Sir Keir Starmer will promise the “biggest ever transfer of power from Westminster to the British people”, as the Labour leader launches a report recommending sweeping constitutional reform.
The report on the UK’s future, carried out by former prime minister Gordon Brown, will provide the foundations for Labour’s bid to “clean up politics”.
It includes replacing the House of Lords with a democratic chamber, banning almost all second jobs for MPs, and moving 50,000 civil servants – 10 per cent of the workforce – out of London.
There will also be an “enhanced” role for Scotland as part of the new arrangements in answer to “people’s desire for change”.
Speaking ahead of the report’s publication, Brown said: “The debate people think they may have been having in Scotland in the last seven or eight years has been between independence and the status quo.
“The nationalists were telling people the only kind of change was independence. Now we are making it absolutely clear with this Commission report that the debate now is between change within the United Kingdom, that we are proposing and that a Labour government will deliver, versus change by leaving the United Kingdom, which is what the nationalists propose.”
House of Lords
Commenting on the House of Lords reforms, Brown added: “Every second chamber in the world, with very few exceptions, is relatively small and usually smaller than the first chamber. And we’ve now got a House of Lords that has got 830 members.
“That is compared with the American senate which has 100 members to cover 300 million people – we have got a House of Lords which is 800-plus to cover only 60 million people.
“Therefore the current system is indefensible.”
Among the report’s 40 recommendations is a call to give local communities new powers over skills, transport, planning and culture to drive growth.
Combined with local growth plans, the report argues this will enable the emergence of hundreds of ‘clusters’ of economic activity in cities and towns across the UK.
New powers over transport and infrastructure and development and planning – including compulsory purchase orders on vacant sites – would be handed to the devolved administrations, the mayors and local authorities.
The report also proposes a series of measures to clean up politics including a new anti-corruption agency, an integrity and ethics commission to replace the various existing “ad hoc bodies” and a ban on most second jobs for MPs.
“The centre hasn’t delivered”
Backing the plan, Sir Keir will tell the launch event: “The centre hasn’t delivered.
“We have an unbalanced economy which makes too little use of the talents of too few people in too few places.
“We will have higher standards in public life, a wider spread of power and opportunity, and better economic growth that benefits everyone, wherever they are.
“By setting our sights higher, wider, better, we can build a better future together.”
He will say the report reflects the demand from people across the country for a “new approach”.
“During the Brexit referendum I argued for Remain, but I couldn’t disagree with the basic case that many Leave voters made to me,” he will say.
“They wanted democratic control over their lives so they could provide opportunities for the next generation, build communities they felt proud of, and public services they could rely on.
“And I know that in the Scottish referendum in 2014, many of those who voted Yes did so for similar reasons. The same frustration at a Westminster system that seems remote.”