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Back to the future? Warnings from history for a future UK constitutional convention

Evans, Adam B. 2015. Back to the future? Warnings from history for a future UK constitutional convention. Political Quarterly 86 (1) , pp. 24-32. 10.1111/1467-923X.12135

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Amid the fallout from the Scottish independence referendum, a UK constitutional convention has been proposed as a mechanism to take stock not only of the referendum, but also of the past fifteen years of devolution. However, despite longstanding conceptions of British constitutional development, a constitutional convention would not herald a brave new world for the UK's constitution. As the article highlights, in the past hundred years there have been two attempts to treat the territorial constitution in the round: the Speaker's Conference on Devolution, 1919–1920 and the Royal Commission on the Constitution, 1969–1973. This article examines both of these forums, arguing that they provide clear warnings for a future UK constitutional convention, in particular the threat of internal division that any such forum risks facing. A danger that this article highlights is heightened by the associated difficulty of reaching agreement across the UK's ‘state of unions’.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Uncontrolled Keywords: constitutional conventions;British politics;political history;devolution
Additional Information: This article is open access.
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0032-3179
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2019 09:53

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