The Ulster Unionist Party’s South Antrim MP Danny Kinahan has hailed the launch of an all Party Parliamentary Group at Westminster as a good day for Unionism throughout the United Kingdom.
Mr Kinahan said:
“On Tuesday at Westminster we held the first full meeting of the APPG on the Union and the attendance confirmed the seriousness with which so many people view the constitutional challenges that currently face the United Kingdom.
“Professor Hazel from University College London (UCL) commenced proceedings by highlighting the lack of any overall plan to consider a range of issues including the European referendum, the difference in the forms of devolution and the varying extent of powers in each devolved region, English Votes for English Laws and what exactly is meant by devolving powers to English cities and regions.
“In addition, the vote in the House of Lords on Monday evening, which saw the first challenge in a century to the convention that the Lords do not vote down Finance Bills, has raised concern that long established principles are effectively up for grabs. We must also consider the use of the guillotine to speed up the legislative processes in the House of Commons, which means that legislation is often not properly scrutinised.
“It is a matter of great concern that the Union as we know it is under threat and that is why this All-Party Parliamentary Group is so important, in that it will provide a vehicle for concerns to be raised and solutions put forward.
“I am pleased to say that we now have a group with a temporary Conservative Chair, a temporary Labour Vice Chair and a very strong pro unionist contingent to explore how we can preserve the Union in the 21st Century and ensure that all its constituent parts can thrive.
“I look forward to the next meeting in November at which the Constitutional Reform Group will be outlining their proposals for the need for a new Act of Union.”