To understand the significance of reshuffles, we must first understand the motivations of the Prime Minister enacting them. The primary one of all Prime Ministers is to maintain power, and this can be achieved by winning elections and fending off … [Read more...] about The Complex Implications of Reshuffles
Our recent book, The Bonfire of the Decencies: Repairing and Restoring the British Constitution, analysed the turbulent 2019-2022 Boris Johnson administration from a constitutional perspective. It noted a worrying tendency. Johnson himself, and … [Read more...] about Post-Johnson, constitutional combustion continues. But the fire can be extinguished
On 5 September, the Conservative Party will announce its new leader, and Britain’s next Prime Minister. After five rounds of voting, Conservative MPs have narrowed the choice down to two candidates, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. But the final decision … [Read more...] about Party members choosing Prime Ministers – a constitutional concern?
Conservative politicians are currently busy distancing themselves from Boris Johnson. But he is more than just an unfortunate one-off episode in political history, as a consideration of his constitutional legacy demonstrates. Johnson brought his own … [Read more...] about The constitutional consequences of Mr. Johnson
When an updated version of the Ministerial Code was published last month, most of the headlines focused on the idea that the under-pressure Prime Minister had watered down the Code in order to save his own skin. As constitutional observers were quick … [Read more...] about Upholding standards in public life: the presidential and ‘pragmatic populist’ challenges
We can divide departures of prime ministers into two broad categories. The first type comes after a General Election, when a party (or group of parties) other than that of the outgoing premier becomes able to command the confidence of the House of … [Read more...] about Removing a Prime Minister
Is there a constitutional requirement for Boris Johnson to resign as Prime Minister? As is often the case with such questions, arriving at an answer is a complex task. The basic principles involved are set out in the Ministerial Code. Paragraph 1.3 c … [Read more...] about A constitutional requirement to resign?
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?
Constitutional conventions are tricky creatures. Famously described by AV Dicey (1885) as “the morality of the constitution”, conventions establish non-legal rules of political conduct. They derive, in Ivor Jennings’ (1959) and Geoffrey Marshall’s … [Read more...] about How (not) to kill a constitutional convention: Theresa May’s intervention in Syria, April 2018
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