As Dr Andrew Blick highlighted in his piece on this blog looking back at the year just passed, if there’s one thing 2020 has demonstrated it’s the propensity for the unexpected to change the narrative. This propensity of course remains present as we … [Read more...] about 2021: what lies ahead?
The New Year Honours list provides us with just one example of the various and wide-ranging forms of patronage at the disposal of the UK government. This post explores the potential for its abuse. According to its critics, the current government … [Read more...] about Cronyism, Covid and the Constitution
As expected, 2020 brought constitutional turbulence, but not wholly of the type we might have foreseen. At the outset of the year, it was reasonable to anticipate various strains lying ahead. They looked set to arise from the programme on which the … [Read more...] about 2020: constitutional review of the year
Stephen Hockman QC was called to the Bar in 1970 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1990. Dave Drew is a General Counsel who has worked previously in the House of Commons. Introduction As is widely known, the Conservative Party have plans to make … [Read more...] about Constitutional reform: a legal perspective on the issues
One passage in particular from the 2019 Conservative General Election manifesto has generated considerable discussion among constitutional observers. It comprised the promise that, if elected, a Conservative government would set up a Constitution, … [Read more...] about The Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission: death by independent review
The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 made major changes to the way that general elections are called in the United Kingdom. It took away the prime minister’s ability to call early elections at a time of their choosing, and handed this power instead to … [Read more...] about How could the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 be improved?
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