2014: Policy Motion 2 - Constitutional Convention

Proposer: Matt Dolman
Seconder: Jack Maizels

Unlock Democracy welcomes:
1.    The high levels of enthusiasm and participation in the Scottish Independence referendum and how this has re-ignited the constitutional debate across the rest of the UK.
2.    This organization’s success in seizing the moment, making the case for a constitutional convention and persuading the leaders of four of the five main English parties to back it.

Unlock Democracy believes:
3.     A constitutional convention offers an opportunity to holistically address all of Britain's constitutional issues, as well as English devolution to democratically empowered localities and regions, where previous piecemeal efforts have failed. Rushing to a solution, such as English votes for English laws, would not solve these issues and could be incompatible with further devolution within England
4.    Steps should be taken to avoid a convention being seen as ‘kicking the issue into long grass’ or as springing from partisan interests.

Unlock Democracy resolves:
5.    Continue to lobby parties that haven't yet committed to a constitutional convention, while working to embolden those that have.
6.    Engage with voters to educate them on what a constitutional convention involves and encourage enthusiasm for the change it could deliver.
7.    Seek to create clear detailed proposals for a constitutional convention and when it will be delivered, in order to hold the parties to account.

This motion was passed. The text above is the final amended text of the motion, below are the amendments that were raised. For the full details of the original motion, the voting, etc, please see the 2014 AGM minutes (section 6.2)

Amendment 1  
At point 3, insert after "as well as English devolution", the following - "to democratically empowered localities and regions", so new 3 reads:
"3) A constitutional convention offers an opportunity to holistically address all of Britain's constitutional issues, as well as English devolution to democratically empowered localities and regions, where previous piecemeal efforts have failed" 

This amendment was carried.

Amendment 2
After  “4) Rushing to a solution such as English votes for English laws would not solve these issues and could be incompatible with further devolution within England."
Add: "Equally, an English parliament can only be acceptable if it can be shown not to promote further centralism and not to destabilise the wider UK"

This amendment was lost.

Amendment 3
Add a point 6) immediately after point 5) and re-number accordingly: 
"6) An important advantage would be gained by different regions organising in their own ways, including through local or regional conventions, to build support and momentum for local 

This amendment was lost.

Amendment 4
Add to 'Unlock Democracy Believes' after point 5:
— That this cautious and empirical country might be better inclined to a codified constitution if they could see some examples of it.
— The effort put towards holding a mock Constitutional Convention could garner publicity and promote controversy, both of which would aid Unlock Democracy in their campaign for a constitutional convention.
Add to 'Unlock Democracy Resolves' after point 8:
— That Unlock Democracy's Council should draft, or organise the election or appointment of special delegates to draft, a model codified British constitution.
— That the drafts should be debated and discussed at a General Meeting.
— That the final version should be ratified by a vote of the full membership.

This amendment was lost.

A proposal to remit the motion as amended to Council for further detailed consideration was moved and seconded, but was lost.