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Whitehall has ignored devolution. It does so at its own peril

London must prove to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that it takes their legislatures seriously—or face a break up

By Philip Rycroft  

Photo: Alex MacNaughton / Alamy Stock Photo

What is it about Whitehall and devolution? Substantial legislative powers have been devolved to Scotland and Wales for over 20 years. Devolution in Northern Ireland has a longer—and not always happy—history, but the modern variant also dates from the late 1990s. Surely time enough for Whitehall to adapt its own ways of working and to be at ease with the handling of the dispersal of power to the devolved parts of the United Kingdom?

Evidently not. A paper published this week by the Constitution Society and the Bennett Institute for Public Policy (which I co-authored with Michael Kenny…

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