Judges, Politicians and the Contested Constitution - Aidan O'Neill QC - Thursday 2nd February 2012
Conrad Russell once observed that the essential problem of the relationship between Scotland and England “could be defined by saying that England could brook no equal, and Scotland no superior.” (James VI and I and his English Parliaments (2011) at 124) Russell described the eventual Parliamentary Union between the two countries thus (ibid. at 126-7):
“In 1707 the English got the unitary sovereign power which they wanted and got it in the form based upon the existing English parliament, with an English majority within it. The Scots got their recognition as a separate sovereign State, both from the form of the Union of 1707 as an international treaty, and from the survival of Scots law and the Scottish church. It is that claim that Scotland is a sovereign nation state which is reasserted whenever the English forget that 1707 was not a ‘perfect Union’…. Scotland in accepting the Union in 1707 remained a nation and as a result any sovereignty in the British parliament could not be national sovereignty. This has always been hard for the English to understand.”
While the Parliament of Scotland - the Thrie Estaits of senior clerics, nobles and merchant burgesses - was abolished under the terms of the 1707 Union, the interests of the Scottish governing classes were preserved by:
(1) England buying up and taking over debts accrued by the “Company of Scotland” after the virtual bankruptcy of the Scottish economy with the failure of the (Bank of Scotland financed) Darien scheme, under which Scotland had sought, in the late 1690s, to establish its own central American colony and trading-post on the isthmus of Panama;
(2) abolishing the Scots pound and creating a common sterling-zone;
(3) providing for a single British internal market and customs union allowing for the free movement of goods, services and people between Scotland and England, and for Scotland’s free access to and trade with England’s growing overseas empire;
(4) creating a common British citizenship;
(5) putting in place constitutional barriers against English law to discourage English lawyers from practising in Scotland, with a view to preserving Scots law as a distinctive legal system within the Union;
(6) confirming and supporting Presbyterianism as the form of constitutional governance within the State-sponsored reformed national church in Scotland;
(7) allowing the Scottish peers to elect some of their number to sit in the House of Lords (this practice of elected Scottish peers continued until the early 1960s when all those with Scottish peerages were also given United Kingdom titles to allow them to sit, as of right, in the House of Lords).
The long-term result of these measures in 1707 was that, in exchange for the effective de-politicisation of Scotland, the constituencies making up the former ruling classes of Scotland could comfortably commit to political Unionism while maintaining those other forms of (de-politicised) nationalism which the Union expressly protected and preserved, namely: legal nationalism (in the case of Scots lawyers); ecclesiastical nationalism (in the case of Scots Presbyterian clerics); and ultimately, under the influence of the works of Sir Walter Scott, a romantic nationalism expressed (in the case of post-Union Scottish military, drawn in the main from the Scottish landed and gentry class) in tartan and bagpipes. But as a result of the 1707 Union compromises, there developed in Scotland a public culture where there was no strong tradition of any active political involvement or engagement in Scotland by the lawyers, clerics, or lairds. Perhaps, most worryingly of all for the health of the nation, there was no proper development in Scotland of public law to ensure that political power be kept within legal bounds.
For almost 300 years after the Union real politics went on elsewhere. Scottish internal affairs were managed by, in effect, a viceroy (originally in the form of the Lord Advocate and latterly with the Secretary of State for Scotland running the shop). Able Scottish politicians went to Westminster and thrived there. But this de-politicisation of Scotland for 300 years meant that the professional classes who stayed on in Scotland (the lawyers, the landed, the journalists, the academics, the bankers and the clergy) simply lost the habitus of direct engagement with political power, since politics was something that happened, not in Edinburgh, but in London.
The end of the British Empire called into question some of the previous economic justifications given for the 1707 Union and the period after the Second World War showed a slow but steady rise in Scottish political nationalism and popular support for Scottish self-government. Devolution brought real politics back to Edinburgh in 1999. And the victory of the SNP in the May 2011 Scottish elections has, increasingly, called into question the largely unexamined post-Union marriage of political unionism with legal, ecclesiastical and tartan nationalism. New tactical alliances are being forged, but Scottish politics itself remains at a young and formative stage. In the absence of a properly developed Scottish public law culture - and with no independent NGO sector to speak of - politics in Scotland is not (yet) used to being checked or called to account in anything other than a political forum. And Scottish public discourse has traditionally been somewhat robust in its expression, in comparison to that of England, with Scots priding themselves on saying what they mean (if not always, on reflection, meaning what they say).
