The new parliamentary session began last week, with a Queen’s speech that laid out a highly ambitious volume of new bills. Many of these are likely to prove controversial – including planned constitutional measures. To assess how the government … [Read more...] about The Queen’s speech, the Johnson government, and the constitution – lessons from the 2021-22 session
On Friday 22 April, The Constitution Society held a conference that looked at the power of the executive within the UK political system. Speakers at the conference considered the nature the government’s power and its relationship with the … [Read more...] about Conference: Executive power and the UK constitution
Her Majesty has signalled Royal Assent to the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022. The Act repeals the Fixed-term Parliament Act 2011, thereby removing the constraints Fixed-term Parliaments Act (FTPA) placed on the royal prerogative power … [Read more...] about The intention behind the repeal of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act is to strengthen the executive and the Conservative Party
Concerns about the prospects for UK democracy are widespread. Many in the past have raised similar concerns. A major deterioration or shift towards authoritarianism has not previously occurred in the UK. But we should not conclude that previous … [Read more...] about Should we be worried about democracy in the United Kingdom?
Amidst the clamour of the Commons following the publication of Sue Gray’s interim report into ‘partygate’, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he would be creating an ‘Office of the Prime Minister’ to deal with “fragmented and complicated” … [Read more...] about A Prime Minister’s department: redefining the centre of British government?
I apologise to Alexandra Hall Hall (and The Clash) for recycling the title of her recent paper (which is well worth reading in full) analysing the circumstances in which a permanent US or UK civil servant might be driven to offer their principled … [Read more...] about Should I stay or should I go?
A year ago today, the country was put into lockdown. The aim was to hold back the COVID pandemic and to prevent it from spreading through the population beyond the inevitable. This was, said the Prime Minister, the biggest ever peacetime challenge to … [Read more...] about Is the constitution able to learn from mistakes?
The Johnson Government and its MPs have little in common with the former Conservative Party. Worryingly, from a civil service perspective, it has much more in common with the Scottish National Party. The SNP came to power in Scotland having had … [Read more...] about The Conservatives and the SNP: more in common than meets the eye?
The British constitution was, as recently as in the 1960s, ‘almost universally regarded as well-nigh perfect.’ Since then, however, it has been ‘substantially transformed’ from ‘order’ to ‘mess.’ So according to the late Anthony King, in his The … [Read more...] about Britain is not a well governed country
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
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
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?