, policing and emergency services. In
2004 2004 was designated as an International Year of Rice by the United Nations, and the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle Against Slavery and its Abolition (by UNESCO). Events January * January 3 – Flash Airlines Flight ...
, a referendum for
North East England North East England is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of ITL (UK), ITL for Office for National Statistics, statistical purposes. The region has three current administrative levels below the region level in the regi ...
devolution took place, it was defeated 78% to 22%. The creation of a
Greater Manchester Combined Authority The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is a combined authority for Greater Manchester, England. It was established on 1 April 2011 and consists of 11 members; 10 Indirect election, indirectly elected members, each a directly elected c ...
in 2011, a
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) is the combined authority of the Liverpool City Region. The Liverpool City Region includes the Liverpool, City of Liverpool local authority area plus the Metropolitan Boroughs of Metropolitan B ...
in 2014,
Tees Valley Combined Authority The Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) is the combined authority for the Tees Valley urban area in England consisting of the following five Unitary authority, unitary authorities: Borough of Darlington, Darlington, Borough of Hartlepool, Hart ...
, Sheffield City Region Combined Authority and North of Tyne Combined Authority followed all furthering a level of devolution for the North. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the oldest of these authorities, is a positive case for devolution in the North. The Northern Independence Party is a secessionist and democratic socialist party founded in 2020, in response to the perceived growth of the North-South divide in England, aiming for the formation of an independent north of England under the name of
Northumbria la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum , conventional_long_name = Kingdom of Northumbria , common_name = Northumbria , status = State , status_text = Unified Anglian kingdom (before 876)North: Anglian kingdom (af ...
, after the early medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the same name. The party currently has no elected representatives in parliament.


