Constitutional theory thesis program ( 2000 words )
Chapter 1 – Introduction
The summer of 2007 will be remembered as one of high political play, as the 10 twelvemonth period of Tony Blair’s leading eventually came to an terminal, and the long-time presumptive replacement, Gordon Brown, took over. Assuming the leading of a party in the center of its 3rd controversial term, Brown was in a strong place to stomp his personal leading manner, and trade name of political relations, onto the party that might easy happen itself in crisis with the electorate. One of the countries in which Brown and the renewed leading aimed to be peculiarly active was that of the fundamental law. This essay will see the constitutional policy way that Brown has taken since he assumed the leading, and will analyze the effects of this policy, both that have already occurred, and that are likely to happen in the following two old ages.
Chapter 2 – History and context
The constitutional policy of the Brown-led Labour Party must be contextualised historically and politically, in order to measure the extent of any new going. One can get down such a contextualisation with a brief consideration of the New Labour authorities that came to power in 1997. After decennaries of turning clamor for constitutional reform in a figure of countries ( notably House of Lords reform and human rights statute law ) , there was great outlook of dramatic alteration in constitutional policy. What really came about has been described as a “half-hearted constitutional revolution” . [ 1 ] A formidable desire to reform the fundamental law was doubtless present in the early yearss of the New Labour disposal, nevertheless, with some 20 constitutional measures being steered through Parliament in the first three Parliamentary Sessionss. [ 2 ] There rapidly emerged, nevertheless, both a grade of antipathy towards the sum of clip constitutional issues were taking up amongst senior curates, and a concern that this raft of steps lacked an overall program or scheme. William Hague famously commented that “Labour has embarked on a journey of constitutional turbulence without a path map.” Labour’s first term did, nevertheless, see dramatic constitutional alterations.
By the 2nd Labour election in June 2001, the precedence of constitutional reform had given manner to alternative party concerns. In theoretical footings, a penchant for the strong-government properties of the traditional Westminster theoretical account of the fundamental law had replaced the more Broad position of the first term. The chief constitutional developments of Labour’s 2nd term were a limited bundle of Parliamentary modernization, farther deliberations about the possible future way of the House of Lords, and a audience paper about degeneration to the English parts. Of peculiar note, nevertheless, was the knee-jerk Government response to mounting unfavorable judgment, of denoting the abolishment of the function of Lord Chancellor and the constitution of a new Department for Constitutional Affairs. Besides of note were two constitutional measures ; the House of Lords Bill, and the Constitutional Reform Bill. These enterprises once more reflected something of a deficiency of overall scheme or way, nevertheless.
Chapter 3 – The Governance ofBritainEnterprise
Throughout the first two footings of the Labour Government, so, we see considerable, but non extremist, constitutional developments. These have tended to uncover symptoms of being somewhat sporadic and missing in overall strategic design. It was widely recognised, peculiarly as his leading went on, that Tony Blair was non a fan of constitutional reform. Possibly what was needed to complete ( or at least advancement ) this halfhearted constitutional revolution, was a new, more enthusiastic, leader. In the summer months of 2007, such a leader arrived in the form of Gordon Brown. Within yearss ( literally ) of his presuming the leading, the Labour party produced itsAdministration ofBritainGreen Paper. Although ( as has been seen earlier ) the 10 old ages of Labour authorities since 1997 had seen considerable constitutional developments, it was widely felt that this programme of reform needed both a fresh drift and a cohesive way.
The Green Paper sought to turn to this, with a peculiar accent on certain subjects ; Britishness, citizenship, and civic engagement. These subjects are considered under a figure of headers. The first is “Limiting the power of the executive” . This can be seen as a response to the progressively presidential centralization of power to the executive that has characterised the Labour disposals, and which has been the topic of much unfavorable judgment. The proposals under this heading include taking certain prerogative powers from the executive ( the Royal Prerogative relates to certain historic powers of the executive that may be exercised without legislative authorization or any restraint ) , increasing the degree of public examination of assignments to public offices, and reexamining the function of the Attorney-General. The 2nd header is “Making the executive more accountable” , and includes proposals to print a comprehensive legislative program, and to reexamine and revise the controversial Ministerial Code. The 3rd header is “Reinvigorating our democracy” , and screens proposals such as agencies by which engagement in local authorities and services can be increased, a proposed audience on traveling election yearss to the weekend, and reexamining the right to protest in the locality of Parliament. The concluding header is “Britain’s hereafter: the citizen and the state” , which covers the politically sensitive countries of a possible British Bill of Rights, and the sensed demand for a Statement of Values” .
Chapter 4 – The response to the Green Paper
As can be seen, so, the Green Paper is wide in its capable affair, and screens certain politically charged issues. One of the intents of incumbent authoritiess publishing green documents is to estimate the reaction to the probationary proposals made therein, in order that the authorities may measure the likeliness of go throughing into jurisprudence its proposals. Much of the subsequent constitutional development following the publication of the Governance of Britain Green Paper ( until now, and traveling frontward until 2010 ) , has been and will be apparent from the response to the Green Paper. How, so, was it received?
When the proposals were introduced into Parliament by the Prime Minister, it was interesting to observe a grade of cross-party consensus about some of the steps. The Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron, for illustration, stated that the “British system of authorities and political relations demands existent and permanent alteration. The state is excessively centralized, Parliament is excessively weak, Ministers do non give consecutive replies and people feel shut out of decision-making. That is why we need alteration. We welcome much of what is in the [ Prime Minister’s introductory ] statement… [ 3 ] Despite this, nevertheless, Cameron went on to knock the deficiency of consideration of the controversial West Lothian inquiry ( associating to Scottish MPs voting on English domestic steps ) , and the deficiency of committedness to a referendum on the European Reform Treaty. Sir Menzies Campbell, leader of the Broad Democrats at the clip, raised farther inquiries about issues that were non addressed in the Green Paper, but the grade of understanding was important.
