A common complaint about the constitutional reform programme pursued by the Labour governments of 1997–2010 was that it was disjointed. The same problem has recurred under the Coalition since 2010, even in those bits of ‘the biggest shake up of our … [Read more...] about Electoral Collision Course? The Boundaries and the Register After May 2015
Much of the media commentary on the Scottish referendum and its aftermath has focussed on the apparent poor judgement of the Westminster elite - and the prime minister in particular – in the negotiation of the Edinburgh Agreement and the subsequent … [Read more...] about How not to change the constitution
This publication examines the implications of a 'No' vote for the UK constitution. It concludes that a ‘no’ vote would not mean ‘no change’, and that it was very likely that unionist parties would adopt proposals for more devolution. It examined the … [Read more...] about If Scotland says ‘No’ What next for the Union?
This publication was produced in partnership with Unlock Democracy. The pamphlet argued that, whatever the result of Scotland’s independence referendum, careful constitutional thinking would be needed. It examined how such constitution-making should … [Read more...] about After the Referendum, Options For a Constitutional Convention
In most democratic states, the mechanisms for constitutional change are clearly separated from mechanisms for enacting ‘ordinary’ legislation. They are also designed to make any significant alteration in existing constitutional arrangements a … [Read more...] about Distinguishing Constitutional Legislation: A modest proposal
One of the most important assumptions in British politics since 1945 has been the existence of single-party, majority governments deriving their mandates from voters. The hung parliament and subsequent coalition government of 2010 therefore raised … [Read more...] about Mandates, Manifestos and Coalitions: UK Party Politics after 2010
A paper by David R. Howarth (University of Cambridge) and Shona Wilson Stark (Christ's College, Cambridge) is available online. It breaks new ground in its assessment of the British constitution. Using interviews with senior UK officials about … [Read more...] about The Reality of the British Constitution
Democratic legitimacy and the concentration of power Diagnosing the problem There is a very widespread view in Britain that our political culture is dysfunctional. According to the survey carried out for the Hansard Society’s 2013 Audit of … [Read more...] about Unconstitutional Democracy?
The Constitution Society was pleased to work with our friends at the Constitution Unit to deliver a high profile discussion on the latest attempts at Lords Reform. Chaired by Dr Ruth Fox from the Hansard Society with Lord Steel and, constitutional … [Read more...] about Audio of Lord Steel and Dr Meg Russell discussion on Lords Reform
Lord Steel's bill allowing retirements and expulsion from the House of Lords has its second reading in the Lords on 28 March. While the core content of the bill has been widely welcomed, some concerns have been raised about a potential "loophole" … [Read more...] about Lords Reform: the Steel Bill and beyond
Judicial review faces an uncertain future. The government's proposed reforms in this area - not least, restricting who may bring a claim - are attracting controversy. Our new report takes a step back from the heat of that debate to illuminate the … [Read more...] about Judicial Review and the Rule of Law: Who is in Control?
Parliamentary privilege is essential to the functioning of a modern, democratic Parliament. Free speech in Parliament is as crucial now as it was when the Bill of Rights was enacted in the seventeenth century. However if Parliament has an 'adversary' … [Read more...] about Parliamentary Privilege: Evolution or Codification?