Electoral and constitutional reform

  • Permalink Gallery

    Enough is enough: Time to regulate prime ministerial appointments to the Lords

Enough is enough: Time to regulate prime ministerial appointments to the Lords

The Constitution Unit has published a new report arguing that the time has come to regulate prime ministerial appointments to the House of Lords – to prevent the chamber’s size escalating further, and prevent government manipulating its membership. The report argues that, despite large-scale Lords reform being awaited, this step is urgent ahead of the general election in May […]

Four options for configuring the British constitution

With the SNP surging in Scotland and the break up of the union as plausible as it has ever been. What are the different options for configuring the UK state? In this article, Andrew Blick writes about what the constitutional future might look like. 

Inbuilt within the United Kingdom is the potential for instability. It is a multi-nation state, like Belgium, Canada, Spain […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Politicians should heed the calls for a citizen-led constitutional convention

Politicians should heed the calls for a citizen-led constitutional convention

Democratic pressure is building, cracks and fault-lines are emerging and at some point the British political elite will have to let the people speak about where power should lie and how they should be governed. ‘Speak’ in this sense does not relate to the casting of votes — the General Election will not vent the pressure — but to […]

Why the Fixed-term Parliaments Act should not be repealed

The coalition introduced the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act in 2011, reducing the ability of incumbent governments to schedule elections at discretion and for electorally opportunistic reasons. As a result, some Conservative MPs want to repeal the Act. But fixed-term Parliaments are good for UK democracy and the Act should stay, argues Petra Schleiter.

When the current coalition government introduced the Fixed-term Parliaments Act […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Lower the voting age to 16? Yes please, but only if accompanied by civic and democratic education and a commitment to take young people’s concerns seriously

Lower the voting age to 16? Yes please, but only if accompanied by civic and democratic education and a commitment to take young people’s concerns seriously

Ed Miliband promised that a Labour government would extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year-olds within one year of the general election. The Conservatives, meanwhile, oppose lowering the voting age. In this article, and following on the heels of our recent podcast on the issue, Bart Cammaerts, Michael Bruter, Shaku Banaji, Sarah Harrison and Nick Anstead summarise research they conducted regarding the voting age. They argue […]

What impact do mayors have on the cities that elect them?

Greater Manchester will become the next urban area in the UK to directly elect a mayor, following Bristol who first elected a mayor in 2012. One of the frustrations in the debate around directly elected mayors, however, is the lack of empirical evidence around which to evaluate their impact. Here, David Sweeting presents some early analysis of data from both before and after […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Abolishing the monarchy would remove an obstacle to genuine democracy in Britain

Abolishing the monarchy would remove an obstacle to genuine democracy in Britain

The United Kingdom is a democracy, but nonetheless has an unelected and hereditary Head of State in Queen Elizabeth II. Eventually, she will give way to her son, Prince Charles. Richard Ridyard argues that this state of affairs cannot be justified, and that the continuing presence of a monarch – particularly an influential one – is incompatible with democratic maturity.

The spectacle […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    How to address the pathologies of the British political tradition in an age of disengagement and distrust

How to address the pathologies of the British political tradition in an age of disengagement and distrust

There is undoubtedly a major issue of political disengagement between voters and Westminster’s system of government. However, the Westminster political class appears to regard the solution to the current maladies as finding ways to reinforce the existing system, rather than embracing the need to re-think the current nature of politics. It is clear that many of the recommendations offered by […]