Constitution and Governance in the UK

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Publication Date March 2022
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The UK constitution and system of governance have recently been subjected to unprecedented strain. Brexit and COVID-19, in conjunction with the governing style adopted by the Johnson administration, have raised profound questions as to whether the norms and conventions that form the basis of the UK’s uncodified constitution are still fit for purpose.

These are the issues that are brought together in this report, in which 41 leading scholars assess the impacts of Brexit, Covid-19 and the Johnson government on our constitution and system of governance. They discuss whether these arrangements, that have evolved over decades if not centuries, are sufficiently robust and fit for the purpose of governing a diverse and complex United Kingdom.

Table of Contents:

  • Parliament
    • Government–Parliament relations | Meg Russell
    • Parliament and legislation | Ruth Fox & Brigid Fowler
    • Select committees | Arabella Lang & Lee Marsons
    • Westminster and external relations with the European Union | Alexander Horne & Hannah Dowling
    • Ministerial responsibility | Ben Yong
    • The House of Lords | Philip Norton
  • Cabinet and Ministers
    • Cabinet, government and No 10 | Patrick Diamond
    • Ministerial behaviour and standards | Catherine Haddon & Tim Durrant
    • Ministerial and civil service relations | Tony Travers
    • Special advisers | Andrew Blick
  • Civil Service
    • Machinery of government | Jill Rutter
    • Civil service reform | Martin Smith, David Richards & Samuel Warner
    • Arm’s-length bodies | Christel Koop & Martin Lodge
    • Public appointments | Lisa James
    • Public service resilience | Thomas Elston
  • The Courts, Rights, Judicial Review and the Rule of Law
    • Government attitude to the courts and the rule of law | Richard Ekins
    • Reforming judicial review | Joe Tomlinson
    • The rule of law | Jonathan Jones
    • Protection of human rights | Stevie Martin & Stephanie Palmer
    • The EU legal order and the role of the European Court of Justice | Catherine Barnard
  • Devolution and the Union
    • Relations between the UK and devolved governments | Mike Kenny
    • Relations between the UK and devolved administrations | Janice Morphet
    • England | Arianna Giovannini
    • Devolution after Brexit and Covid-19 | Graeme Roy
    • Common frameworks | Jack Sheldon
    • Northern Ireland Protocol | Katy Hayward
    • Northern Ireland: The state of play after Covid-19 and under Johnson | Darren Litter & Katy Hayward
    • Independence and interdependence of Scotland after Brexit | Nicola McEwen
    • The UK government and the union | Dan Wincott
  • Elections and Democracy
    • The rules of elections | Alan Renwick
    • Parties, governance and party funding | Justin Fisher
    • Multilevel democracy | David Bell & Willem Sas
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