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The UK Constitution:
Constitution = a set of rules by which a country is run. This set of principles can either be written or
unwritten and establishes the distribution of power within a political system, relationships between
political institutions, the limits of government, jurisdiction, the rights of citizens and the…

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the devolved powers given to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments can all be
restored to Westminster
Parliamentary sovereignty
Parliamentary sovereignty is critical to how the political system works
1. The nature of the constitution is in the hands of Parliament; it can amend the constitution by
simple passage…

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Sources of the UK Constitution

Source Description Examples
Human Rights Act 1998 ­ bringing the ECHR into British
Parliamentary Statutes Laws passed by the UK Parliament The Freedom of Information Act 2000 ­ Granting
citizens rights to view most official documents

The Salisbury Convention ­ the HoL does not…

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Should the UK have a codified constitution?

Flexibility: Human rights:
Constitution can adapt to a changing world without Safeguards individual and minority rights
major upheavals In a codified constitution, Parliament would not
Britain's constitution is `organic' ­ rooted in society, so be able to pass any legislation that…

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With the people during a referendum
With the government when it controls its own majority in the UK Parliament
With devolved governments, since it is unlikely that their powers will be removed
With devolution, sovereignty resides in a central authority, but certain powers are handed down to
sub national bodies…

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Party nominated: in proportion to the make-up of the HoC and chosen as a reward for
long-standing supporters of a party
Politically neutral: Independent of any party, "life achievers" , "cross benchers" and appointed
by Independent Appointments Commission
Hereditary Peers:
Inherited their titles
Only a maximum of 92 may be…

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deal of time deliberating policy, input into More expertise issue of detention
though its ability to influence policy is legislation without trial for terror
limited suspects
The Lords often amends legislation Weaker: Stronger: In 2008, the Lords
from the Commons. These No matter if the Do not have to proposed…

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lowering the age of consent of sex for homosexual males from 18, to 16. The government forced
the measure through by using the Act
A good example of when the Lords has delayed legislation is when the Lords blocked the
proposal to ban hunting with dogs (mainly fox hunting). Time…

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Further attempts at reform have failed
Reform of the judiciary
In 2005 the Constitutional Reform Act was passed: it's main element was the creation of the
Supreme Court which replaced the system where the highest court of appeal was made up of
12 judges who were members of the HoL…

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Leads to more open and This has made them more Exceptions to FOIA for
transparent government likely to be called to justify matters of national
Freedom of allows the public to actions and held security/damaging the
Information Act scrutinise those in accountable public interest
power (e.g. expenses
Protects independence…


Old Sir


An excellent overview of the UK constitution and the issues surrounding it. Students might find the sections relating to devolution, reform of parliament and the judiciary especially useful as starting points for the development of their own discussions in readiness for exam questions.

Beth Pridding


This is the best Constitution revision document I've come across. Thank you!

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