Federalism as an aim and a concept has a long history in the Liberal, and now the Liberal Democrat, Party.
The benefits and feasibility of federalism have been much debated over the years and what has evolved from those debates not only forms the basis of our own party’s structure and governance but has also become part of our party’s constitution:
"We believe that sovereignty rests with the people and that authority in a democracy derives from the people. We therefore acknowledge their right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and commit ourselves to the promotion of a democratic federal framework within which as much power as feasible is exercised by the nations and regions of the United Kingdom. We similarly commit ourselves to the promotion of a flourishing system of democratic local government in which decisions are taken and services delivered at the most local level which is viable."
To continue and expand the discussion, debate, avocation and championship of federalism and to develop the concept of a democratic federal framework a group of likeminded members joined together in May to form the Liberal Democrat Federalist Group – a group dedicated to promotion of the United Kingdom to become a Federal nation.
The group have developed five basic aims:
- To promote and champion the United Kingdom becoming a federal state.
- To discuss how federalism can best be applied in the United Kingdom.
- To educate others on the merits of federalism and how it can benefit local communities in the United Kingdom.
- To coordinate work already being done and work with relevant organisations within and outside the Liberal Democrats.
- To share our knowledge, ideas and experience regarding federalism with others and to be a point of reference for educators and decision-makers.
Through these aims we are promoting federalism as the most viable and credible solution to a constitutional system that is no longer fit for purpose for the 21st century and beyond.