This all makes for a heady and volatile mix, as is plain from the tenor and content of the criticisms of the UK Supreme Court which were made in the course of 2011 by both the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice and by the First Minister for Scotland. Those politicians advocating Scottish independence can now tap directly into the other forms of nationalism (notably Scottish legal nationalism) which had continued to flourish throughout the course of the Union and righteously claim to be defending the “sanctity of Scots law”. One current example of this (perhaps opportunistic) marriage of legal nationalism with political nationalism is the issue of the jurisdiction of the UK Supreme Court, under and in terms of the Scotland Act 1998, to hear and determine “devolution issues” arising out Scottish criminal cases. This has been made a particular bone of political contention by the SNP administration. The Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice has, paradoxically, called for (at least a partial) return to the state of the Union as it was before devolution, stating that
“[W]e believe that it is wrong in principle that the decisions of the High Court of Justiciary should be challengeable in a way which was not possible before devolution, and we are concerned about the problems this process of challenge is creating for the Scottish courts. The Scottish Government therefore wishes to restore the position in criminal cases prior to devolution and to stem the flow of criminal cases raising devolution issues to the Supreme Court. As the First Minister indicated, the High Court should be the highest criminal authority in Scotland, as it was prior to devolution.”
Until now, constitutional law in the UK has been “the law that dare not speak its name” precisely because of the contradictions highlighted by Conrad Russell at the outset of this piece between English presumptions and Scottish reservations about the post-1707 constitution. It may be that it is precisely because of its ability to expose these still unresolved tensions - of competing constitutional narratives north and south of the border, notably about the meaning and effect of the 1707 Union – and to rouse those submerged other nationalisms in Scotland, that constitutional law has become the chosen political battleground of the current Scottish government; whether it be on the question of the competence of the Scottish Parliament to call an independence referendum, or on the power of the UK Supreme Court to hear and decide upon Scottish criminal cases. The UK Supreme Court was established under and in terms of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, section 41(1) of which affirms that “nothing in this …. is to affect the distinctions between the separate legal systems of the parts of the United Kingdom”. But it does seem clear that the UKSC is understood by many to be a new constitutional court, intended in its upholding of the (Union) constitution further to bind the Union. The court’s very iconography – with an official emblem depicting an entwined wreath of plants creating a unity from its four jurisdictions – seems to lend some support to this view. And precisely because of this perception and presentation of it as a “unionist institution”, the UKSC is likely to become the focus of continuing attacks in the new Scottish politics.
By way of postscript, it may be noted that should Scotland ultimately become “independent in Europe”, the marriage between Scottish legal and political nationalism may swiftly come to an end. The constitutional barriers which have protected Scots law within the United Kingdom until now would have to be dismantled by an independent Scotland to allow English lawyers to practise law before the Scottish courts in exercise of their EU free movement rights. Now that would be “the end of an auld sang”.
Aidan O'Neill QC, Matrix Chambers
Tue, 28th February 2012
The next meeting of the APPG on the Constitution will take place on Tuesday 28th February at 7pm in Committee Room 3.
Mon, 20th February 2012
Bulletin for 20th February 2012
Mon, 6th February 2012
A summary of The Constitution Society's recent seminar exploring routes towards improved processes for constitutional change.
Would the Conservatives benefit from Scottish independence? - Michael Everett, Researcher, The Constitution Society
Wed, 1st February 2012
Michael Everett looks at the possible effects of Scottish independence on the balance of power between parties in the UK.
Mon, 16th January 2012
Aidan O'Neill QC (Matrix Chambers) discusses the legal issues surrounding a referendum on Scottish Independence.
Mon, 16th January 2012
The UK government’s legal argument for a binding referendum on Scottish independence runs counter to international and constitutional law - Dr. Matt Qvortrup
Thu, 12th January 2012
Answers to some key questions about the methods and effects of the Boundary Review underway.
Thu, 8th December 2011
The House of Lords grand committee met yesterday to debate the Constitution Committee's report on the process of constitutional change
Wed, 2nd November 2011
The Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill met with four academic experts to hear their views on the merits of the Draft Bill.
Tue, 25th October 2011
A backbench motion debate on Britain’s relationship with the European Union has led to a significant rebellion of government MPs.
