I was fortunate enough to work closely with the PCRC, (...) during the 2010-15 Parliament. It carried out groundbreaking investigations into previously neglected areas, including a consideration of the possibility of a code for independent local government. Its inquiry into the idea of a written constitution for the United Kingdom was the first ever to be conducted.

Andrew Blick

On the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee

It is without exaggeration that I write that I was quite saddened to learn today that my favourite UK House of Commons Select Committee, The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee (PCRC) has been abolished. Yes, I am that much of a parliament geek that I had a favourite select committee. The PCRC was created at the start of the previous Parliament, in 2010, to scrutinize the work of the Deputy Minister Nick Clegg who was responsible for the coalition government’s rather ambitious constitutional reform agenda. The Committee did just that, and much more, as Andrew Blick reports, and there would have been a lot more good work to be done in this new Parliament. I thought that the decision to […]

Canada’s Royal Succession Bill

In 2011, at a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government held in Perth, Australia, the 16 countries which have Queen Elizabeth as their head of state agreed to modernize the rules of royal succession. The proposed changes would put an end to three current practices: male children inheriting the throne ahead of their older, female siblings. a ban on a monarch or direct heir to the throne marrying a Roman Catholic. the requirement for all descendants of George II to obtain the monarch’s permission to marry or else have their marriage declared void. The Canadian government recently introduced Bill C-53, An Act to assent to alterations in the law touching the Succession to the Throne. A motion was moved, […]

Coalition government is not a marriage

On 7 January 2012, Conservative Party leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg held a joint press conference, which you can watch here, to promote the Coalition government’s Mid-Term Review. That review lists what the government says it has achieved in meeting its coalition agreement and outlines further reforms to come. Both Cameron and Clegg stressed that the coalition would last the full five-year term. One of the stranger questions asked during the press conference was if the coalition was like a marriage. Indeed, when Cameron and Clegg held their first press conference together back in 2010 to launch the coalition, some of the press coverage read as if it should have been on the Society pages […]

Why a referendum on Lords reform is a bad idea

On 23 April 2012, the Joint Select Committee reviewing the Government’s Draft House of Lords Reform Bill released its report. Real life has not allowed me sufficient time to properly read through the entire report, available here, however I do want to take a few minutes to focus on one recommendation the Committee put forward, and that is the call for a referendum: 87. The Committee recommends that, in view of the significance of the constitutional change brought forward for an elected House of Lords, the Government should submit the decision to a referendum. Part of me sort of understands why some believe significant constitutional change should be subject to a referendum for the people’s approval, but a larger part […]

The Primacy of the Commons and Lords Reform

As I have previously written, the UK Government has brought forward a draft bill on reforming the House of Lords. A Joint Select Committee – meaning a committee with membership drawn from both the House of Commons and the Lords – has been holding a series of meetings hearing from constitutional and other experts. I have been following some of these hearings with great interest, either watching the meetings on the UK Parliament website, or reading through the written evidence, and sometimes both. If there has been a common theme emerging, it would be the issues of whether a partially or fully elected Lords will challenge the primacy of the House of Commons. The consensus, at this stage, would seem […]

Some Interesting Links

Blogging has been and will continue to be rather light over the next few weeks due to other pressing demands that arise during the holiday season. However, I do want to share a few interesting links with readers. 1. Codifying the UK Constitution Last year, the UK House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee launched an inquiry into Mapping the path to codifying – or not codifying – the UK’s Constitution. On 8 December 2011, a fourth hearing took place, with the following individuals appearing as witnesses: Rt Hon Tony Benn, former parliamentarian Richard Gordon QC Frank Vibert, Department of Government, London School of Economics It was a fascinating discussion, and you can watch it in its entirety here. […]