Progressive Futures

Completing England

7 June 2018

Labour must ensure England is not left out of the devolution agenda

John Denham
Creative Photo Corner /

This paper argues that Westminster, and particularly the Labour party, has failed to understand the particular politics of England – as opposed to Britain. During the devolution process that has taken place during recent decades, first to the devolved national assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and more recently to the city-region mayors that have emerged across England, the voice of England as a nation has not had its own representation, despite most English people identifying themselves as English rather than British.

Marginal constituencies in England will be critical for Labour to hope to win a majority in the next general election, as many of these former Labour strongholds voted in favour of Brexit and have become to slip away from the party. Labour must embrace English identity and the need to rethink English representation, not just for the sake of regaining power in Westminster, but also in an attempt to heal the cultural cleavages that the referendum result showed we can no longer afford to ignore.