The Constitution Unit


The 1997 Labour government's constitutional reform programme: 25 years on

17 May 2022 - We look back at the Labour reforms proposed in 1997 with a panel of experts who were closely involved from different perspectives.

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May 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the election of Tony Blair's first Labour government. It entered office with an ambitious set of manifesto proposals for constitutional reform. These included devolution in Scotland, Wales and London, a new settlement for Northern Ireland, the Human Rights Act, Freedom of Information Act, Lords reform, regulation of elections and referendums, and a referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons.

Not all of these ambitions were reached, but further changes occurred beyond 2001, most obviously the establishment of the Supreme Court. This event will look back at the Labour reforms, asking what they sought to achieve, the extent to which those objectives were realised, whether in retrospect mistakes can be identified, and what has been the lasting legacy of these reforms. We are joined by a senior panel who were closely involved from different perspectives.



Lord (Charlie) Falconer of Thoroton, Labour peer who has held various frontbench positions including as Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor 2003-07

Baroness (Shami) Chakrabarti, Labour peer and former Shadow Attorney General, who before this was Director of Liberty 2003-16

Professor Robert Hazell, founding Director of the Constitution Unit, a position he held from 1995 to 2015.

Chair: Professor Meg Russell, Director of the Constitution Unit