Really good piece by @samfr. He is on the nail in tying up the problem of dysfunction and poor procurement at the centre (Cummings’ thesis) with over-centralisation and weak, resource-less local government (very much not Cummings’ thesis).
Another excellent piece here in the same vein and following on from the current prime minister’s effort last week.
I’d add one important thought to both @samfr and @MarcusIPPR’s paper. The weakness of local government is not an accident: it is a morbid symptom of our current constitutional arrangements.
Marcus hints at that when he refers to the absence of “regional leaders within central government” and contrasts us with 🇩🇪. The 🇩🇪 constitution entrenches sub-central government and gives it a powerful voice at the centre.
In contrast, 🇬🇧 ratchets to the centre: in the absence of any constraint on centralisation, the centre continually demands “accountability” to it. (See the current PM’s speech, where every hint at devolution was qualified by demands for “accountability”.)
In the end, therefore, these problems of over-centralisation, central dysfunction and regional disparity are symptoms of constitutional failure. Which is why constitutional reform isn’t a distraction from any genuine project to improve government and level up, but central to it.
(Devolution to 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 and 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 is the huge exception to the ratchet, of course. But NB the current government’s, so far successful, attempts to deploy the ratchet - the U.K. Internal Market Act.)

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More from @GeorgePeretzQC

19 Jul
Another informative thread on the Borders Bill. Those of you who want to write to their MPs about the Bill - which you should, if your MP isn’t already opposing it - can find lots of useful and accurate information here (and earlier in my timeline from the JCWI and Law Society).
Read 5 tweets
19 Jul
Important - because he is a UK legislator for life - to dispose of this incorrect (not arguably incorrect, just wrong) claim by @danielmgmoylan.
The claim is that an express obligation in a treaty does not bind if it is inconsistent with the context (here, the mutual objective of peace in NI).
But the relevant principle (with reference to the Vienna Convention) was explained by Lord Sumption in Reyes.
Read 4 tweets
15 Jul
A couple of comments on Johnson’s speech on levelling-up. I’m interested here in the constitutional issue: centralisation.
This is right (odd metaphors aside). Centralisation is a real problem.
It’s not obvious to me what this means or where it’s going. The first sentence appears to suggest giving other mayors the powers of the London mayor. But it’s worth noting how limited the London Mayor’s powers are compared to the powers of mayors in other big cities in Europe/US.
Read 15 tweets
14 Jul
One possible answer to the West Lothian Question now abandoned. (The WLQ is why 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 and 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 MPs should vote on 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 - only laws (eg Covid restrictions when 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 MPs can’t vote on equivalents in 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 and 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿.)
One approach to the WLQ is simply to refuse to ask it.
The current government’s position is set out by Rees-Mogg in the debate yesterday….
Read 13 tweets
13 Jul
A note (in relation to the breach of the duty to spend 0.7% of gross national income on development assistance) on “pretty dubious legally”.
The duty is to be found in s.1 of the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015.
That duty applies all the time. But if it isn’t complied with the Secretary of State must explain what has gone wrong (see (3) and what is being done to correct it (4)).
Read 7 tweets
10 Jul
So far, 3 days later, no response from @ukhomeoffice. Assertions that the proposed offence doesn’t cover the RNLI rescuing asylum seekers at sea and landing them safely on shore aren’t any use without an explanation of why that is so.
Also, note the wording. What about individuals or shipping companies rescuing people in distress at sea? What, exactly, are the boundaries of the conduct to which this offence is said not to apply? What, for example, is meant by “distress” (would overcrowding be enough?)
Before you can answer those questions - important questions given the seriousness of the offence and the need to prevent loss of life at sea - you need to know where the alleged exception comes from and its legal basis.
Read 6 tweets

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