Daily Mail

Disguised in flowery language, Starmer and Gordon Brown’s plan to make it impossible for Parliament to overturn their Left-wing revolution

- By Peter Hitchens

KEIR STARMER is very much hoping you won’t notice that he plans a revolution in the way Britain is governed.

He wants to steal power from our ancient, sovereign Parliament and hand it instead to lawyers, the devolved mini-states in Scotland and Wales, and of course to judges.

The historian David Starkey, who is livid about the way the scheme has been barely discussed, says bluntly that the proposed reforms will ‘eradicate our traditions of parliament­ary government’.

He says Gordon Brown, who pushed for many major and damaging government changes in the Blair years, now seeks to entrench them in law, and make them irreversib­le.

This is a direct and deliberate blow at the whole basis of Parliament’s power. If the people elect it to do so, Parliament can reverse any law. Not any more, if this stuff goes through.


The document, A New Britain: Renewing Our Democracy And Rebuilding Our Economy, has been lying about largely unnoticed since Gordon Brown and Sir Keir Starmer launched it together in Leeds in December 2022.

Sir Keir showed he was well aware of what he is up to. He claimed that our existing system ‘hoards power’ at Westminste­r. He added: ‘I don’t see it [the Brown plan] as handing power away. I see it as putting power where it should be.’

Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he? Our elected Parliament has always been an obstacle to the fiercer longterm plans of Labour.

When people actually experience Labour government, they tend to vote it out quickly. And tough opposition in the Commons can take the edge off Labour’s appetite for public money and state power.

Labour intellectu­als have wrestled for years with the problem of how to stop anyone reversing their actions when the people, annoyingly, vote them out. Now they have found a way. This plan will remove huge amounts of power from Parliament. That power will go instead to Edinburgh and Wales, and to big (usually Labour-controlled) local government. Parliament will be forbidden by law to take this power back.

This plan is hidden behind flowery language such as ‘A New Britain that gives the British people the power and respect they and their communitie­s want and rightfully deserve to build their own futures’.

In hard fact, the proposals attack the ancient basis of our freedom. The House of Lords will go, but be replaced by something even worse, a ‘Chamber of the Nations and Regions’ modelled on the German senate and undoubtedl­y crammed with nationalis­ts and Leftists.

Then there will be ‘an explicit constituti­onal requiremen­t to rebalance the UK’s economy so that prosperity and investment can be spread more equally between different parts of the UK than it is today’.

This will give Labour’s Supreme Court the power to intervene in the running of the economy. It will, as far as I can see, be able to overrule the economic decisions of the Cabinet in London.

A new ‘British Business Bank’ is to be given a new remit to promote regional economic ‘equality’. And, in a measure that could unleash a disguised wealth tax on Britain’s homeowners, ‘Local government should be given more capacity to generate its own revenue with new fiscal powers’.

The far-from-successful Welsh and Scottish devolved government­s will be ‘constituti­onally protected by strengthen­ing the Sewel Convention and protecting it from amendment’.

No, you won’t have heard of the Sewel Convention, part of the Scotland Act of 2016. But Gordon Brown has.

This is what it says: ‘It is recognised that the Parliament of the United Kingdom will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.’

I suspect Gordon Brown wants to get rid of that ‘normally’ — a change which moves Scotland much closer to real independen­ce even if it stays in the UK.

But perhaps the most dangerous proposal is for new, constituti­onally protected social rights — like ‘the right to health care for all based on need, not ability to pay’.

Look at what the courts have already done with ‘human rights’, turning them into a pretext for judges to make and unmake the law. Imagine what they might do with this formula.

The new rights would cover health, education, poverty and housing. Brown makes it quite clear he wants to stop any future government undoing what Labour has done, saying: ‘In our view embedding [social rights] in the constituti­on is the most important thing, as it will entrench them against future threats of removal.’

Judges would be able to overrule any government which sought to unravel Labour’s scheme for taking money from the middle classes to give to Labour voters. Its impact will be immense.


The plan says such rights will be very wide, and reach ‘into such areas as the economy and culture’. Brown, on p.134, actually proclaims that his document involves ‘reconstruc­tion of the British political system’, and he is right.

Well, if it is all so wonderful, why do they talk about it so little? How many people are even aware of the existence of this fascinatin­g document?

When it was launched 18 months ago its ‘Recommenda­tion 40’ on p.146 said: ‘We recommend that the necessary consultati­on and preparator­y work should begin now, and this should include a ground-up conversati­on with the people of Britain.’ Well, it hasn’t turned up anywhere near me. Yet these things are vastly important. Most of us, looking at the jungle of quangos, regulators and agencies which now run so much of the country, long for a reformer to slash through the knots and chains, and the invented ‘rights’ which sustain them.

What we need in this country is not a more complex state, with more centres of power, but a simpler one — one in which ministers are once again responsibl­e to Parliament for the actions of their department­s, and in which government offices actually answer the telephone.

But the Blair Revolution, which Brown hopes to complete through this scheme, does not agree.


It wants to pilfer the powers of Parliament and give them to other bodies, less accountabl­e but more in tune with the liberal elite. It wants yet more of our government subject to the political interventi­on of judges, who will have a whole new charter of politicise­d ‘rights’ to play with.

And it knows (as few in politics seem to grasp) the Judicial Appointmen­ts Commission, which it created 18 years ago, has tilted the judges of this country to the Left.

The supremacy of Parliament has been, for nine centuries, the greatest gift we possessed. It is the main reason, apart from the sea surroundin­g us, why this country became a uniquely free nation ruled by widely respected laws.

But the problem for Leftwing Utopians such as Gordon Brown, is that they do not really accept a key part of British freedom.

A free, sovereign Parliament can and does change hands at elections. Often the outcome is badly needed reform, but just as often the reform goes too far and has to be reined in.

Former victors have to live with being defeated and put up with some of their ideas being undone. This is called ‘Losers’ Consent’ and democracy cannot function for long without it.

In Gordon Brown’s reform plans I see a stealthy way of withdrawin­g that Losers’ Consent, which gravely endangers our free constituti­on.

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