University 18 Yrs + | Constitutional Change
The UK’s 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.