The Changing Constitution

The Changing Constitution

The Changing Constitution

The Changing Constitution


This textbook provides an introduction to the topical subject of constitutional change in Britain. It considers the historical origins of the constitution but its main focus is on recent reforms and their likely impact.It includes chapters on:•The Legislature: The House of Commons and the House of Lords•The Executive•The Judiciary•The Debate over a Written Constitution and a Bill of Rights for the UK•Devolution: Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the English Regions•Electoral Reform and Referenda•The European Union and the United Kingdom Constitution•The 'Hollowing Out of the State'The key theme running throughout the book is the debate as to whether the constitution has undergone a revolutionary transformation or has gradually evolved.Key Features:•Includes up-to-date examples of constutional change in Britain•Offers a readable, stimulating and provocative introduction to the subject•Covers all the major issues surrounding the constitution in Britain


Constitutional matters are often regarded as something of a side issue in British politics, the preoccupation of academics, far removed from the concerns of the average voter. Although since 1997 New Labour has embarked on a major, even revolutionary transformation of the constitution, remarkably little attention was given to this upheaval in its election campaigns of 2001 and 2005.

It is the contention of this book that in fact debate on the constitution is, should be and historically often has been the very stuff of British political life.

Sufficient time has now elapsed for some sort of assessment and appraisal of recent constitutional reforms to be possible. This we have attempted to do. Limitations of space have, however, imposed a certain selectivity: the monarchy is an obvious example of an element of the constitution that has not been awarded a chapter of its own. Nor have we been able to say much about constitutional change before 1997.

We wish to offer our heartfelt thanks for the tireless work of Angela Dale in reading the script and suggesting many emendations that have proved invaluable to the overall clarity of the text. Ruth Locket of St Bede’s College, Manchester, also deserves grateful mention here for the loan of her highly interesting MA thesis on the West Lothian question. Needless to say, any errors and omissions are our responsibility.

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