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A tale as old as (devolved) time? Sewel, Stormont and the Legislative Consent Convention

Evans, Adam 2020. A tale as old as (devolved) time? Sewel, Stormont and the Legislative Consent Convention. Political Quarterly 91 (1) , pp. 165-172. 10.1111/1467-923X.12795

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The legislative consent convention forms one of a number of conventions that underpin the UK’s uncodified constitution and has been an important facet of the UK’s territorial governance post‐devolution. It provides that the UK government will not normally seek to legislate on devolved matters, and the devolution settlements, without the consent of the respective devolved legislatures. Commonly referred to as the ‘Sewel Convention’, the convention’s roots are often traced to the commitments made by Lord Sewel during the passage of the Scotland Act 1998. This article demonstrates, however, that the convention has a far deeper history that long predated Lord Sewel’s comments and goes back to the dawn of devolution in the United Kingdom, namely, the Northern Ireland Parliament that existed between 1921 and 1972. The article charts the development of the legislative consent convention from its roots in the failure of the UK government to challenge directly the Northern Ireland government over local government franchise reform in 1921, to its continued survival, even when Stormont collapsed in 1972, and argues that the convention survived owing to its role as a device of convenience and pragmatism for politicians in Westminster.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0032-3179
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 January 2020
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2021 12:23

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