Constitution and Politics

Countries need constitutions to provide them with legitimacy and to uplhold the rights of the individual and also show exactly who much power the government has and exactly which ways they are distributed. Constitutions have value because thy provide countries with a fresh start (after defeat, or victory in case of a civil war) and they uphold the rights of all the citizens. Britain has a unitary system of government, it is centralised and all the laws that are passed in House of Commons cannot be denied by any part of the devolved governments and apply to all parts of the UK.

Main principles of UK Constitution: Sovereignty (highest law making body, no parliament is subject to its successor. Rule of Law (everyone equal, none punished for arbitrary reasons . The fusion of powers. The Human Rights Act (1998) has gone some way to redress this but it stops well short of being an entrenched (fixed) bill of rights as its provisions could be set aside by Parliament, as has occurred, for instance, over terrorism. Blair's Reforms: lost interest as they had so much power they didn't want to give it away.

Piecemeal solutions to problems. Not enough parliamentary reform. Browns Planned Reforms: Give MPs power to decide whether to wage war, Setting up national security council, Parliament to ratify international treaties, Commons committees for each English region, New ministerial code, PM no longer to choose Church of England bishops, Elections moving from Thursday's to weekends, MPs to hold hearings on key public appointments, People to be consulted on possible 'bill of rights', Potential lowering of voting age to 16

The Judiciary – The judiciary is the branch of government that is responsible for deciding legal disputes and which presides over the court system. Anti-terror, crime and security Act 2001 – detention without trial for foreign nationals (incompatible with the HRA but passed and the replaced by 2005 Act) The Terrorism Act 2005 – increased power to deport people from UK who were considered to be promoting terrorism. Functions of Parliament: legitimating, pass laws and govern, in reaility: executive dominance: representations of constituents, scrutiny of executive, law-making, deliberation.