This, so, represented the initial Parliamentary response. Much power, nevertheless, besides rests in the Select Committees. The relevant Committees that took an involvement in the proposals were the Public Administration Select Committee, and the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee ( both consisting members of the House of Commons ) , and the Constitution Committee in the House of Lords. How did they react to the proposals? The first of these stated in its study that it “has long been an advocator of rebalancing the relationship between Government, Parliament and the populace. We are pleased to see so many of our recommendations being acted on by the Government.” [ 4 ] Although the Committee’s study went on to turn to farther countries that required consideration, once more there was a big grade of consensus about the virtues of the Green Paper. Similarly, the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee reported that it “welcomes this wide-ranging and comprehensive statement of the Government’s proposals for constitutional reform and the Ministry of Justice’s committedness to present this “encyclopaedia” of reforms and the fact that it reflects a deliberative attack to constitutional reform.” [ 5 ]
Chapter 5 – From proposals to action: the Constitutional Renewal Bill
A study in theMugwumpdescribed the Constitutional Renewal Bill as “just PR” . Simon Carr described Jack Straw, who had introduced the Bill, as a “wily, polished charmer” , and went on to depict his Bill as a “self-defeating mish-mash of bilge, testiss and fudge” ! [ 6 ] This reflected the assorted response of the Bill in the imperativeness, and the wider population. How did the commissariats of the audience paper translate into the commissariats of the Bill?
On 25 March 2008, Gordon Brown, and Jack Straw, the Secretary of State, announced what would go the following stairss in implementing the Labour constitutional policy. Straw announced that “the reforms proposed today are a important committedness to guarantee that power lies where it should – with Parliament and the people.” [ 7 ] The first of these stairss was to print a White Paper, based non merely on the initial thoughts contained in theAdministration of Britain, but besides on the many and disparate responses received to the audience. The White Paper non merely put out the Government’s existent place in relation to the proposals, it besides contained a bill of exchange of the Constitutional Renewal Bill. The bill of exchange Bill introduced a figure of important reforms, including in relation to pull offing protests in the locality of Parliament ( viz. the remotion of presentment and mandate demands ) ; the function of the Attorney General ( including new one-year studies to Parliament, and remotion of the power to direct the Director of Public Prosecutions ) ; judicial assignments ( including taking the power of assignment from the Prime Minister of Judgess to the Supreme Court ) ; pacts ( seting Parliament’s function in size uping pacts on a statutory terms ) ; and certain commissariats in relation to the flight of the Union flag. As can be seen, so, many of the issues identified in the Green Paper have made it into the bill of exchange Bill.
Chapter 6 – Ideology behind the Constitutional Renewal Bill
In an earlier chapter, we identified a common unfavorable judgment of the Labour governments’ constitutional reform policies as being sporadic and missing in overall construction, way, or even political orientation. Can we spot any of these properties in the recent policy developments? Surely, the really fact that the Bill is the consequence of an extended audience with many interested parties showing a position and ( seemingly ) exerting some influence, reflects a grade of planning and way that was notably missing in earlier constitutional developments. The constitution of the Department of Constitutional Affairs and confusion over the function ( and being ) of the Lord Chancellor exhibited no such drawn-out audience.
What of political orientation? A consideration of the single commissariats of the Bill reveals a instead self-contradictory underlying political orientation. It contains, on the one manus, proviso for revoking certain subdivisions of theSerious Organised Crime Act 2005which have had a damaging consequence on freedom of address and freedom of assembly in the locality of Parliament. [ 8 ] This has been welcomed by the more libertarian members of the political community. Although non in direct contrast to these liberalizing steps, Part 6 of the Bill provides that curates of the Crown may amend, revoke or revoke any proviso of the Act ( if and when it became it jurisprudence ) , something which the Libertarian Party UK has described as giving “grave cause for concern” . [ 9 ]
Chapter 7 – Decision
We have seen how the Labour authoritiess, since 1997, have embarked upon a programme of constitutional reform which, although enthusiastic at first, has been hampered by a deficiency of overall scheme and planning. The Constitutional Renewal Bill, in contrast, was the consequence of considerable planning and audience, and appears to turn to a assortment of constitutional issues that will be politically accomplishable ( that is to state there is nil outrageously extremist in the Bill ) over the coming old ages. It seems, so, that although there are certain steps within the Bill that are popular with more liberal-minded perceivers, the consequence is mostly nullified by commissariats leting ministerial change at any clip. A misanthropic reading may be that the Brown authorities was speedy to demo its willingness to turn to constitutional issues with a reforming ardor, but has shown itself loath to present important constitutional rebalancing of power.
Constitutional Reform Act 2005
Constitutional Renewal Bill 2008
Human Rights Act 1998
Serious Organised Crime Act 2005
Constitutional Affairs Select Committee,Particular Report: The Governance ofBritain( 23 July 2007 ) , HC 907 2006-2007
Dunleavy, P. , Heffernan, R. , Cowley, P. and Hay, C. ( Eds )Developments in British Politicss, 8ThursdayEdition ( Basingstoke: Palgrave )
The Governance ofBritainGreen Paper ( July 2007 )
Munro, C.R. ( 2005 )Surveies in Constitutional Law, 2neodymiumEdition ( Oxford: OUP )
Oliver, D. ( 2003 )Constitutional Reform in theUnited kingdom( Oxford: OUP )
Parpworth, N. ( 2004 )Constitutional and Administrative Law, 3rdEdition ( London: LexisNexis )
Public Administration Select Committee,Particular Report: The Governance ofBritain( 11 July 2007 ) , HC 901 2006-2007