Mon, 24th October 2011
Today the government published the Cabinet Manual, heralding it as 'the ultimate user's guide to government'. It brings together a range of sources and aims to give a descriptive account of the procedural arrangements of the executive.
Fri, 21st October 2011
With Parliament preparing to follow the call of a public petition to debate the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU, questions about the appropriate role of direct popular influence on the political process have returned to the spotlight.
On whether or not to repeal; a briefing on the debate surrounding the Human Rights Act and a UK Bill of Rights
Tue, 4th October 2011
This week, as senior politicians from both sides of the coalition express differences in opinion regarding the future of the 1998 Human Rights Act and the prospect of a new UK Bill of Rights, we present some of the best recent writing on the issue as well as some useful background information.
Mon, 19th September 2011
After 14 months, and no small amount of controversy, the government's plan to fix the duration of parliamentary terms becomes law.
Thu, 15th September 2011
As Harriett Baldwin's Private Member's Bill is defeated at it's Third Reading, the government announces plans to create a commission to find a solution to the long-standing debate.
The Boundary Commission for England publishes its proposals for revised constituency boundaries to be contested in 2015
Tue, 13th September 2011
As the Boundary Commission for England releases its revised constituency proposals, we look at the implications of its new focus on equal population distribution.
Thu, 18th August 2011
The Scotland Bill faces its second reading with the Lords' return in September. But does it get to the heart of the devolution debate?
Baroness Royall on House of Lords Reform: The government’s draft bill ducks the crucial constitutional questions.
Tue, 9th August 2011
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, and contributor to "The end of the peer show?", Baroness Royall sets out her view on House of Lords reform.
Thu, 26th January 2012
An archive of all regular bulletins
Tue, 9th August 2011
Downing Professor of the Laws of England at the University of Cambridge, and contributor to "The end of the peer show?", Sir John Baker sets out his view on House of Lords reform.
Thu, 21st July 2011
The Lords Constitution Select Committee concludes that the current variable treatment of constitutional proposals is unacceptable. It argues that there should be a “clear and consistent process” applied to all cases of “significant constitutional change”.
Tue, 19th July 2011
A debate at the LSE this week launched The Constitution Society's publication of a collection of responses to the draft bill on Lords reform from distinguished academics, peers and MPs.
Fri, 22nd July 2011
Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, and contributor to "The end of the peer show?", Mark Harper sets out the government's view on House of Lords reform.
Tue, 28th June 2011
The House of Lords significantly amended the European Union Bill during its third reading in the Upper House last week. Peers used this last opportunity to amend the Bill to demonstrate their unwillingness to accept its controversial proposals.
Mon, 6th June 2011
Dr Robin Archer of the LSE has explained the lessons the UK might learn from examining the history of the Australian Senate. The insights he offered, in an interview with The Constitution Society, are of particular interest in light of the government’s new proposals on Lords reform.
Thu, 2nd June 2011
On May 17th the government introduced its House of Lords Reform Draft Bill in the Commons and the Lords. The Draft Bill suggests a move to an 80% elected upper house, with the remaining members appointed by recommendation of the Prime Minister. The new House of Lords would be made up of 300 members, with the 240 elected members sitting for 15-year terms.
Sat, 7th May 2011
The electorate has resoundingly rejected a proposal to introduce a system of alternative voting. The fall out will be the deferral of electoral reform for another generation and the political manoeuvring which underpinned the referendum is unlikely to have done anything to improve public perception of the integrity of politicians and our political system.
Wed, 18th May 2011
The Constitution Society’s evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee’s inquiry into Constitutional Reform was published on the 13th of May 2011 (link). The Society used agreed principles of Good Government to assess the quality of the legislative process behind the recently enacted Parliamentary Voting Systems and Constituencies Act (which led to May 5th’s referendum).
Fri, 13th May 2011
Elizabeth Truss, Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk, has called for councils to be “more free to take their own decisions”, warning that an excessive concern for equality between local government bodies disempowers British communities. Ms Truss made the case for a stronger localism in Britain during an interview with the Constitution Society.
Tue, 26th April 2011
Alan Renwick of the University of Reading explores the arguments around the AV referendum.
Mon, 18th April 2011
Chris Nicholson, Chief Executive of the liberal think tank Centre Forum, explains his reasons for supporting a move to the Alternative Vote at the forthcoming referendum.
