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“Deeply confusing” English governance highlighted by new report

3 November 2022

The work of Richard Wyn Jones of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre was heavily cited in a stark Westminster committee report on England this week.

The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) report Governing England put on record the “significant concerns” of MPs about how England is governed, arguing strongly that the creation of combined authorities and other local government structures have not ultimately weakened Whitehall’s “instinct to maintain control of the levers of power”.

Citing Professor Wyn Jones’ description of governance arrangements for England as “deeply confusing”, “incoherent” and as lacking “any basic underpinning consensus” on the purpose of each level of government, PACAC criticised the “piecemeal and uncoordinated approach” of successive Westminster administrations.

The report further drew upon Ailsa Henderson and Wyn Jones’ book Englishness and their Future of England survey work, in order to note evidence that English identifiers are more likely to feel unrepresented by and alienated from the state.

Echoing Richard Wyn Jones’ suggestion for a Royal Commission or similar device to resolve how England is governed, PACAC concluded that a cross-party commission should be established by the UK Government in order to address England’s place in the UK union.

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