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Silk and Calman give evidence on the Union

20 October 2015

The House of Lords Constitution Committee took evidence from Sir Paul Silk and Sir Kenneth Calman, who chaired Commissions on devolution to Wales and Scotland.

The evidence sessions, on Wednesday 21 October in Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster, form part of the Committee's inquiry into devolution and the Union.

First session

At 10.30am the Committee took evidence from:

  • Sir Paul Silk
  • Sir Kenneth Calman

Areas the session will covered include:

  • How did their Commissions establish what principles should underpin the devolution of powers to Scotland and Wales? How far did the legislation that followed the Commissions' reports reflect those principles?
  • What might be the benefits of better public understanding of the Union and the existing devolution settlements? How can this be achieved?
  • Do the benefits of the Union differ for the different countries of the UK? Is there any point to a 'political' union in the absence of an 'economic' or 'social' union?
  • Is a devolution settlement that does not include legislative devolution to or within England sustainable?
  • What is the effect on the Union of the asymmetrical nature of devolution to date?
  • Would a new commission be able to tackle issues of the governance of the whole UK? Could a convention or citizen's assembly fulfil that role?

Second session

At 11.30am the Committee took evidence from:

  • Peter Riddell, Director, Institute for Government
  • Akash Paun, Fellow, Institute for Government

The session covered a range of issues including:

  • To what extent can policy and public services differ in different parts of the UK without compromising the social and economic union?
  • Is shared rule a desirable consequence of devolution, or an outcome to be minimised as far as possible?
  • Can a parliamentary mechanism such as English Votes for English Laws answer the 'English Question'? Could devolution to cities or regions provide a long term solution?
  • Is there a case for a 'Charter of the Union' or similar UK-wide statute that sets out the structure and principles of the Union?

Further information

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