The Constitution in Review 5

Authors:

In its fifth report, covering the period from January through June of 2023, the United Kingdom Constitution Monitoring Group has highlighted numerous areas of concern regarding the UK constitution. These spanned the Boris Johnson Lords nominations, issues with the Illegal Migration Bill, the introduction of Voter ID, breaches of the Ministerial Code, the continuing lack of an executive in Northern Ireland, failures in intergovernmental relations, the degradation of the Sewel Convention and the behaviour of Johnson and other parliamentarians toward the House of Commons Privileges Committee. 

The UKCMG now suggests, in line with international trends, that there is evidence of a desire on the part of some who operate our political system to wholly bypass or even remove barriers to the violation of constitutional norms. 

The editor of the report, Professor Andrew Blick of King’s College London said: ‘This report period saw senior politicians, including a former Prime Minister, being found to have violated basic constitutional and ethical principles. That it is possible to inquire into and condemn such transgressions is heartening. However, the response of the individuals concerned tended to be to challenge the process rather than accept the outcome. Pressure on standards in public life, and many other aspects of our system, remain a serious cause for concern.’

The United Kingdom Constitution Monitoring Group (UKCMG) is composed of leading constitutional experts including former permanent secretaries of the civil service, professors of public law and a former lord chief justice of England and Wales. 

This publication presents the personal views of the author and not those of The Constitution Society, which publishes it as a contribution to debate on this important subject.