Andrew Blick

Constitutional issues could be more satisfactorily handled outside of the Parliamentary framework

Andrew Blick argues for removing decisions about constitutional change from the immediate sphere of party politics. This may allow for House of Lords reform and other issues that have been difficult to resolve in the traditional manner. The collapse of House of Lords reform leaves issues involving the second chamber, principally its composition, unresolved. Abandonment of coalition policy in this area […]

The controversy over Civil Service accountability is symptomatic of an unstable constitution

Andrew Blick relates the recently completed Democratic Audit of the United Kingdom to the issue Civil Service accountability. While there have been substantial changes, the problematic constitutional principle that civil servants are only indirectly accountable to Parliament remains. The manner in which civil servants are held accountable for their actions is at present a subject of considerable controversy. In the House of Commons, […]

Sir Gus O’Donnell’s coming departure as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service marks a reconfiguration at the centre of Whitehall that will enhance collective responsibility at the heart of government.

The departure of the UK’s top civil servant and the subsequent re-shuffling of the centre of Whitehall will have a great influence on the way central government is organised. Andrew Blick and George Jones argue that the upcoming changes might increase chances for more collegial decision-making at the heart of government. Sir Gus O’Donnell, cabinet secretary and official head of […]

Fox could have made Werritty a Special Adviser but he chose not to, thereby keeping his role informal and less constrained

On Friday, the Defence Secretary Liam Fox was forced to resign after questions were raised concerning his relationship with Adam Werritty, and his nebulous links to unspecified backers, business contacts and overseas officials. Andrew Blick looks at the historical roots of the Special Advisor role for explanations of how these situations can come about.

Coalition government has created a new balance of power at the centre of UK government (but that shouldn’t be a surprise)

Passing the first 100 days mark suggests to Andrew Blick and George Jones that the coalition government has begun to revive some earlier historical precedents in Cabinet government. Unlike his immediate predecessors, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, because of the inclusion of Liberal Democrats ministers David Cameron has had to share power and work closely with his cabinet and […]

New seminar – Prime Ministers and Coalition Government: lessons from history

The UK has its first coalition government since the Second World War. The Lib-Con Government has a combined Commons majority large enough to enable it to move forward on its agreed priorities. But No.10 under David Cameron is faced by a set of challenges and opportunities different from those faced by his recent predecessors. What are the implications for […]

The PM and the centre of UK government from Tony Blair to David Cameron. How much will change in the transition from single-party to coalition government?

With a strong Commons majority behind the government, George Jones and Andrew Blick argue that whether the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition operates in a different style from its Labour predecessors will depend strongly on how David Cameron controls the central machinery of power in British government. Recent history gives us the best pointer we have to what may lie ahead.

The […]

The UK Premiership after the 2010 election

Whoever wins the election and takes office in 10 Downing Street will dispose of greatly increased powers as Prime Minister, argue Andrew Blick and George Jones, because of the cumulative result of years of institutional practice tending to undermine collective Cabinet government.

Cabinet government has been seriously compromised in recent years, and a semi-official ‘Department of the Prime Minister’ […]