The Constitution Unit


The Constitution Unit News

Unit publishes briefing paper on Brexit and announces UCL EU referendum debate speakers

On 21 April, the Constitution Unit hosted its first Brexit seminar. Our panellists - Lord Lisvane, former Clerk of the House of Commons, Sir Simon Fraser, former Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign Office and Professor Hussein Kassim, author of The European Commission of the Twenty-First Century – discussed the impact that Brexit would have on Whitehall and Westminster.

This briefing paper, written by Nicholas Wright and Oliver Patel, explores this topic in further depth. Drawing on the seminar, it asks: what are the immediate political consequences of a vote to leave the EU? What would the withdrawal process entail and how would it impact on Parliament and the civil service? And, what would be the long-term impact of Brexit on Whitehall and Westminster? The evidence indicates that Brexit would have a significant impact on Whitehall and Westminster, especially during the withdrawal process.

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Press Release: Strathclyde report could hold key to next stage in Lords reform

The report published today by Lord Strathclyde into powers of the House of Lords could facilitate a wider deal on the next stage of Lords reform, say experts at UCL's Constitution Unit. The Strathclyde report proposes a reduction in the chamber's powers over secondary legislation, which is likely to prove controversial with members of the Lords, and particularly with the Labour opposition. But there are also changes that members of the Lords themselves urgently want: in particular control over the chamber's size, and unregulated prime ministerial appointments. House of Lords expert Professor Meg Russell therefore suggests that there could now be a deal to be struck.

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New leadership for the Constitution Unit

Today marks an important transition for UCL's Constitution Unit, as its founding Director, Professor Robert Hazell, steps down after more than 20 years of service. The Unit's new Director is Professor Meg Russell, who joined the Unit in 1998 and was previously its Deputy Director. The new Deputy Director is Dr Alan Renwick, who joined UCL in September from the University of Reading.

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New Publication: The Constitutional Standards of the House of Lords Constitution Committee: Second Edition

Today the Constitution Unit, with the support of the Constitution Society, is publishing the second edition of The Constitutional Standards of the House of Lords Constitution Committee. The report, by Jack Simson Caird, Robert Hazell and Dawn Oliver, contains a code of 140 constitutional standards, covering five areas: the rule of law, delegated powers, the separation of powers, individual rights and parliamentary procedure. The second edition extracts and codifies standards from all 168 reports of the House of Lords’ Constitution Committee published from its inception in 2001 to the end of the 2010-2015 Parliament.

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Meg Russell comments on next steps for House of Lords reform

Meg Russell comments on the next steps for House of Lords reform in the press in light of Lord Sewel's resignation from the House of Lords and the upcoming House of Lords reform in the press in light of Lord Sewel's resignation from the House of Lords and the upcoming appointments by David Cameron.

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