The Priti Patel affair highlights some general peculiarities of the UK constitution. At the centre of this episode lies a document, the Ministerial Code. This text, which formed the basis of the investigation into the Home Secretary, is regarded as … [Read more...] about De-coding the constitution?
Dominic Cummings’ departure from No. 10 has been widely been framed as a ‘reset’ moment for the government. But will it reset the government’s approach to the constitution? It seems that Downing Street is keen, at least on some level, to encourage … [Read more...] about Cummings and the constitution: continuity or change?
With hindsight, the manner of Dominic Cummings’ departure from No.10 was predictable. Intense public controversy has surrounded much of his career, including his tenure as the most senior special adviser to Boris Johnson after the latter became Prime … [Read more...] about Exit Cummings: the historical perspective
The UK Internal Market Bill (IMB) continues to draw much criticism and opposition as it makes its way through Parliament – most recently suffering a historic 268 vote defeat in the House of Lords. But what questions does its drafting and possible … [Read more...] about Should civil servants follow instructions to act unlawfully?
A change of regime in Washington is always likely to produce international repositioning. The sharp shift in tone and content now anticipated has already made an impact in the United Kingdom (UK), as elsewhere. After the result of the United States … [Read more...] about Boris Johnson and Donald Trump: constitutional common ground?
The localised approach to the pandemic is over for the time being. But the tensions in English governance it brought to the fore remain unresolved. The recent stand-off over financial support raised the profile of particular city leaders and … [Read more...] about English local government and devolution: inconsistent and incomplete
The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has provided much inspiration for this blog lately. It continues to do so with its inquiry, currently open, into ‘[t]he role and status of the Prime Minister’s … [Read more...] about The Prime Minister’s Office: opacity with a purpose
The role of ministers in the making (and unmaking) of appointments to senior public offices has attracted increased attention lately. Speculation has focused on institutions such as the Civil Service, the BBC, Ofcom, and the Electoral Commission. The … [Read more...] about Protecting integrity in public appointments
A review in light of recent events Public bodies have been much in the spotlight in the last few months. Courting controversy and concern is nothing new for the many organisations which conduct public functions at varying degrees of remove from … [Read more...] about Public bodies and the constitution
Yesterday I gave oral evidence (via Zoom) to the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC). It is conducting an inquiry into the government's proposed 'Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission'. … [Read more...] about Waiting for the Commission
This conversation with Martin Stanley accompanies his recent blog on the subject of the questions faced by the incoming Cabinet Secretary. Martin Stanley was a Senior Civil Servant in the Business Department and Cabinet Office. He then became Chief … [Read more...] about The Civil Service and the constitution: in conversation with Martin Stanley
Four constitutional questions that the new Cabinet Secretary must answer Simon Case, the new Cabinet Secretary, faces four significant constitutional questions. His responses will have repercussions for years to come. First, he must … [Read more...] about Constitutional questions facing the new Cabinet Secretary