AN INFLUENTIAL SCOTS constitutional reformer will today call for Westminster to form a “partnership government” with Scotland through the abolition of the House of Lords to make way for an elected second Westminster chamber.

Baroness Pauline Bryan of Partick appointed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last year explicitly to develop the party’s constitutional policy, is recommending greater devolution of power to Scotland - by ensuring the future relationship between Holyrood and Westminster is based on an equal footing.

For the first time she will today launch her initial ‘partnership not hierarchy’ proposals for change to the Labour Party, which would involve creating a Chamber of the Nations and Regions to replace the House of Lords in a move that Baroness Bryan believes would mean the Scottish Parliament was no longer subordinate to Westminster.

It comes as previously unreleased poll for the Electoral Reform Society by BMG shows that, when 'don't knows' are excluded, support for an elected upper chamber sits at 71% for SNP voters and 65% for Conservatives.

ERS says that suggest that Lords reform could be a vote winner for the party . A majority of all main parties’ supporters backed an elected second chamber.

The Herald:

The Bryan paper that kicks off Labour's review of its constitutional policy is set to take the party much closer to backing full federalism and a new constitutional settlement for the UK "based on the commitment to redistribute power and wealth, and that takes account of the consequences of Brexit".

In her analysis of future principles, she says a new federal set-up will "move from the existing model, where power is devolved from the central state to Scotland".

Baroness Bryan, who is the designated lead for updating the party’s policy on federalism and Lords reform says the ‘partnership’ model for Westminster and Scotland would be backed by the reformed second chamber.

She argues: “It should instead be a relationship of shared power based on partnership, not hierarchy. Under this arrangement there must be common minimum standards across the UK on human rights, employment rights, consumer protection and environmental protection and that the Scottish Parliament should have the power to enhance but never detract from these minimum standards.”

The peer adds: "The point is to change the relationship so that the Scottish Parliament is no longer subordinate to Westminster. A second chamber of the Regions and Nations would change the nature of the relations to shared government on the cross territorial issues."

UK-wide, “Instead of the House of Commons having automatic primacy, this would be a new settlement of shared sovereignty,” Baroness Bryan says.

The Herald:

She believes a reformed – most-likely directly elected – second chamber would have a key role in this, bringing the nations and regions together to agree what powers should be devolved and which should be shared.

Willie Sullivan, director of ERS Scotland, said: “The piecemeal, ad hoc approach to democratic change in the UK has held us back, with a constant, low-level constitutional crisis: with Scotland and the other nations pitted against Westminster, and vice versa.

"That is not a sustainable relationship and it is time for an approach the puts citizens at the centre, not the needs of politicians. What form this reform takes is up for discussion, but it is good to see parties considering this in the round.

“As this briefing points out, the primary way to reform the bloated, unelected House of Lords is to replace it with a fairly-elected revising chamber, with a clearly defined remit and which can speak up for the nations and regions of the whole UK.

"Voters are tired of seeing scandal after scandal in the Lords with no way of kicking them out. A much-smaller, more effective second chamber would help draw to a close the era of unaccountable power and bring our democracy into the 21st century.”

Bryan's other key claims include concerns that the Scottish Parliament has gained additional powers in response to political pressures, which can be "curtailed as easily as they were granted".

She says that while the Sewel convention established that Westminster would not legislate on devolved issues without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament, "we have seen from the repatriation of powers through Brexit that this may not always be adhered to".

She also states that local government in Scotland has lost powers to increasing centralisation by the Scottish Government.

Nancy Platts, co-ordinator of Politics for the Many – the trade union campaign for political reform – said: “This is a fundamental step [forward] in developing Labour’s thinking on constitutional reform. Labour must now adopt these proposals as the starting point to ensuring that our politics works for the many, not an unelected few.”

The report will be unveiled at a Labour fringe meeting titled: "Remaking the state: Transforming Scotland for Worker and Citizen Power".

Mass poll by BMG for ERS. Fieldwork dates: August and September 2018, from [online] surveys of 3014 adults, GB. Data is weighted to be demographically representative. Excluding ‘don’t knows’, the valid sample size is 2693 GB adults.

• Con = 65% (784) • Lab = 67% (774) • LD = 63% (204) • UKIP = 73% (154) • Green = 63% (91) • SNP = 71% (63)