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Culture change required for union to work – Lords Committee

20 January 2022

“A significant culture change is required in Whitehall”, according to a new House of Lords committee report that draws heavily on evidence from academics at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre.

The report makes extensive use of oral evidence provided by Professor Laura McAllister and Professor Richard Wyn Jones to the House of Lords Constitution Committee inquiry into the future governance of the UK. It also refers to written evidence provided by the Wales Governance Centre’s Hedydd Phylip, Dr Huw Pritchard and Keith Bush QC.

In calling for “respect and co-operation to build a stronger Union for the 21st century”, the committee proposes that new arrangements for intergovernmental relations are underpinned by a new culture of partnership between the UK’s central and devolved governments, including “an end to the top-down mindset (in Whitehall)” and more meaningful dialogue about whether and when the UK Parliament legislates in devolved areas.

Focussing also on research undertaken by Richard Wyn Jones and Edinburgh’s Ailsa Henderson into Englishness and England’s place in the union, the report recommends the development of a “principled devolution framework” for that country, in place of the current deals-based approach.

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