Tue, 12th April 2011
Lord Kinnock recently spoke to The Constitution Society about his support for AV and his reaction to the negativism of the no campaign in the lead up to the referendum on May 5th. Here we report his thoughts.
Wed, 6th April 2011
A collection of resources to help you make up your mind ahead of Thursday's referendum.
Tue, 5th April 2011
Former Chair of the Labour party Baroness Hayter defends First Past the Post ahead of next month's referendum on the Alternative Vote.
Wed, 6th April 2011
Former cabinet minister Peter Hain MP explains why he supports the yes to AV campaign.
Fri, 6th May 2011
The AV referendum ballot papers are being counted. We show you the latest figures.
Wed, 13th April 2011
Links to The Constitution Society's Briefing papers on AV. We explain what it is and how it might affect our political system? We also report on our findings when we commissioned YouGov to ask 2000 people what they thought.
Mon, 17th January 2011
Direct links to briefing papers produced by The Constitution Society.
Fri, 25th March 2011
As more of the Government's legislative programme reaches the Lords, we consider the implications of Coalition for the Upper Chamber.
Tue, 1st March 2011
In the context of Thursday's Welsh vote on broader legislative independence, we consider the genesis and implications of the wave of referendums currently planned for the UK.
Fri, 18th February 2011
Cameron and Clegg have stated their cases for and against AV. The public now has 10 weeks to decide the future of the electoral system.
Fri, 11th February 2011
We take stock of the changes made to the Voting System Bill during its epic scrutiny session in the Lords.
Mon, 17th January 2011
We assess the progress made in a century of debate on reform of the House of Lords. Are we any closer to knowing what we want from a reformed Upper House and are we sure we know how to achieve it?
Thu, 17th February 2011
Almost seven months after being introduced in the Commons, the Voting Systems Bill has received royal assent in time for the May 5th referendum.
Tue, 25th January 2011
This month's meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Constitution hosted a fascinating discussion on the Cabinet Manual. Despite broad consensus on the potentiality of the document, the merits of its implications could not be agreed.
Wed, 2nd February 2011
A promised "package of concessions" at report stage has permitted the Voting System Bill to conclude its marathon committee stage debate in the Lords.
Mon, 31st January 2011
Facing their 17th day of programmed discussion of amendments to the Voting System Bill, the Lords for the first time face a guillotine on debate.
Tue, 25th January 2011
The Government yesterday afforded the European Union Bill a further day of debate in the Commons but critics argue it that the Government continues to curtail proper scrutiny.
Wed, 5th January 2011
The infinite questions on Lords reform left unresolved by a century of debate.
Tue, 21st December 2010
Following the publication of the Draft Cabinet Manual, the Constitution Society talks to the experts.
Fri, 17th December 2010
Reform of the House has been on the political agenda for more than a century yet the Lords stands largely unchanged. The Coalition have made the most recent pledge in the line of policy promises but what do we want from reform?
Fri, 10th December 2010
Notoriously difficult to define, the tangible face of constitutional reform can be glimpsed in the recent debate over tuition fees. The cries of 'unfairness' and 'punishment' reignite the devolution debate amidst a continuing trend towards increasing regional autonomy.
Fri, 3rd December 2010
Will the dramatic pace of the Voting System Bill be slowed as it navigates resistance in the Lords?
Thu, 25th November 2010
Constitution expert Meg Russell makes powerful plea for Government to reform appointment policy or face "serious damage" to the House.
Fri, 26th November 2010
A group of new MPs have launched a bid to introduce an electronic voting system in the House of Commons.
Thu, 18th November 2010
Lord Howarth's passionate response to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill is indicative of a broad appetite for continued debate on electoral reform and boundary revision.
Fri, 19th November 2010
Simon Hix, Professor in the Department of Government at the LSE, has criticised Government proposals to hold a referendum on AV in an interview with reconstitution.org.uk.
Tue, 16th November 2010
A "lawyer's wheeze" or a serious matter of constitutional principle? A group of peers claimed on Monday 15th November that the Pariamentary Voting System and Constiuencies Bill is technically "hybrid" and as such should undergo a longer process of scrutiny by committee. A subsequent vote in the Lords was narrowly defeated, meaning that the progress of the Bill will not be slowed as anticipated.
Mon, 8th November 2010
From the perspective of proposals to "reduce and equalise" parliamentary constituencies, we probe the ties between the Government's broader programme for constitutional reform.
