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Blair's Constitutional Reforms
WHO? Tony Blair's Labour government
WHY? They believed that after 18 years in opposition, constitutional reform
would limit the amount of power the Conservatives had, making a Labour
government seem more achievable.
WHAT? Devolution to Scotland and Wales (1999).
Devolution to Northern Ireland as part of the Good Friday Agreement
A Greater London Assembly consisting of a London mayor (2000).
Referendums were held to approve the creation of these bodies.
PR electoral systems were used in the election process for these
The Human Rights Act (HRA) was introduced in 1998.
Stage 1 of the HoL reform was carried out in 2000, with the removal
of all but 92 hereditary peers.
Criticism of Blair's reforms:
Labour ministers and MPs quickly lost enthusiasm for the reforms because
they didn't want to throw away more power when they had just won a
landslide victory in 1997.
Blair's reforms didn't seem to follow a `constitutional blueprint' in the
sense that the reforms were individual solutions to particular problems that
didn't have clear goals or coherence.
The reforms reshaped existing constitutional arrangements but did not
address deeper issues. The reforms lacked substantive parliamentary reform
there was no research into changing the Westminster electoral system or an
elected second chamber. There was also no mention of a possible codified
constitution or an entrenched Bill of Rights.
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Brown's Constitutional Reforms
WHO? Gordon Brown's Labour government
WHY? Noticing that Labour was suffering from partisan dealignment, Brown
wanted to show that having taken over from Blair, there was a change in government,
not just a change in Prime Minister
WHAT? Brown's biggest criticism was the concentration of power possessed
by the Prime Minister through the use of the Royal Prerogative
without the need to consult parliament.…read more