Open Letter on Regional Devolution

A letter to Gordon Brown's Commission on Regional Devolution calling for a Citizens' Assembly.

If you would like to add your name to the following letter please contact Gavin Barker by email here.

Dear Mr Brown

Firstly, we would like to take this opportunity to applaud the good work that you do on so many fronts, from global education and health to addressing child poverty at home.

Our purpose in writing to you is with regard to your role as chair of the Labour constitutional commission launched by Keir Starmer in December 2020.

Our understanding is that you have brought together Welsh and Scottish Labour leaders and English mayors from across the country to demand a “new constitutional offer” and a “new deal for a better Britain”. This is according to an article in Labour List 21 December 2020. However, since then, we can find no further reference to what progress the commission has made.

We would much appreciate an answer to two questions:

Firstly, when will the commission publish its report?

Secondly, has the commission undertaken any public consultation to explore what kind of devolution settlement ordinary citizens would like to see? If not - and provided time permits - can the commission adjust its proceedings to include such a consultation?

We ask this question particularly with regard to Cornwall and English regions given that devolution is more rooted in Cornwall and the North. We are keen for Labour to avoid the mistakes of past governments by imposing a top-down devolution settlement without consulting or engaging civil society. To win any credibility, real devolution has to be a democratic process that is open, transparent, and actively involves local people and communities.

To this end, we urge you to consider using citizens’ assemblies and other forms of deliberative democracy to kickstart a national conversation about what kind of democratic settlement people would like to see.

We look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Kind regards


Dr Simon Duffy, Director, Citizen Network Research

Gavin Barker, Lead on Constitutional Reform, Citizen Network

Brian David Moore, Leader North East Party Standing up for North East England 

Angela Fell, Neighbourhood Democracy Movement

Stephen Horscroft, Cornish Constitutional Convention

Loveday Jenkins, vice-chair, Mebyon Kernow - the Party for Cornwall

Philip Hardstone, Democratic Yorkshire

Stewart Arnold, member of the campaign for a Yorkshire Parliament network

Dr Bob Buxton, Leader of the Yorkshire Party

Vicky Seddon, Coordinator, Sheffield for Democracy

Edna Robinson, Chair, The People’s Powerhouse

Joe Mitchell, author of Networking for Democracy

James Lock, Managing Director, Opus Independents

Jon Maiden, Co-Founder, The Common Ground 

Mark E Thomas, Founder, The 99% Organisation;

Dr Tiffany Holloman & Andrew Wilson, co-directors, Same Skies network and think tank

Tom Brake, Director, Unlock Democracy

Liz Crosbie, Reboot GB

Jon Johnson, Alliance Now UK

Ashok Viswanathan, Operation Black Vote

Patrick Carragher, Local Matters

Dr Philip Proudfoot, Institute of Development Studies

Mat Robinson, Convener, Cornwall Compass

Cllr Jonathan Davies, Leader of Putting Cumbria First

Article | 22.06.22

Constitutional Reform, local government, politics, England, Article

Gavin Barker


Constitutional Reform Lead

Gavin Barker


Constitutional Reform Lead

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