reform of the uk constitution unit 2 aqa

reform of the constitution

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Government and Politics- unit 2- the UK Constitution
Constitutional reforms
Labour Government- after 18 years in opposition Blair believed that constitutional reform would
limit Conservative power and make a Labour government more achievable. Reforms include:
Devolution to Scotland and Wales (1999), designed to stop it breaking away from the UK
Devolution to Northern Ireland as part of the Good Friday Agreement (1998)
The Human Rights Act (1998) incorporates European Convention on Hunan Rights into UK
law. Some rights include- the right to life; thought and expression; liberty and security of
person; freedom from discrimination, torture and degrading treatment. This now means that
all legislation needs to be compatible with the ECHR. The UK courts can declare legislation
incompatible with the ECHR and overturn executive decisions
Stage 1 of the House of Lords reform (2000), which removed all but 92 hereditary peers
Freedom of Information Act (2000)
Fusion of powers- (Walter Bagehot)
Advantages Disadvantages
Fusion of power means that it is easier Too much power is concentrated in the
for government to take action, this is executive (and HoC)
because there is an extremely small Check and balances are limited which
chance of deadlock (unlike the US) means that certain branches of
where the three branches are separated, government can go unrestrained in the
especially in terms of the legislative power they practice
process. (more flexible)
Although the UK is seen to have a fusion of powers, the PM and the cabinet are somewhat separate
from the legislature in the exercise of executive functions and policy making
The US has a separation of powers. But even in this system, checks and balances result in some
connections between the branches. For example, the legislature may exercise the power to impeach
the executive or judges, the executive may exercise the power to veto actions of the legislature, and
the legislature may exercise the power to override the executive's veto.
Senator Eugene Forsey of Canada, a country with fusion of powers, remarks that "in Canada, the
Government and the House of Commons cannot be at odds for more than a few weeks at a time.
If they differ on any matter of importance, then, promptly, there is either a new government or a
new House of Commons."

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Human rights the human rights act (HRA 1998) enshrined most of the provisions of the European
Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in UK law.
Devolution involves the transfer of power. Power was devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland following `yes' votes in referendums in each nation. (Established different powers and
distinctive features)
Scottish Parliament has primary legislative powers. It is responsible for policies in issues such as
education, health and local government. In addition, it can vary the rate of income tax by 3%.…read more


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