Discussion Forums » Topic of the Month

Topic for January 2023 - Constitutional Reform

    • 122 posts
    January 23, 2023 12:55 PM GMT

    Constitutional Reform


    This topic was sparked by the recent proposals by Gordon Brown on behalf of the Labour Party.


    What is a Constitution?

    A constitution is the set of principles and rules by which a country is organised and it is usually contained in one document. In the UK a constitution has never been codified in this way; instead, the various statutes, conventions, judicial decisions and treaties which, taken together, govern how the UK is run are referred to collectively as the British Constitution.


    Constitutional reform committee output

    Although it is quite old The-UK-Constitution.pdf (parliament.uk) is worth glancing through as it gives both components of the unwritten UK Constitution and suggestions for reform.


    Gordon Brown Proposals

    Gordon Brown’s proposals are summarised in tabular form by the Institute for Government on their web site in Labour’s constitutional proposals | Institute for Government (note that mediabiasfactcheck.com rates IFG factual information very accurate but generally a slight left of centre bias in wording).

    The headings are:

    Constitutional principles. “Renewing the Purpose of the United Kingdom”
    Devolution within England “The Right Powers in the Right Places”
    Devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in a Reformed United Kingdom”
    Intergovernmental cooperation “Securing the Benefits of Cooperation”
    Standards and ethics “Cleaning up Westminster”
    House of Lords reform “A New Second Chamber for a New Britain”
    Plan for implementation “Conclusion and Next Steps”



    • What are the main components of the Constitution (written or unwritten)?
    • Does the Constitution need to be reformed?
    • Each of Gordon Brown agenda items above. Note let’s try and put ourselves in the mindset of England and then of the ‘regions and countries of the UK’ in turn.
    • Are there lessons for how we should conduct Central Government/Local Government working in harmony?
    • Are there constitutional areas not covered that we think are important?
    • Should we have a written Constitution?
    • Any conclusions?
    • 122 posts
    March 15, 2023 6:09 PM GMT

    The output and proposals from this discussion is now available at Constitutional Reform