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What 3 functions do all constitutions perform?

Decide how power should be shared in the state.

Decide the limits of the power of government.

Set out the rights of the citizens of the state.


What are most of the UK's constitutional rules?

Tradition and custom - convention.


What is collective cabinet responsibility?

The Salisbury Convention? How was this overturned?

That all ministers must publicly support all governmental decisions.

In 2005, Lib Dem peers denied the validity of the government's mandate and defied the Salisbury convention, opposing Blair's introduction of identity cards.


What's arguably the danger of an uncodified constitution?

Arguably checks and balances are less effective, eg not a lot can stop Blair with a huge majority - 412 v 149 Iraq War.


What's an example of the UK's constitution easily changing regarding royalty?

Succession to the Crown Act 2013 - meant that 1st born females can inherit the crown.


What were the 1950 Lascelles Principles?

What was this superseded by?

Clarified the constitutional power of the monarch to refuse a request from a PM to dissolve a Parliament.

Fixed-Term Parliaments Act of 2011 - elections to take place every 5 years, h less 2/3 of the Commons votes for another election.


What did the Bill of Rights (1689) do?

What did the Acts of Union (1707) do?

Made Parliament sovereign.

United the kingdoms of Scotland and England, and dissolved the Scottish Parliament.


What did the Parliament Act of 1911 do? 1949?

1972 European Communities Act?

1911 - Lords can only delay a bill for up to two years.

1949 - Lords can only delay a bill for a year.

1973 Act joined the UK to the EU.


What is common law (hint = arise).

Common law arises out of the custom that a decision made by one court of law must be followed by other courts facing similar facts, eg murder is a common law crime. But, these are not written down.


What authoritative work was written on the coalition?

In 2010, Gus O' Donell wrote a thesis on the simplest way of forming a coalition gov. Said that leader of the minor party should be deputy PM.


Is it possible to entrench constitutional principles in the UK?

What is becoming unofficially entrenched though?

No - Parliament cannot be bound by previous Parliaments, nor can it bind future parliaments.



When are judicial reviews called?

What is a unitary constitution? Where does sovereignty reside in the UK? What does this mean for Parliament?

When citizens feel that they have been mistreated by the public or government.

Resides in one place. Instead, it resides in UK Parliament. Thus, powers can be devolved easily, eg additional powers to Andy Burnham in 2016.


What is the Rule of Law? What does it allow for? Who developed it?

The Rule of Law is the basic principal that all citizens should be treated equally under the law.

It allows for 'judicial reviews'.

Professor A. V. Dicey developed it.


What are 2 examples of Parliamentary sovereignty being used?

In 2013, Cameron wanted to bomb Syria. He put this to Parliament, but the gov was defeated.

In 1979 James Callaghan's government was dismissed via a vote of no confidence - he resigned and a general election was triggered.


What 2 key reserve powers does Parliament have?

What does convention state that the PM comes from?

- To call votes of no confidence in governments.

- To veto legislation.

The Commons.


Describe the executive-judiciary conflict.

Gary McKinnon, a hacker, was to be extradited to the USA. The Supreme Court was to allow this. But, Theresa May (then the Home Secretary) blocked this proposal in 2012, as she thought that McKinnon would commit suicide.


When was the House of Lords Act? What did it do?

1999 - reduced the number of hereditary peers to 92 and made the Lords a largely appointed chamber.


What was proposed via councillors (constitutional reform) and when?

What was proposed by the coalition gov?

1997 - local authorities given the option of changing to a 'cabinet' system, with a cabinet of councillors from the dominant party. But, it didn't really take off.

The coalition gov of 2010-2015 - wanted to introduce new police commissioners. It was hoped that these would improve accountability for policing in local areas. But, few are even aware of who their local commissioner is.


What did the 'Recall of MPs Act' (2015) allow for? What's the weakness with it?

If at least 10% of an MP's constituents sign a petition, MPs can be recalled. But, they cannot be recalled on the basis of their voting record.


What did the Consfitufional Reform Act of 2005 do regarding the Lord Chancellor?

Lord Chancellor had been a cabinet minister, head of the 12 law lords and presided over HOL.

But, act removed his judicial role - became justice secretary, in charge of justice policy but not practice. HOL got own speaker - Normal Folwer.

New Supreme Court created.


What is an example of electoral (ie voting) reform in 2014? Failure in 2011+2016?

2014 - 16 and 17 year olds allowed to vote for the first time.

2011 AV referendum rejected AV proposal (yes = only 32%).

2016 - attempt to allow 16+17 year olds to vote on Brexit failed. Issue taken off the agenda.


How many articles do the ECHR contain? What two freedoms does this include?

When did it come into force? What made it come into force?

18; freedom from torture, freedom from servitude.

Came into force in 2000; 1998 Human Rights Act.


What is an example that shows the fragility (theoretically) of the ECHR?

Parliament can repeal it at any time - indeed, the Conservative gov in 2015 wanted to replace it with a new British Bill of Rights.