Skip navigation
The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Ed Cox urges MPs to support a new constitutional settlement for nations and regions

The Director of leading think-tank, IPPR North, has set out three steps toward a better deal for all nations are regions of the UK.

Giving evidence to the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into devolution and Brexit, Ed Cox explained that “Brexit was a cry of disempowerment” on the part of people, particularly in the North of England and other places that feel left behind by a centralised system of governance. He urged MPs to support a three step proposal:

  • In the short-term he argued that a clear framework for devolution for all of the 38 city and county regions in England is needed, with cross-governmental commitment to some basic principles of subsidiarity.
  • In the medium-term he set out that we need a small number of strong English regions, as can be seen in every other developed nation of a similar size, who can drive forward industrial strategy at a meaningful scale.
  • In the long-term, he made the case for a new constitutional settlement for the UK’s nations and regions with much greater levels of fiscal devolution and a far more mature understanding of good governance on the part of Parliament and Whitehall.

Giving evidence to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee, Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North said:

We have to understand that Brexit was a cry of disempowerment, on the part of people, particularly in the North of England, but people more generally in those places that feel they were ignored, not only by Brussels, but also by the Westminster elite.

“We need a new constitutional settlement and a more mature understanding of what good governance looks like in the modern economic state. At the moment we do not have that understanding and we are some way behind the way that good governance works in most modern economies.

“We currently respond to national economic shocks at a national level, but what we need is industrial strategies at an optimum level. The most successful economic units are between six to twelve million people. The UK is too big and cities are too small. We need a mezzanine level to make significant decisions on economic strategy and fiscal devolution”.



Rosie Corrigan, Media and Campaigns Manager for IPPR North, on 0758 577 2633 or [email protected].


IPPR North is the leading think-tank for the north of England, developing bold ideas for a stronger economy and great public services to really take back control in the North. For more information, visit

More information on the PACAC’s Devolution and Exiting the European Inquiry can be found here.

Ed Cox authored Taking back control in the North: A council of the North and other ideas proposes a Council of the North to sit alongside a Northern Citizens Assembly. 

IPPR North’s 2017 report Rebooting Devolution sets out a framework for devolution.

IPPR North’s 2014 report Decentralisation Decade sets out a 10-year blueprint for devolution across all parts of England.