Starmers plan to hand Sturgeon more power branded dangerous

Techne chief executive Michela Morizzo explains this week's polls

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Sir Keir Starmer’s plan to hand Nicola Sturgeon control over foreign policy is seen to be “dangerous” by a majority of voters, an exclusive poll for has revealed. The Labour party unveiled a new policy document last week, which proposes new powers for devolved Governments, including one which appears to be aimed at unpicking the Brexit settlement. It also includes plans to replace the House of Lords with an elected Chamber. 

Recommendation 16 includes removing the reservation on foreign policy to allow the Scottish Government to enter into international agreements and join international bodies in its own right.

It reads: “We, therefore, propose that the Scottish Government should, with the approval of the Scottish Parliament (and where appropriate the assistance of the UK government) be able to enter into agreements with international bodies, in so far as they relate to devolved matters only. Examples would include UNESCO, the Nordic Council or (if the EU were willing to agree) even the Erasmus scheme for student exchange.”

Polling conducted by Techne for asked 1,624 adults: “Would it be dangerous to give Nicola Sturgeon powers to run a devolved and separate Scottish Foreign policy?”

A total of 58 percent of people said yes. Just 24 percent of people said no, while 18 percent said they don’t know.

Conservative voters felt more strongly about the issue, with 74 percent of those who voted for the party in 2019 answering yes, agreeing that it would be dangerous. Just 19 percent said no.

Of those who voted for the Labour party in 2019, 54 percent said it would be dangerous, while 32 percent said it would not.

The poll was conducted between December 7 and December 8. 

A source close to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly warned Labour’s proposal may be the first step on the way to a Labour/SNP coalition.

They said: “Britain’s Foreign Policy is there to represent all the nations of the of the UK.

“This idea seems the first tentative ‘test the water’ offer to try and build an SNP/Labour coalition. If that’s not enough to tempt the SNP, where might that end up? The offer of a second Independence referendum?”

Unveiling the new policies in Leeds, Sir Keir pledged it would bring “the biggest ever transfer of power” from central Government.

Giving a speech at the launch of the Commission on the UK’s Future in Leeds, Sir Keir claimed the centre of power in Britain “has not delivered”.

He added: “Anyone can see what is happening in the UK today. We have an unbalanced economy.

“One which makes too little use of the talents of too few people in too few places. And which the Tories have dragged into a vicious cycle of low growth and high taxes.

“Faced with this narrow path of stagnation, is it any surprise that people up and down the country are crying out for a new approach?”

He said that Labour will “reignite our economy”, adding: “If Labour wins the next election – Britain will see a change not just in who governs, but how we are governed.”

Sir Keir continued: “The tools to a fairer society and a stronger economy placed directly in the hands of working people. So together we can build an economy not just for the many, but by the many and of the many.”

He pledged that local bodies would have “new powers over skills, transport, planning and culture”, which he said woul help to “drive growth by developing hundreds of clusters of economic activity”.

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