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Latest news, updates and announcements from The Constitution Unit

Unit in the News - the General Election Coverage (May 2015)

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In the run up to the General election and after, members of the Unit have been cited in the following articles and media apperances on a number of issues surrounding the election.

Professor Robert Hazell comments on the publication of letters to government ministers from the Prince of Wales

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Commenting on the publication of letters to government ministers from the Prince of Wales, the Director of UCL’s Constitution Unit Professor Robert Hazell said:

Press Release: Cameron faces major challenges in the Lords, warns expert

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As the fallout from the general election is dissected, some commentators have noted the challenges facing Cameron's new government in managing the House of Commons - given his small majority. But UCL expert Professor Meg Russell warns today that his challenges in managing the House of Lords could be even greater.

Once the election results are in, how do we decide who forms the government?

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Press Release: Devolution and Future of the Union: the Challenge for the new Parliament

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A new report by the Constitution Unit

On the eve of the election the Constitution Unit publishes today a new report on Devolution and the Future of the Union. Its analysis will survive well into the new Parliament, whoever forms the next government. The report explores future challenges to the Union, with all parties committed to further devolution, a resurgent SNP, and the Conservative promise of English votes for English laws. These issues will all feature in the post-election negotiations between the parties, with growing tensions between England and Scotland, and a risk that hasty deals could end up undermining the Union.

Press Release: Senior academic figures specify standards for a post-election constitutional convention

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Today a group of senior academics publish a statement setting out the minimum standards for a post-election constitutional convention. Several of the political parties are now committed to establishing such a body, to discuss the constitutional options for the UK following the Scottish referendum. The Labour Party manifesto promises 'a people-led Constitutional Convention’, the Liberal Democrat manifesto 'a UK Constitutional Convention’ and the Greens' manifesto 'a Constitutional Convention led by citizens’. The other parties either support or are prepared to contemplate establishment of such a body. In the expectation that this topic could form part of interparty negotiations following the election, the day's document sets out eight basic standards that a constitutional convention should meet.

ELECTION 2015: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT  

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Professor Robert Hazell on Another hung Parliament: what next?

In this short video Professor Robert Hazell explains how the new government will be formed if no single party gains an overall majority in the UK general election in May.

Unit in the News - The Parliamentary Candidates UK project & the General Election (April 2015)

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The Parliamentary Candidates UK project, which is a resource for those interested in representation and the UK political class have in the run up to the elections been quoted in a number of news outlets. Also the team have appeared on Good Morning Britain and other news programmes. 

Inaugural Lecture: Professor Meg Russell- Politics, Academia and the Real World

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Tuesday 3 March 2015 - 6.30pm

Presiding: Professor Mary Fulbrook, Dean of Faculty of Social And Historical Sciences

Press Release: New report finds that codification of the UK’s constitution is not essential

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whattocodify

The Constitution Unit is pleased to announce the launch of a new report on codification of the UK’s constitution. The report compares the texts of constitutionally relevant statutes in the UK to other countries’ constitutional texts. In doing so, it provides three lessons for those involved in the debate over codification (or not) of the UK’s constitution:

VIDEO: Professor Robert Hazell on Another hung Parliament: what next?

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In this short video Professor Robert Hazell explains how the new government will be formed if no single party gains an overall majority in the UK general election in May.

New Leadership for the Constitution Unit from September 2015

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Meg Russell, Alan Renwick & Robert Hazell

New arrangements for the leadership of the Constitution Unit are planned from September 2015. Professor Robert Hazell will formally step down as Director, after 20 years in the role, to be succeeded by the current Deputy Director, Professor Meg Russell. At the same time Dr Alan Renwick joins the UCL Department of Political Science from the University of Reading, and will take over as the Constitution Unit Deputy Director.

VIDEO: Nicholas Paines QC & Henni Ouahes  - Reforming Electoral Law

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Speakers: Nicholas Paines QC & Henni Ouahes (Law Commission)

28th January 2015

Meg Russell on BBC Westminster hour talking about why system for appointing peers needs urgent reform

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Meg Russell was on the BBC Westminster Hour programme on Sunday 23 February 2015 talking about why system for appointing peers needs urgent reform.

VIDEO: The Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland on 'Austerity, inequality and the Scottish approach to economic growth' 

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Nicola Sturgeon &RH


Nicola Sturgeon the First Minister of Scotland spoke at a public lecture on Wednesday 11th February on 'Austerity, inequality and the Scottish approach to economic growth' 

Press Release: New report calls for regulation of prime ministerial appointments to the Lords

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A new report published today by respected think tank the Constitution Unit, and backed by other key constitutional reform bodies, calls for immediate moves to regulate prime ministerial appointments to the House of Lords. The report was launched last night at a high-profile event in the Lords, presided over by the former Lord Speaker and welcomed by various senior figures.

Unit in the News - January 2015

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The new Parliamentary Candidates UK project, which is a new resource for those interested in representation and the UK political class, has been quoted in the press recently.

