It felt like the King’s Speech should have been a bigger event. I was sat watching the King and Queen arrive in Westminster from my office window. I refused an offer to go see him close-up that morning and instead opted out for a packet of Walkers … [Read more...] about A King’s Speech fit for a dying government
Traditionally in Northern Ireland (or NI) mention of constitutional change has meant only one thing: United Kingdom (UK) vs United Ireland (UI). Known simply as ‘the constitutional question’, the issue to which this juxtaposition points – … [Read more...] about Northern Ireland and its (other) constitutional issues
In this blog I examine the formal mechanisms governing relations between the Senedd and the Welsh Government. I begin with a brief overview that explains how the Welsh institutions have developed since 1999. Then I consider developments in the most … [Read more...] about Inter-institutional partnership: the Senedd and the Welsh Government
The Deposit Return Scheme The Scottish Government’s quest to introduce the beleaguered Deposit Return Scheme (“DRS”) appears to be like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. Originally, Scotland was due to launch the UK’s first DRS for drinks … [Read more...] about The Deposit Return Scheme and the UK Internal Market
Last week the Constitution Society went on the road to Edinburgh to host two events connected with what is increasingly termed the “territorial constitution”. Some months in the planning, the Society is indebted to our partners who helped make both … [Read more...] about In Review: Two Constitution Society Events in Edinburgh
Review of Richard Johnson and Yuan Yi Zhu, Sceptical Perspectives on the Changing Constitution of the United Kingdom (Bloomsbury, 2023) It is by now a truism that the Brexit referendum of 2016 brought constitutional issues to the fore of … [Read more...] about More Bonaparte than Bagehot
The four constituent nations of the United Kingdom exist within a unitary state which is not underpinned by the transparent checks and balances of a formal written constitution. Many are appalled when they realise that the UK’s uncodified … [Read more...] about Renewing Intergovernmental Relations: The Case for Reform
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the momentous Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (GFA) that – among other things – helped to bring to a close the violence of “The Troubles” and established a series of new, interlocking institutions to govern … [Read more...] about Devolution and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement: a stuttering failure?
In 1647 the Putney Debates brought people together to discuss the future of democracy following the victory of the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War. On 24th March 2023, The Constitution Society brought together academics and constitutional … [Read more...] about Conference review – A crisis in UK democracy?
For Scotland, the campaign continues, and the dream shall never die. These, the assuaging words of then-First Minister Alex Salmond announcing his intention to resign the morning after losing the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014. … [Read more...] about A tale of two paradoxes: Sturgeon’s legacy to the constitution
When I was commissioned by The Constitution Society in July 2022 to write a report on the UK Government’s proposed ‘Modern’ Bill of Rights Bill, I would not have anticipated that by January 2023 the Bill would have been shelved under a new Prime … [Read more...] about Post-Brexit Britain needs an ambitious Bill of Rights rooted in integrity and purpose
With the Conservatives in political difficulty, Labour doing well in the polls, but a hung parliament possible in autumn 2024, policies emerging from the opposition will be heavily scrutinized. In December 2022, Labour’s Commission on the UK’s … [Read more...] about Can Labour do constitutional reform again?