Crown dependencies

The legislatures of the Crown Dependencies are not devolved as their origins predate the establishment of the United Kingdom and their attachment to the
British Crown The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in the Commonwealth of Nations whose monarch and head of state is shared among the other realms. Ea ...
, and the Crown Dependencies are not part of the United Kingdom. However, the United Kingdom has redefined its formal relationship with the Crown Dependencies since the late 20th century. Crown dependencies are possessions of the British Crown, as opposed to
overseas territories A territory is an area of land, sea, or space, particularly belonging or connected to a country, person, or animal. In international relations, international politics, a territory is usually either the total area from which a state may extr ...
or
colonies In modern parlance, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the ''metropole, metropolit ...
of the United Kingdom. They comprise the
Channel Island The Channel Islands ( nrf, Îles d'la Manche; french: îles Anglo-Normandes or ''îles de la Manche'') are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown Dependencies: the Jersey, Bailiwick of J ...
bailiwick A bailiwick () is usually the area of jurisdiction of a bailiff, and once also applied to territories in which a privately appointed bailiff exercised the sheriff's functions under a royal or imperial writ. The bailiwick is probably modelled on the ...
s of
Jersey Jersey ( , ; nrf, Jèrri, label=Jèrriais ), officially the Bailiwick of Jersey (french: Bailliage de Jersey, links=no; Jèrriais: ), is an island country and self-governing Crown Dependencies, Crown Dependency near the coast of north-west F ...
and
Guernsey Guernsey (; Guernésiais: ''Guernési''; french: Guernesey) is an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy that is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a Crown Dependencies, British Crown Dependency. It is the second largest of t ...
, and the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = "O Land of Our Birth" , image = Isle of Man by Sentinel-2.jpg , image_map = Europe-Isle_of_Man.svg , mapsize = , map_alt = Location of the Isle of Man in Europe , map_caption = Location of the Isle of Man (green) in Europe ...
in the Irish Sea. For several hundred years, each has had its own separate legislature, government and judicial system. However, as possessions of the Crown they are not sovereign nations in their own right and the British Government is responsible for the overall good governance of the islands and represents the islands in international law. Acts of the UK Parliament are normally only extended to the islands only with their specific consent. Each of the islands is represented on the British-Irish Council. The
Lord Chancellor The lord chancellor, formally the lord high chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking traditional minister among the Great Officers of State (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State in Scotland and England in the United Kingdom, no ...
, a post in the UK Government, is responsible for relations between the government and the Channel Islands. All insular legislation must be approved by the
Queen in Council The King-in-Council or the Queen-in-Council, depending on the gender of the reigning monarch, is a constitutional term in a number of states. In a general sense, it would mean the monarch exercising executive authority, usually in the form of ap ...
and the Lord Chancellor is responsible for proposing the legislation on the
Privy Council A privy council is a body that advice (constitutional), advises the head of state of a State (polity), state, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchy, monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a pr ...
. He can refuse to propose insular legislation or can propose it for the Queen's approval. In 2007–2008, each Crown Dependency and the UK signed agreements : : : that established frameworks for the development of the international identity of each Crown Dependency. Among the points clarified in the agreements were that: * the UK has no democratic accountability in and for the Crown Dependencies which are governed by their own democratically elected assemblies; * the UK will not act internationally on behalf of the Crown Dependencies without prior consultation; * each Crown Dependency has an international identity that is different from that of the UK; * the UK supports the principle of each Crown Dependency further developing its international identity; * the UK recognises that the interests of each Crown Dependency may differ from those of the UK, and the UK will seek to represent any differing interests when acting in an international capacity; and * the UK and each Crown Dependency will work together to resolve or clarify any differences that may arise between their respective interests. Jersey has moved further than the other two Crown dependencies in asserting its autonomy from the United Kingdom. The preamble to the States of Jersey Law 2005 declares that 'it is recognized that Jersey has autonomous capacity in domestic affairs' and 'it is further recognized that there is an increasing need for Jersey to participate in matters of international affairs'. In July 2005, the Policy and Resources Committee of the
States of Jersey The States Assembly (french: Assemblée des États; Jèrriais: ) is the parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation ...
established the Constitutional Review Group, chaired by Sir Philip Bailhache, with terms of reference 'to conduct a review and evaluation of the potential advantages and disadvantages for Jersey in seeking independence from the United Kingdom or other incremental change in the constitutional relationship, while retaining the Queen as Head of State'. The Group's 'Second Interim Report' was presented to the States by the Council of Ministers in June 2008. In January 2011, one of Jersey's Council of Ministers was for the first time designated as having responsibility for external relations and is often described as the island's 'foreign minister'. Proposals for Jersey independence have not, however, gained significant political or popular support. In October 2012 the Council of Ministers issued a "Common policy for external relations" that set out a number of principles for the conduct of external relations in accordance with existing undertakings and agreements. This document noted that Jersey "is a self-governing, democratic country with the power of self-determination" and "that it is not Government policy to seek independence from the United Kingdom, but rather to ensure that Jersey is prepared if it were in the best interests of Islanders to do so". On the basis of the established principles the Council of Ministers decided to "ensure that Jersey is prepared for external change that may affect the Island’s formal relationship with the United Kingdom and/or European Union". There is also public debate in Guernsey about the possibility of independence. In 2009, however, an official group reached the provisional view that becoming a
microstate A microstate or ministate is a sovereign state having a very small population or very small land area, usually both. However, the meanings of "state" and "very small" are not well-defined in international law.Warrington, E. (1994). "Lilliputs ...
would be undesirable and it is not supported by Guernsey's Chief Minister. In 2010, the governments of Jersey and Guernsey jointly created the post of director of European affairs, based in Brussels, to represent the interests of the islands to European Union policy-makers. Since 2010 the Lieutenant Governors of each Crown dependency have been recommended to the Crown by a panel in each respective Crown dependency; this replaced the previous system of the appointments being made by the Crown on the recommendation of UK ministers.


Competences of the devolved governments

Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales enjoy different levels of legislative, administrative and budgetary autonomy. The devolved administration has exclusive powers in certain policy areas, while in others, responsibility is shared and some areas of policy in the specific area are not under the control of the devolved administration. For example, while policing and criminal law may be a competence of the Scottish Government, the UK Government remains responsible for anti-terrorism and coordinates serious crime through the NCA.


See also

*
List of current heads of government in the United Kingdom and dependencies In the United Kingdom, various titles are used for the head of government of each of the countries of the United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies, and British Overseas Territories, Overseas Territories. Following elections to the assembly or parliament ...
* * * * * * * * * * * * *


References


Further reading

* * * .


External links


Cabinet Office: Devolution guidance
{{Devolution in the United Kingdom