London attractions
BRIT POLITICS logo
HOME : University 18 Yrs +

Introduction
An unwritten constitution
What are constitutions for
Support for the unwritten constitution - the Whig view
Support for the unwritten constitution - westminster model
Support for the Unwritten Constitution - From the 1970s
What is the British Constitution - Common Law
The Common Law - The Royal Prerogative
The British Constitution - Statute Law
More on Statute Law
The British Constitution - Constitutional Conventions
Authoritative Sources
New Labour and Devolution
New Labour and FOI
New Labour and Human Rights
New Labour and Local Government
New Labour and Monetary Policy
New Labour and Political Parties
New Labour and the House of Lords
New Labour and the Judiciary
Significance since 1997
The Coalition
Introduction
An unwritten constitution
What are constitutions for
Support for the unwritten constitution - the Whig view
Support for the unwritten constitution - westminster model
Support for the Unwritten Constitution - From the 1970s
What is the British Constitution - Common Law
The Common Law - The Royal Prerogative
The British Constitution - Statute Law
More on Statute Law
The British Constitution - Constitutional Conventions
Authoritative Sources
New Labour and Devolution
New Labour and FOI
New Labour and Human Rights
New Labour and Local Government
New Labour and Monetary Policy
New Labour and Political Parties
New Labour and the House of Lords
New Labour and the Judiciary
Significance since 1997
The Coalition
constitution banner

University 18 Yrs + | Constitutional Change

An Unwritten Constitution

If you ask a group of students in almost any other country in the world about their constitution, they can hold up a document which is their constitution, but we cannot and this leads to a number of problems:-

  • Do we have a Constitution at all?  The fictional Cherie Blair in the film The Queen says, “There is no British Constitution” and a case can be made for that view. The textbook answer, though, is that we have an unwritten Constitution that can be found in a number of places (and some of it is written in Acts of Parliament  and a Cabinet Office manual on conventions so an uncodified Constitution would be more accurate than an unwritten Constitution).  
  • How do we know if the Constitution has changed?  In other countries there is generally a special procedure for amending the Constitution that may involve a two-thirds majority in Parliament or, in federal systems, agreement by states and regions, so that a consensus has to build up for change to take place.  In the UK, unless we are sure what the unwritten Constitution is, we cannot be sure about what change has occurred.
  • How is the Constitution protected from short term political decisions by the Government?  In other countries there is a Constitutional Court which guards and interprets the Constitution. It measures cases before it against the Constitution and can declare Parliamentary legislation to be unconstitutional.  In the UK, legislation that changes the Constitution can be passed by a majority of MPs present in the House of Commons when the vote is called.

ON THE OTHER HAND IT CAN BE ARGUED THAT ALL THE PROCESSES IN OTHER COUNTRIES ARE COMPLICATED AND TIME CONSUMING AND PREVENT NECESSARY CHANGES WHEREAS THE BRITISH SYSTEM IS MUCH MORE FLEXIBLE AND ADAPTABLE TO POLITICAL CHANGE. 

tours_468X60_English

Best Sellers


  • DID YOU KNOW? Bob Hoskins, Richard Burton and Christian Slater have all played Winston Churchill in films. 
     

 

Latest News & Features

The Guardian: University League Tables 2018 released

Tony Blair became PM twenty years ago, but what was Blairism?

Profile: Sir Robert Walpole, the first British Prime Minister

Our Twitter Feed