RICHARD Leonard's call on his Westminster Labour colleagues to “get a move on” with plans for federalism has kickstarted a debate about devolution that was largely dormant.

The body politic in Scotland is crying out for a national conversation about how we can breathe fresh life into the devolution settlement.

At a time when a fractious Brexit debate is dominating political discourse at Westminster, any proposal that seeks to empower Scottish voters and the Holyrood parliament has to be welcomed.

Calling for a grown-up discussion about reshaping the British state, is not necessarily an endorsement of Leonard's particular brand of federalism or indeed that of any other politician advocating a similar approach.

Both before and after the 2014 referendum, it has been almost fashionable for some commentators to state their backing for "devo max", federalism or "home rule" as variants of a supposed third way between independence and an unreformed Unionism.

The problem was and is that such terms are so poorly defined that the debate has essentially stalled.

Sunday Herald readers are likely to be spectacularly unconvinced by spurious claims by the Conservative Party that the UK government has presided over a seismic shift in powers towards Scotland since September 18 2014.

While the jury remains out on whether Labour at UK and Scottish level will in time set out detailed plans for a federal UK, this newspaper is pleased Leonard has started an important civic debate.

The onus is now on Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn to state clearly what federalism will mean for Scotland and the rest of the UK.