Devolution

Revision notes:

Devolution

• Involves creating new governments in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, investing them with powers that were previously exercised at a UK level. Devolution can happen peacefully, through mutual consent, or civil war.

• Allows it to deal with high-level issues e.g. defence and national security.

• Giving a degree of autonomy to regions within a state enables to pursue their own interests.

• United Kingdom of Great Britain, which was formed by joining England and Wales with Scotland, in 1707, later became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1800.

• Devolution of UK is asymmetrical, with different amounts and types of powers have been devolved in different parts of the country

Devolution in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

• Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly possess general legislative competence

• Under devolution in 1999, Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly have primary law-making powers. They are capable of amending, repealing and replacing Acts of UK Parliament to apply in Scotland and Wales

• Original powers obtained in Wales was merely administrative or executive.

Democracy

• Devolution enhances democracy as it allows people to be governed by institution, they feel have real influence geographically, politically and culturally.

• Representatives are elected to serve in the new devolved legislatures.

Legal and political constitutionalism

• US has legal constitutionalism as the law controls government. There is a written Constitution.

• UK has political constitutionalism as elections control the government. However, it has been accepted that UK Parliament should not legislate on devolved matters unless the relevant devolved legislature consents.

West Lothian question (the English Question)

• Whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, sitting in House of Commons of the UK, should be able to vote on matters that affect only England, while MPs from England are unable to vote on matters that have been devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.