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Corbyn: A federal UK is on the table if I become PM

Speaking in Glasgow, the Labour leader said his party would look at 'all options'.

By STV News

Published 24 Aug 2017.

A federal structure for the UK is possible if Labour win power at Westminster, Jeremy Corbyn has indicated.

The Labour leader said that should he become prime minister, his government would look "at all options around devolution", adding: "Everything is on the table."

Corbyn also said that he backs powers coming back from the EU which are currently in devolved policy areas, such as agriculture and fishing, going to the devolved nations.

It comes amid concerns from the Scottish and Welsh Governments that the UK Government is seeking to take power over these areas away from Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast in its Brexit Repeal Bill.

Labour's Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has united in opposition to the legislation with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, describing it as a "power grab".

Corbyn was joined by Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale on Thursday as he toured locations in Glasgow in the second day of a campaigning blitz in Scotland focusing on marginal constituencies.

He hopes to capitalise on Labour's surprise result in June's snap election when it gained six seats north of the border, all from the SNP, having lost 40 two years previously.

Plans put forward by Dugdale to reform the UK and create a federal system of governance were endorsed by Scottish Labour members in February.

Speaking to STV News, Corbyn was asked if he backed the proposals.

He said: "We are going to be looking at all options around devolution, about powers that are currently held in Brussels going to the nations and regions of England.

"We'll also be looking at the future structure of an upper chamber, of what the House of Lords will look like in a democratic Britain, and obviously we'll look at devolution in that context."

Pressed on if that meant federalism was on the table, the Labour leader answered: "Everything is on the table."

Corbyn added that he spoke with Carwyn Jones about his concerns over the Brexit Repeal Bill, saying: "We absolutely agree on the importance of those powers going to Scotland and Wales, and to English regions for that matter."

However, asked if this meant that he thought areas like agriculture and fishing - currently a matter of devolved policy - should remain the "sole responsibility" of the devolved nations as powers come back from Brussels, he cautioned that an accord between all countries involved would be needed.

Corbyn said: "I think there has to be an agreement reached between all countries on it, because if you say to every country, wherever, 'you've got total responsibility to take as many fish as you wish out of those waters', then we all lose out.

"There has to be an international agreement on it. The negotiations have to involve the (devolved) nations as well."