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Conservative MSP says Brexit vote highlights need for federal system across UK

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser.
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser has reiterated his call for a federal UK to deal with the constitutional issues thrown up by Brexit.

Mr Fraser said the vote to leave the European Union against the wishes of Scotland and other major areas of the UK highlights “disparities” in political thinking across the country.

The Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP is a long-standing advocate for federalism, previously proposing it as a solution to the constitutional issues highlighted in the Scottish independence referendum.

He now has some potential cross-party allies following the Brexit vote, with Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale suggesting “a potential federalist solution” to keep Scotland in both the EU and UK.

Her deputy Alex Rowley has called for “a federal system of government” following the SNP Scottish Government’s re-election in May, insisting “the constitution in the UK is broken”.

And Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, Labour’s leader in Wales, has proposed “some sort of federation” for his country, insisting “the last thing we want is to be considered some sort of annexe to England”.

The Liberal Democrats have campaigned for UK federalism for decades, and the SNP has pledged to explore all options to keep Scotland in the EU.

Mr Fraser said: “The vote in the EU referendum, in which Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as London, voted to Remain, and England and Wales voted to Leave, shows that there are disparities in the way that different parts of our United Kingdom act and think politically.

“This should be a wake-up call to governments and politicians of all parties.

“Our state is still too centralised, and we need to recognise the need for different systems in different parts of the UK.

“If the UK is to continue, then it must be willing to continue to devolve power to its territories.

“The answer to this problem is federalism. It’s time has come.”

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