KEIR Starmer “watered down” parts of a major report on devolution, a mayor has claimed as he appealed to independence supporters to find allies in English campaigners fighting to take power away from Westminster.

North of Tyne mayor Jamie Driscoll said the Labour leader censored recommendations put forward by former prime minister Gordon Brown in his constitutional report.

Labour mayors were given advance sight of the document before it was reviewed by the Labour leader ahead of its publication, Driscoll said, only for key recommendations to be struck out.

Speaking ahead of his appearance at the Break Up of Britain Conference in Edinburgh today, Driscoll also urged independence supporters to find common cause with those south of the Border campaigning to devolve power away from London.

READ MORE: Jamie Driscoll: Keir Starmer's Labour government will be 'very unpopular very fast'

He said there had been “some genuine solid proposals” in Brown’s document, including a call to allow mayors to sponsor legislation in Parliament, before its publication in December last year – prior to it being screened by Starmer’s team.

“By the time it had gone through [Starmer’s office] it was all about Lords reform and the rest of it was dropped,” said Driscoll.

The mayor – who Starmer blocked from running as Labour's candidate in a new combined authority mayoral race in the north east of England earlier this year in a major row which saw Driscoll quit the party – said the party leader was afraid of rival power bases presented by local politicians.

Driscoll claimed Starmer also views Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham as “the king across the water” and accused him of picking a political fight with London’s Sadiq Khan (below) over Ulez expansion.

The National: Sadiq Khan

But he argued more power should be devolved from Westminster, even though he believes it unlikely under a Starmer government.

Scottish independence supporters should back their campaign, Driscoll said – claiming it would prove his argument that problems are better solved outside of Westminster.

“Nobody thinks Westminster can fix anything,” he added.

“As your next-door neighbour I would say [to Scotland]: don’t treat us like Westminster. You actually have allies here for the progressive politics that you want to deliver.”

Driscoll said devolution gave English local authorities greater “agility” to respond to challenges and argued they produced better results than those made by central government.

Scotland should see more devolution out of Edinburgh, he argued, echoing arguments made by Scottish Labour.

But he said he doubted Anas Sarwar’s ability to achieve this, should Labour come to power in Westminster.

The National: Anas Sarwar

He argued it was easier to win concessions from central government if “you have a mandate from the people and you’re in a different party” rather than the same side, claiming they have “levers they can use against you”.

Driscoll added: “Anas is going to find it extraordinarily difficult to get anything through [Starmer].”

There have been previous suggestions that Starmer and Brown's visions for the constitutional report were different. 

The Times reported there had been an “11th hour” row between the two before its publication and suggested Brown had wanted all recommendations to be adopted as party policy.

Starmer has since stressed the report will be subject to consultation.

Labour were approached for comment.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll is due to speak at the Break Up of Britain conference at the Assembly Halls in Edinburgh on Saturday. You can find out more about the event here.