Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, gave a passionate speech in the Chamber recently on devolution and growth across Britain, citing Worcester’s record fall in unemployment as a key example of how local economies can be turned around and showing that the concept of One Nation conservatism at the heart of the Queen’s Speech was one born in our County:
“There is much to welcome in the Gracious Speech. As a one nation Conservative who has always been proud to call himself that, I was particularly pleased to note that the phrase “one nation” ran through it. Recently, while reading Douglas Hurd’s biography of Benjamin Disraeli, I was delighted to discover that it was not, in fact, Disraeli who came up with that phrase. He talked about the division between two nations and the need to bring them together, but it was actually a Worcestershire Member of Parliament, Stanley Baldwin, who coined the phrase “one-nation Conservativism”, and I am delighted to be speaking in that tradition.”
Robin spoke about the need to devolve power to local communities and mentioned how Worcestershire has never done well when it has been lumped in with a region with Birmingham “calling all the shots”. He cited the excellent work of the local enterprise partnership for Worcestershire and the need for a “bottom up rather than top down” approach to localism, he also spoke up about his long running campaign for fairer funding and the need for more investment in local infrastructure saying:
“To make devolution work across our counties, we need fair funding, and I am delighted that fair funding for schools is a core manifesto commitment of the Conservative party. I look forward to working with the Education team on the delivery of that commitment, but we also need to see fairer funding in health and in local government for our counties and our rural areas. We need infrastructure delivered across the UK—linking not only north and south, but all our great cities, giving them better connectivity to the capital.”
“I welcome colleagues from across the UK, and I recognise the need to meet the aspirations of every part of our United Kingdom, but that needs to include England and England’s shire counties. We need to restore balance to the Union, and I look forward to supporting English votes for English laws to achieve that.”
Robin has previously urged that to restore balance to the United Kingdom after devolution there is a need to ensure that when the House of Commons debated matters only affecting England, or England and Wales, the MPs from England or England and Wales should have the final say. He points out that matters such as the funding of schools and hospitals are devolved in Scotland and Northern Ireland and that it should not be the case that Scottish and Northern Irish MPs could overrule the views of English ones on these matters.
Many hundreds of people in Worcester backed Robin’s petition for English votes for English Laws and Robin publicly said how important it was for him to raise his constituent’s concerns at the highest level.
Robin has secured a debate for next week on the case for dualling Worcester’s Southern Link Road and the Carrington Bridge, one of the key issues that he raised during the General Election campaign.
Notes to Editors:
For Robin’s speech in full:
For further releases on local devolution, see Robin’s previous releases: