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Constitution Unit +ConUnitUCL
The Constitution Unit conducts timely, rigorous, independent research into constitutional change and its consequences.
 Joined January 2017
512 Posts   18 Followers
As Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer continue to be investigated for possible breaches of lockdown rules, it is conceivable that both major parties could hold leadership contests in the near future. What role should party members have in those elections? The Unit asked Paul Goodman, Cat Smith and Tom Quinn for their view. Tom Fieldhouse […]
The Constitution Unit has today published a new discussion paper entitled Northern Ireland’s political future: Challenges after the Assembly elections. Here the author, Alan Whysall, Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Unit, introduces it. A further paper on longer-term prospects for Northern Ireland will be published later this year. Northern Ireland voted for a new […]
Voters in Northern Ireland go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new Assembly. In the weeks which follow, attention is likely to be focused on reviving the Stormont institutions following the recent instability surrounding the Protocol and the resignation of the First Minister. However, the other institutions of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, designed to […]
Queen Elizabeth II this year celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, commemorating 70 years as monarch. UCL recently hosted an event to discuss why we have jubilees, what they say about monarchies, what the process of starting the next reign will look like, the future of the monarchy at home and abroad, and what lessons can be […]
As part of an ongoing inquiry, the Lords Constitution Committee has sought evidence as to whether ‘the amendment of the role of the Lord Chancellor by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (CRA), and the resulting separation of powers between the judiciary and the Government, [have] been successful’. Robert Hazell argues that the 2005 reforms led […]
Boris Johnson and his Chancellor have now been fined for breaking lockdown restrictions. Both have misled parliament over Downing Street parties. These are clear breaches of the Ministerial Code, which should lead to resignation. If the PM refuses to police the Code, says Meg Russell, that constitutional responsibility rests with MPs. A failure to exercise […]
The 2019 Conservative Party manifesto promised to appoint a Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission to conduct a wide-ranging constitutional review. In practice, this promise has not been delivered. Tom Fleming and Petra Schleiter discuss this by summarising their recent article about the Commission, Radical departure or opportunity not taken? The Johnson government’s Constitution,...
Today the Unit publishes the Report of the Citizens’ Assembly on Democracy in the UK. Set up by the Unit last year, the Assembly offers unparalleled insights into public perceptions of how the UK’s democracy is working and should work. In this post, the project’s Research Assistant, James Cleaver, summarises the Assembly’s recommendations.   The Report […]
Posts on this blog over the past few years have tracked a wave of local citizens’ assemblies convened by councils keen to explore a range of issues. Last year, we published an ‘early report card’ examining the impact these assemblies were having – whether councils were listening to them and acting on their recommendations. A […]
Today, the Unit published the 80th edition of Monitor, which provides analysis of the key constitutional news of the past four months. In this post, which also serves as the lead article for Monitor 80, Meg Russell and Alan Renwick reflect on risks to democracy at home and the appalling invasion of a democratic nation, […]
The House of Lords has amended the government’s Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill to require House of Commons approval for early general elections. Tom Fleming and Meg Russell explore what MPs should consider when the bill returns to the Commons. They argue that the Lords amendment deserves support, as it provides an important limit […]
The publication of a draft Online Safety Bill has enabled two parliamentary committees to engage in detailed pre-legislative scrutiny. The conclusions of a special joint committee were discussed in earlier posts by its Chair, Damian Collins and Alex Walker. Here, Alex analyses the findings of the second report on the draft bill, authored by the […]
Last month the Constitution Unit published What Kind of Democracy Do People Want?, the first report of its Democracy in the UK after Brexit project. To mark the report’s launch, a seminar was convened to discuss its findings, their implications, and possible future avenues of research. The project’s research assistant, James Cleaver, summarises the discussion. […]
More than 20 years has passed since the hereditary peers were removed from the House of Lords in what was billed as the first phase of wider reform, and little has happened in the intervening decades. The Unit hosted a webinar to ask three long-serving parliamentarians what should change about the House of Lords, and […]
The inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic is due to start work in the spring, chaired by Baroness (Heather) Hallett, a former Court of Appeal judge. It will be one of the most complex inquiries in legal history, and highly charged politically, with over 150,000 deaths so far, and the pandemic far from over. In January, […]
Last month the Unit published the first report of its Democracy in the UK after Brexit project. Titled What Kind of Democracy Do People Want?, the report summarises the findings of a UK-wide survey conducted last summer. Ahead of today’s Unit seminar, the project’s Research Assistant, James Cleaver, asks how the findings compare with previous […]
Today the House of Lords will announce the election of a new hereditary peer. Lord (Bruce) Grocott has once again put a bill before parliament to abolish the by-elections by which departing hereditary peers are replaced, following the removal of their automatic right to a seat in parliament in 1999. As David Beamish explains, the […]
Following the publication of Sue Gray’s report update, the Prime Minister announced his intention to reform the Downing Street machine. Robert Hazell, author of an authoritative study of the way special advisers work, argues that this presents an opportunity to revise the code of conduct that regulates their behaviour, and that incoming Chief of Staff […]
Not for the first time in recent memory, Northern Irish politics is in flux, the UK government’s Brexit deal is causing ructions and the power-sharing institutions are on the brink of collapse. Alan Whysall assesses the current crisis and argues that the foundations of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement are at serious risk of crumbling. Northern […]
The government’s draft Online Safety Bill does little to protect democracy from damage caused by online actors, despite a previous commitment to take action. Alex Walker argues that this was an error. Here, he analyses the December report of the parliamentary joint committee tasked with examining the bill. A post in early February will critique […]
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