VIDEO: Professor Michael Kenny - Understanding the Re-emergence of the English Question

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Speaker: Professor Michael Kenny
8th December 2014

Press Release: Don’t Rush English Votes on English Laws, says Constitution Unit

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Commenting on the publication today of the government’s different options for English votes for English laws, the Director of UCL’s Constitution Unit Professor Robert Hazell said:

VIDEO: Dominic Grieve QC MP - Why It Matters that Conservatives Should Support the European Convention on Human Rights

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Speaker: Dominic Grieve
3rd December 2014

A British withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights would be “devastating for Britain and human rights throughout Europe, says Dominic Grieve, sacked as Attorney General by David Cameron in July.

VIDEO: Dr Alan Renwick & Katie Ghose - A Constitutional Convention for the UK: What Form Should It Take?

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Speaker: Dr Alan Renwick & Katie Ghose
12th November 2014

Talk to University College London by the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP 'Why Human Rights should matter to Conservatives'

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Check against delivery

Introduction

I am most grateful for the kind invitation that has been extended to me tonight by both the UCL Constitution Unit and Judicial Institute to come and talk about the operation of the ECHR and the Human Rights Act from a Conservative perspective. Throughout my time in politics, but particularly after I became Attorney General in 2010 I have come to value the work that you have done and my opportunities to learn from your events and publications.

Press Release: Speech by the Former Attorney Gengeral Dominic Grieve MP to the Constitution Unit and Judicial Institute of UCL on 3 December 2014

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A British withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights would be “devastating for Britain and human rights throughout Europe, says Dominic Grieve, sacked as Attorney General by David Cameron in July.

New book edited by Jennifer Hudson 'The Political Costs of the 2009 British MPs’ Expenses Scandal'

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VIDEO: Jim Gallagher & Iain McLean - The Day After Judgement: Scotland and the UK after the referendum

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Speaker: Professor Jim Gallagher & Professor Iain McLean
9th October 2014

Jim Gallagher argues it would be a serious error if either Scotland or the UK were to conclude things could revert to business as usual. Agreement on the full detail of further devolution plans is needed across the parties and then legislation. The more complex task will be reconstituting the union. This needs updating and restating; to reflect not just the place of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but the reality that England has a constitutional existence also, to be expressed in parliamentary procedures to deal with English legislation. All of this needs to be drawn together, codified and managed for the long run. The referendum has been both divisive and energising. Obligations fall on both sides – to accept the result, and to be magnanimous in victory.

Robert Hazell gives evidence at the Public Administration Select Committee on Whitehall: capacity to address future challenges

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Robert Hazell gave evidence at the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) holds its first public oral evidence sessions on its inquiry Whitehall: capacity to address future challenges on Tuesday 4 November at 10.00am.  The inquiry considers the government’s capacity to anticipate, to analyse, to assess, and to respond to the most significant challenges facing the UK in the next decade or so.

VIDEO: Meg Russell's UCL Lunch Hour Lecture on 'Does parliament matter?'

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Speaker: Professor Meg Russell
9th October 2014

Many people dismiss the Westminster parliament as an ineffective 'talking shop', and similar allegations are commonplace about parliaments in other democracies. But based on substantial research Meg Russell argues that Westminster is influential - and almost certainly increasingly so. Her lecture seeks to dispel some common misconceptions about how parliamentary institutions work, in the UK and beyond.

VIDEO: Succession to the Crown of Canada – The Court Challenge and the Consequences

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Speaker: Professor Anne Twomey

18th September 2014

Press release: Constitution Unit analysis of the English Question

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On the Constitution Unit Blog Robert Hazell has published a four page analysis of all the different answers to the English Question.  As the political parties and others cross swords about the rival merits of an English Parliament or English votes on English laws, or city regions vs regional government vs local government, the Constitution Unit offers this as an expert and dispassionate contribution to the debate.  It is based upon a three year research project with ten contributors which resulted in a book titled The English Question.

VIDEO: Special Advisers: Who they are, what they do and why they matter 

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Viewers of The Thick of It will know of special advisers as spin doctors and political careerists. Several well-known ministers have been special advisers, among them David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Jack Straw and Vince Cable.

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Blog

The UK electoral system now decisively favours the Conservatives

Wed, 03 Jun 2015 09:00:52 +0000

Before the election, it was commonly assumed that the bias in the electoral system would favour Labour, as it has done since the 1990s. But Tim Smith illustrates how the skew on May 7 actually benefitted the Conservatives and contributed to their unexpected victory. In the wake of the largely unexpected Conservative election victory, it was […]

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The new opposition: How will SNP MPs influence Westminster politics?

Mon, 01 Jun 2015 10:59:53 +0000

Louise Thompson argues that the constitutional challenges we will see over the next 5 years will be a product of the changed composition of Parliament. Here, she specifically considers how SNP are likely to try and amend proposed constitutional reforms announced in the Queen’s Speech last week. We are only a couple of weeks in to the 2015 […]

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The UK at a constitutional crossroads

Fri, 29 May 2015 10:00:30 +0000

Alan Trench discusses Ways forward for the United Kingdom, a new report from the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law which considers the constitutional issues that the UK as a whole will need to address in the short and medium term. The impact of the Scottish independence referendum has been wide-ranging. It raises a […]

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