The British constitution was the result of a long historical evolution. Popular sovereignty, majority rule while respecting minority rights, checked governmental powers through limitations, due process of the law and leadership succession through popular consensus are the main characteristics of a constitutional democracy, according to the Center for Civic Education. © 2001 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College. All powers of the government are vested in the British Parliament, which is a sovereign body. This, according to the doctrine, is to prevent the abuse of power, so that the rights and liberties of individuals would not be compromised or jeopardized in any way. However, it has some written parts too which includes Historical Documents, Parliamentary Statues, Judicial Decisions and Constitutional Characters, e.
Alex salmond as the Scottish first minister has referred to himself as the Scottish Prime Minister and to the Scottish Executive as the Scottish Government. Sir Antony Jay, whose gifts to the nation include co-creating Yes, Prime Minister, is credited with first outlining the twin notions of Head of State and Head of Nation in a book published alongside his defining 1990s documentary on the role of the Queen, Elizabeth R. Thus, the and clauses of the U. For example, the 2 million or so voters in Wales will be asked on 3 rd March 2011 whether primary legislative powers be granted to the Welsh assembly. However, in Britain we certainly say that we have a constitution, but it is one that exists in an abstract sense, comprising a host of diverse laws, practices and conventions that have evolved over a long period of time. But all these diverse political elements have been beautifully welded together to produce the final effect of perfect representative democracy. Many argue that a codified constitution will only be achieved, and can in fact only work, with the dissolution of the monarchy and electoral reform in the name of Proportional Representation and that this constitutional reform can only ever be achieved through a revolution.
The constitution is the foundation of the rule of state. Britain's lack of a 'written' constitution can be explained by its history. Constitutions organise, distribute and regulate state power. A constitution may be described as a body of laws that establishes and regulates how a state should be governed and it is generally regarded as the supreme law of the land as it supersedes all normal parliamentary legislation. No precise date of its birth can be given and no definite body of persons can claim to be its authors, because it is the product of gradual growth and development.
In 2011, the thorny issue of the transfer of responsibility for policing to the province was resolved. The Wright Committee 2009 recommended that greater power be given to backbenchers. Constitutional Monarchy- loss of the arbitrary prerogative powers to the Prime Minister. They are the ones concerned with behaviour, values and standards; the ones which earn the respect, loyalty and pride of the people. It is the final court of appeal. Over the past century there have been a number of Acts of Parliament on major constitutional subjects that, taken together, could be viewed as creating a tier of constitutional legislation, albeit patchy in their range and with no special status or priority in law. A device which protects the constitution from short term amendment.
Nevertheless, statutes and principles of constitutional import cannot be changed as easily as other statutes and rules and are generally treated as permanent. The constitution injects a sense of discipline in the citizen. This was introduced in 1986 and greatly extended under the terms of the Maastricht treaty 1992. Collected Essays, Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1974, 332p. Every British person thinks they are entitled to anythingthey wish for. Referenda: Major constitutional change and reform has been or is promised to be backed by a yes vote in a referendum.
The very existence of the office of Prime Minister, our head of government, is purely conventional. The element of flexibility has length the virtue of adaptability and adjustability to the British constitution. In contrast, the constitution of India extends to hundreds of pages. The House of Common reflects actual working of a Full-fledged democracy in this country. Britain is unusual in that it has an 'unwritten' constitution: unlike the great majority of countries there is no single legal document which sets out in one place the fundamental laws outlining how the state works. These factors may involve political pressure from either the legislature, executive or otherwise, lack of security of tenure, inadequate remuneration, or personal bias as a result of extraneous circumstances. An example would be the Scotland Act 1998 which established a legislative and tax raising Parliament in Scotland.
Many people are ignorant of the constitution precisely because it is uncodified. Unitary The British constitution has unitary character as opposed to a federal one. Livingstone as the first mayor introduced the congestion charge, won approval for a Cross rail system in London, both he and Johnson won increased funding for policing in London. The ideas, values and goals of a constitution may be stated clearly or impliedly, of the goals of India is establishment of socialism. What are the functions of a constitution? Strengths It is flexible and adaptable precisely because it is not written down. It has never been thought necessary to consolidate the basic building blocks of this order in Britain.
Judiciary: Criticism of the judiciary centred on the following areas: lack of separation of powers with the Lord Chancellor being a senior Cabinet post as well as the head of the judiciary and speaker of the House of Lords. It establishes the rules that govern the relationships between different institutions of the state e. These may be considered to be the key characteristics of an ideal constitution and must always be borne in mind whenever constitutions are being drafted for the first time, amended or reformed. The British Constitution is derived from a number of sources. Although the process in the United States is difficult, it is easier than the process in other countries with rigid constitutions. The real functionaries are Ministers who belongs to the majority party in Parliament and remain in office so long as they retain its confidence. Empowerment of state: The constitution gives powers and strength to the state and government.
Since Charles I paid the ultimate price for insisting on clinging on to the powers of an absolute monarch when his subjects were no longer content to grant them, British sovereigns have shown with varying degrees of deftness an ability to cede power and yet remain the seat of all authority. For example, while the Queen has the prerogative to refuse assent to a measure, passed by Parliament, but by convention, she cannot do so and the same has become a rigid principle of the constitution itself. The socio-economic stability of a country depends on all these factors. A set of principles, which may be written or unwritten, that establishes the distribution of power within a political system, relationships between political institutions, the limits of government jurisdiction, the rights of citizens and the method of amending the constitution itself. Recently, too, some conventions have been subject to an ad hoc codification, such as the principles of ministerial responsibilities in the Ministerial Code. First, it makes it difficult to know what the state of the constitution actually is.