ConstitutionUK is a trailblazing project by the Institute of Public Affairs at LSE designed to crowdsource a written, codified constitution for the UK. The project invites members of the public to participate in, offer advice on and eventually to draft a new constitution for the UK.
The UK has no constitution, or as every first year law student learns, it has no constitution written down in one grand document. Rather it has laws, conventions, practices, activities scattered all over the place that constitutional lawyers then gather together and describe as the UK constitution. 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, otherwise known as ‘The Great Charter’. The Magna Carta is the UK’s most famous constitutional document, and in 1215 was signed by King John of England in response to a revolt by medieval barons. In signing the charter he reduced the powers of the monarchy as it established that everyone, even the monarch was subject to the law.
800 years later, it’s time for change! It’s time to come together as a kingdom and put down in writing, in one constitutional document what it is that United Kingdom stands for!
ConstitutionUK is broken down into two phases:
PHASE I: Exploring the Constitution
Launch: Phase I commenced in October 2013, when we launched ConstitutionUK here at LSE.
Derby: The ConstitutionUK team travelled to Derby to ask young mothers about the importance of human security.
Strathclyde: The ConstitutionUK team travelled to Glasgow to ask students at the University of Strathclyde about their views on the constitution.
Carnival: On 26 June 2014 LSE’s new Saw Swee Hock Student Centre hosted a very special celebration of democracy: ConstitutionUK’s Constitutional Carnival. Featuring special guests including Peter Tatchell, Martin Lewis, and Baroness Joyce Quinn, amongst others, this special one-off event brought together members of the School and of the general public in order to create LSE’s very own constitutional moment in the run-up to the project’s second stage: hacking a written constitution for the United Kingdom.
PHASE II: Hacking the UK Constitution
Phase II, ‘Hacking the UK Constitution’ commenced on Thursday 15 January 2015, and focused on our on-line forum constitutionuk.com. The website was designed to crowdsource ideas, values, articles and clauses to be included in a new written codified constitution for the UK. The on-line forum was open to all members of the British public.
On 22 April the views and ideas of the online community fed into a Constitutional Convention where community champions, with the help of experts, put together a written constitution using only crowdsourced content from constitutionuk.com.
On 15 June 2015 the end product, a new codified constitution for the UK, will be unveiled to coincide with the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.