The first phase was the dispersal of hereditary peers with only 92 remaining today and it abolished the voting rights of most hereditary peers. The second phase was to include some element of election to the appointment of Lords, but due to the lack of consensus in the House of Commons on the way forward with this reform, Phase 2 of the reform has failed. This reform has had very little impact on the government because without including any voting in the procedure of membership to the House of Lords, the House of Commons remains more legitimate therefore overall it retains its powers while the House of Lords has fewer powers. Hence, this reform has not completed its aim as it didn’t
“Constitutional reform since 1997 has not gone far enough.” Discuss. I agree with the view that constitutional reform since 1997 has not gone far enough to a large extent. The House of Lords Act of 1999 has reformed the House of Lords, the Human Rights Act of 1998 was an important area of constitutional reform, as well as the Freedom of Information Act of 2000 and the devolution of powers. The electoral system used in the UK has also been subject to discussion over reform however all constitutional reform can be said to have not gone far enough. The House of Lords Act of 1999 removed all but 92 hereditary peers from the House of Lords.
“Constitutional reform since 1997 has not gone far enough”. Discuss. (40 marks) Since 1997 many reforms have been introduced with the aim of making the UK overall more democratic. Such as the House of Lords reform which was intended to make it more representative, electoral reform which was intended to make government again more representative as there are many problems with the current first-past-the-post system, the elected mayors reform as even still there are very few mayors, and electoral reform as the issue has seemingly been forgotten for now. One reform that has been introduced is the House of Lords reform, which was first introduced in 1999 and then again in 2012 with the aim of making the House of Lords much more representative by getting rid of hereditary peers (people in the house of lords due to previous ties) and by allowing people to vote for who they want in the house.
A codified constitution is a written document that comprises the laws governing the state, the citizens’ rights against the state, identifies the political institutions with which power lies, and clearly defines the relationships between these institutions. It also contains guidelines to amending the constitution itself. Currently the UK has an uncodified constitution; which means that, unlike the US, constitutional principles cannot be entrenched - as both Parliamentary sovereignty, and the constitution’s organic nature, means it has evolved over time through statutes, Anglo-Saxon common law, convention and, more recently, E.U law – and will continue to do so. In the past, and unlike most other countries, Britain has not had an event, or a break in constitutional development, significant enough to require the introduction of a fully codified constitution; i.e. American came after the revolution, Germany’s after the abolishment of the fascist regime.
Supporters would suggest that the constitution is fit for purpose. Recent activities that have taken place in the UK would suggest that the constitution is fit for purpose, for example the Scottish referendum. In this essay, I am going to argue that the UK constitution is no longer fit for purpose. The facts that our constitution is uncodified means that there is not much clarity as many individuals/citizens do not know their rights. This means that the government can override our rights, for example the case of the Belmarsh Prison Act 2001 and the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Professor KC Wheare defines the constitution of a state as: “… the whole system of government of a country, the collection of rules which establish and regulate or govern the government.” The evolving nature of the UK constitution implies that it is somewhat straightforward for the government to alter the constitution and adapt it to ever changing times. The constitution of the UK is extremely distinct, as it is not set out in a specific document, which establishes the rules of the state, therefore it is often deemed uncodified. The fact that the full UK constitution cannot be found in one specific document, leads many to argue the flexibility and therefore, instability, of the UK constitution, as it is susceptible to change over time. In comparison, the constitution of the United States is codified and present in an easily obtainable document. In order to implement change in the US constitution, therefore, there is a much stricter protocol to follow.
In 2011 the government held a referendum offering the public the chance to change the voting system from FPTP to AV but the public voted against changing it. One key advantage of FPTP is that it is straight forward and simple to use as it grants each person 1 single vote without an ordering system and generally means that government changeover is fast as the results are quick and easy to calculate. However in 2010 this was not the case, as for the first time in over 20 years, no single government won a majority of seats and so it took a few days for a new government to come into power. In this sense the 2010 election illustrates poorly the simplicity of the FPTP system as it failed to produce a government and so became much more complicated to decide who came to power and eventually the choice was essentially taken out of the public’s hands so was not simple or quick. Another advantage of the FPTP system is that it manages to marginalise extremist and revolutionary parties such as UKHIP and BNP as they are unlikely to win overall constituencies.
This means that instead of making the House of Lords elected, it would probably be more practical just to get rid of it all together and just have the House of Commons. Also, the fact that the current chamber works perfectly well would suggest that it is very unnecessary to make the second chamber elected. Another argument against an elected second chamber is the fact that you would lose all of the expertise that the members of the House of Lords have built up over the years. This knowledge has made them very good at making political decisions that will be for the good of the whole country. However, the fact that they cannot actually prevent a bill from being passed but only delay a bill slightly contradicts this because their expertise can’t be
Given that there is already some form of protection it would be fair to argue that the UK doesn’t currently need a constitution as there is and hasn’t been any real threat towards people’s rights. An argument against a codified constitution is that the lack of constitutional constraints allows executive government to be strong and decisive. After the 7/7 bombings in London the un-codified constitution meant that the government could act quickly and effectively and change the anti terrorism laws meaning they could hold suspects for 28 days, an increase of 14 days. With a codified constitution this would be have been harder as
Some supporters say that a state should have more power than the federal government and then there are others who say the Federal government should be the ruling body alone. You have a central government that functions to keep the country working as a unit, but also works to keep the states from encroaching on individuals and becoming too intrusive. The same works for states. The states have a lot of control over what their citizens should be subject to. For example, criminal laws, property laws, contract laws...etc are decided by the state, not the federal government and they aren’t allowed to govern those areas.