Maintain a strong and stable Union
Last updated: 09:46pm 3 December 2019
Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.30
A strong and stable Union, with no divisive Scottish referendum at this time.
The Union referred to in this policy is the relationship – political, cultural, economic – between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is one of a number of broad policy positions outlined at the start of section two of the manifesto. As such, it is lighter on specifics than the more focused policies contained deeper into that section. Essentially, this is a promise to maintain good relations between the UK government and the constituent countries of the UK.
There are too many moving parts in this policy for us to give them all fair consideration in the space available here. Check out the long, long list of “Related Policies” below to get a sense of just how much is going on – click through to see verdicts for each individual policy. (We haven’t included policies relating to devolution within England below, but those can also be seen as contributing to attempts to maintain the Union)
With so much happening, this policy was always likely to be ‘in progress’ at best. It’s too broad and the determinants of its success change too often for it to ever be deemed ‘done’.
Possibly the most significant factor preventing this pledge from being fulfilled is the existence of the Scottish National Party (SNP) as the largest political party and most influential political force in Scotland. The SNP’s defining principle is that Scotland should be an independent nation, independent of the very Union this policy pledges to maintain. As long as the SNP remains the dominant force in Scottish politics, the Union cannot be considered “strong and stable”, despite the best efforts of any UK government. This policy, then, is ‘in progress’.
A bit of background?
- The Independent guide to the UK constitution: The Union – The Independent
- Scottish independence – BBC News
- Work closely with the devolved parliaments and authorities
- Maintain devolution
- Help secure the sustainability of the Scottish economy
- Continue investment in capital and infrastructure projects in Scotland
- Work with the devolved administrations to deliver common legal frameworks
- Bring forward a Borderlands Growth Deal
- Protect the interests of Scottish farmers and fishermen
- Promote Scottish exports around the world
- Make Welsh businesses central to our new trade and export policies
- Modernise the railway infrastructure across Wales
- Invest to improve Welsh infrastructure
- Explore ways to harness Welsh natural resources
- Foster opportunities between cities in Wales and the rest of the UK
- Work with the Welsh Government to encourage further cross-border working
- Bring forward a North Wales Growth Deal
- rotect the interest of Welsh farmers in our new UK farming policy
- Continue to Support the S4C
- Work to re-establish a Northern Ireland executive as early as possible
- Maintain principles of democracy and consent for Northern Ireland’s future
- Strengthen the economy in Northern Ireland
- Devolve Corporation Tax powers to the [Northern Ireland] executive
- Seek to ensure Northern Ireland’s interests are protected after Brexit
- Support the Police Service of Northern Ireland and other agencies
- Continue to work for the full implementation of the 2014 Stormont House and 2015 Fresh Start Agreements
- Reject attempts to legitimise terrorism in Northern Ireland
- Create a UK Shared Prosperity Fund
- Deliver sustainable growth from the Shared Prosperity Fund
- Ensure the Shared Prosperity Fund is cheap to administer
- Ensure the Shared Prosperity Fund is low in bureacracy
- Ensure the Shared Prosperity Fund is targeted where it is needed most
- Consult widely on the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund
There's always room for debate
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