Mon, 25th October 2010
Harriett Baldwin, Conservative MP for West Worcestershire, speaks to ReConstitution about her private members’ Bill, seeking to find a solution to the issue commonly known as the ‘West Lothian Question’, and the future of constituency boundaries.
Mon, 1st November 2010
Following a lecture by the former President of the New Zealand Labour Party, we look for lessons to be learnt from their experience of constitutional reform.
Wed, 6th October 2010
Results of our specially commissioned YouGov poll on AV and the referendum. 2548 people were asked various questions about their voting intentions and their understanding of voting systems generally. They were also asked to give their reasons; with surprising results.
Fri, 13th August 2010
Although people tend to talk about Alternative Voting as if it is a single concept, there are in fact many different variants on the AV system. Our briefing paper gives a clear explanation of the AV system currently proposed by the Government, together with worked examples.
Thu, 16th September 2010
Like the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, the Fixed term Parliaments Bill is being rushed through Parliament, with woefully inadequate time for scrutiny. Yet the Bill contains novel provisions which will have a profound impact on votes of no confidence and dissolution of Parliament - not least the abolition of one of the Queen's prerogative powers. Why the hurry?
Thu, 7th October 2010
The Constitution Society (TCS) commissioned YouGov to carry out an on-line poll to gauge public opinion on a broad range of issues around electoral reform and the government’s referendum proposal. 2548 people were asked various questions about their voting intentions and their understanding of voting systems generally. They were also asked to give their reasons. The survey produced some surprising results .
Thu, 21st October 2010
An archive of agendas and resources from previous meetings of the APPG on the Constitution.
Fri, 20th August 2010
Following the Electoral Commission's confirmation of funding rules for the AV referendum campaign, we look at how this interesting campaign might evolve, and whether either camp is advantaged from the start.
Fri, 30th July 2010
A Bill is currently before Parliament to propose a referendum on electoral reform and boundary changes. To date, none of the main political parties has given reasons why a change from our First Past the Post system of electing members to the House of Commons ought to be changed to a system of Alternative Voting. We examine the implications of a change in voting system and look at some of the, perhaps unforeseen, consequences of the changes which the Bill proposes.
Looking for that special someone: the enduring relationship between politicians and special advisers
Thu, 29th July 2010
We take a look at special advisers, often thought of as a recent phenomenon. However closer examination reveals that special advisers have been around as long as politicians.
Sat, 17th July 2010
On 15th July 2010 Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister became the first witness to the newly-formed Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform. The committee cross-examined Mr Clegg both on the timing and content of reform proposals.
Sun, 11th July 2010
The first weighty debate of proposals to reform the House of Lords took place on 29th June 2010. Though ignored in the media, the debate included some of the most cogently reasoned arguments for and against a move from an appointed to an elected House, with a majority of the 65 peers participating in the debate expressing concern at the prospect of the creation of 'a pale imitation of the House of Commons'.
Sat, 24th July 2010
In a further valuable contribution to the burgeoning debate on constitutional reform in general, and the codification of the British constitution in particular, a group of constitutional experts led by Stephen Hockman QC and Professor Vernon Bogdanor have called for a holistic approach to the constitution. In a paper published by JUSTICE, the group analyses the questions which need resolution before any moves can be made towards the creation of a codified constitution.
Fri, 2nd July 2010
Prompted by the recent publication of a book on the subject by Richard Gordon QC, the PR consultancy SPADA recently sponsored a debate on whether the UK now needs a written constitution. Read more, or watch a video of the debate in full.
Wed, 16th June 2010
The Rt Hon John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons outlined his vision of a revitalised chamber of the House of Commons. The new Parliament has seen an encouraging number of new faces in the House taking an active interest in the business of the Chamber. But what will it take to sustain that enthusiasm and reinvigorate debate in the House?
Mon, 7th June 2010
Both the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru have stated that they intend to exploit the hung parliament to their own advantage, once again putting the spotlight on the 'English question' - that Scottish and Welsh MPs may vote in Westminster on issues that affect only England, whilst English MPs have no say in relation to the deliberations of the Scottish parliament or the Welsh assembly. We look at whether there will ever be a solution to this problem.
Sat, 29th May 2010
Amid the calls for electoral reform and the coalition government's promise to put the Alternative Voting system to a referendum, we look at what difference a change to the voting system would make. Is democracy in the voting or the counting?
Tue, 18th May 2010
The European Union has been criticised in the past for failing to develop a more effective foreign policy, but the External Action Service is supposed to bring new cohesion and coherence to this area of European cooperation. However, the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Ashton, has already run into opposition to her plans and, although a compromise has been struck, the road ahead scarcely looks any easier.
Wed, 12th May 2010
The negotiations leading to the formation of the new coalition government have turned, in part, on the question of electoral reform. A matter of such constitutional importance should, it is argued, form part of a wider review of the constitution and should not be used merely as a political bargaining chip. Will sufficient time be given to consider the implications of change before reforms are pushed through?
Should civil servants have the tyranny of the first draft? Peter Lloyd considers the Cabinet Secretary’s “Cabinet Manual”
Thu, 6th May 2010
Peter Lloyd questions the provenance of the recently disclosed 'Cabinet Manual'. Amid suggestions that the manual might form the basis of a written constitution, he questions whether it should be for a civil servant to generate the first draft of such a fundamental document.
Sat, 1st May 2010
In a letter published in the Financial Times this week, members of The Constitution Society and the Better Government Initiative outline four basic principles of good government that could improve the legislative process. The principles are difficult to fault, and could be implemented without legislation, but the question will remain whether there is any incentive for politicians to change the way that they behave.
Tue, 13th April 2010
At a debate of the Society of Cogers on 19th April 2010, Nat le Roux, Chairman of the Trustees of the Constitution Society, argued that our problem may not lie with our constitution itself, but rather with the conduct of our politicians. He suggested that the single biggest problem of contemporary democracy - is that all politicians are terrified of losing power, because the lesson of the last 30 years is that once you’ve lost power you don’t get it back for a generation.
Mon, 26th April 2010
In an article published for the first time on the ReConstitution website, Professor Dawn Oliver argues that we should resist political pressure to reform the House of Lords by making it an elected body. She proposes abolishing the House of Lords and starting from scratch by the creation of a wholly appointed Commission for Executive Scrutiny, with proposals which chime with views expressed by Lord Bingham.
Thu, 4th March 2010
The head of the Civil Service is warning Gordon Brown not to leave Number 10 if it is unclear who has won the upcoming election. Sir Gus O’Donnell told MPs that it is “the Prime Minister’s duty not to resign” until a successor can be found.
Wed, 21st April 2010
Will the problems with Parliament be solved by the retirement of many of the worst expenses offenders and an influx of new MPs? There is a perceptible mood for change amongst voters, but will altering some of the personnel be enough to restore confidence in both Parliament and the ‘constitution’ of the United Kingdom?
Wed, 7th April 2010
Campaigners are expressing their dismay, as the government’s legal commitment to hold a referendum on reforming the electoral system looks set to be scrapped as part of the ‘wash up’.
Mon, 29th March 2010
Legendary anti-corruption campaigner Martin Bell is spearheading a campaign to make the ‘wash up’ more transparent. Mr Bell is criticizing the process, which takes place during the final days of a parliament to try and get as many of the remaining bills finished as possible, as a “stitch-up by and for the main political parties”.
Wed, 17th March 2010
A senior government minster has laid into David Cameron’s plans to reduce the number of MPs should he get into power.
Mon, 15th March 2010
The controversial libel judge at the centre of a storm over the development of privacy law in the UK has hit back at his tabloid critics. Justice Eady, who rose to notoriety after punishing the News of the World for publishing intimate photos of Formula 1 boss Max Mosely’s private life, accused tabloids of having a vested interest in stunting privacy for financial gain.
Wed, 10th March 2010
A senior Tory is expressing her support for an elected House of Lords. Margot James, a vice-chairwoman of the Conservative party, made the announcement during an interview with Reconstitution where she claimed the current system was “out of kilter”.
Mon, 8th March 2010
Academics are calling for “immediate assurances” from the government that it will implement the recently agreed Wright reforms before the end of this parliament. Dr Meg Russell of the UCL Constitution Unit warned them “this is the timetable the Commons voted for and party leaders must work together to honour that.”
Tue, 23rd February 2010
The parliamentary reform movement is split over whether the proposed Wright Reforms go far enough.
Mon, 1st February 2010
Better Government Initiative launches major report.
Mon, 1st February 2010