The government had a wide-ranging agenda for constitutional reforms on page 48 of its 2019 election manifesto. This conference, co-organised by the Constitution Unit, the Department of Politics & International Relations at the University of Oxford, and UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE), brought together politicians, policy-makers and academic experts to discuss the government’s progress so far, and what lies ahead. This page contains video and audio recordings of the panel and Q&A sessions from across the two-day conference, and links to suggested reading materials.
Day 1, Thursday 17 June
- Panel 1: Keynote speech by Robert Buckland QC MP
- Panel 2: Judicial review, human rights and judiciary
- Panel 3: Review of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011
Day 2, Friday 18 June
- Panel 1: Elections and referendums - updating campaign regulation for a digital era
- Panel 2: Devolution and future of the Union
- Panel 3: Re-balancing between parliament, executive and the courts
Speaker: Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP.
Chair: Prof Meg Russell FBA, Constitution Unit, UCL.
- Transcript of the speech by Robert Buckland, published 17 June 2021.
- The UK’s Post-Brexit ‘Constitutional Unsettlement’, by Colm O'Cinneide on Verfassungsblog (referenced in the transcript of the speech), published 16 April 2021.
- Conceptual overreach threatens the quality of public reason, by John Tasioulas on Aeon Essays (referenced in the transcript of the speech), published 29 January 2021.
- Flexing the constitution, response to Buckland's speech by Joshua Rozenberg on A Lawyer Writes, published 19 June 2021.
- Robert Buckland’s call for the courts to narrow their remit is misguided, response to Buckland's speech by Jonathan Jones on the Institute for Government blog, published 19 June 2021.
- Calls for the courts to narrow their remit are deeply troubling, response to Buckland's speech by Jonathan Jones in the Independent, published 19 June 2021.
Speakers: Lord Faulks QC, Chair of the Independent Review of Administrative Law; Prof Kate O'Regan, Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, Oxford; Joshua Rozenberg QC (Hon), legal commentator and journalist.
Chair: Prof Catherine Barnard, Oxford and UKICE.
- How do you solve a problem like judicial review reform?, by Joe Tomlinson and Lewis Graham for the Constitution Unit blog, published 29 January 2021.
- IRAL: The Panel Report and the Government’s Response, by Paul Craig for the UKCLA blog, published 22 March 2021.
Speakers: Lord McLoughlin, Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Review of the FTPA; Chris Bryant MP, member of the Joint Committee on Review of FTPA; Prof Petra Schleiter, Oxford; and Prof Alison Young, Cambridge.
Chair: Prof Meg Russell FBA, Constitution Unit, UCL.
- Can Boris Johnson simply repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act?, by Robert Hazell on the Constitution Unit blog, published 5 February 2021.
- FTPA Joint Committee lays down marker for the future, by Robert Hazell and Meg Russell on the Constitution Unit blog, published 12 April 2021.
- Joint evidence submission by Robert Hazell and Meg Russell to the Joint Committee on the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.
- The Draft Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (Repeal) Bill: Turning Back the Clock?, by Alison Young on the UKCLA blog, published 4 December 2020.
- Repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, by Mark Elliott in the Public Law for Everyone blog, published 2 December 2020.
Speakers: John Pullinger, Chair of Electoral Commission; Dr Kate Dommett, Sheffield; and Prof Rachel Gibson, Manchester.
Chair: Dr Alan Renwick, Constitution Unit, UCL.
- Why we need an independent Electoral Commission, by Alan Renwick and Charlotte Kincaid on the Constitution Unit blog, published 7 October 2020.
- The government’s electoral reform agenda: an assessment, by Alan Renwick on the Constitution Unit blog, published 12 February 2020.
- Constitutional reformers need to tackle six key questions about the regulation of digital campaigning, by Kate Dommett on the Constitution Unit blog, published 18 June 2021.
- Online harms to democracy: the government’s change of approach, by Alex Walker on the Constitution Unit blog, published 13 April 2021.
- The UK Electoral Integrity Bill, policy brief by Toby S. James, Stuart Wilks-Heeg and Alistair Clark, mentioned by Kate Dommett in response to a question on voter ID, published 2 May 2021.
- Increasing Parliamentary Accountability in Electoral Policy, written statement made by Chloe Smith (Minister for the Constitution) on 17 June 2021.
Speakers: Prof Adam Tomkins, Glasgow; Prof Laura McAllister, Cardiff; Prof Katy Hayward, Queen’s University Belfast; and Prof John Denham, Southampton.
Chair: Prof Robert Hazell, Constitution Unit, UCL.
- The sovereignty conundrum and the uncertain future of the Union, by Michael Keating on the Constitution Unit blog, published 28 April 2021.
- Five key questions about coronavirus and devolution, by Akash Paun on the Constitution Unit blog, published 31 May 2021.
- The Final Report by the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland, published by the Constitution Unit on 26 May 2021.
- The Internal Market Bill: implications for devolution, by Nicola McEwen on the Centre on Constitutional Change blog, published 11 September 2020.
- England, Englishness and the Labour Party, by John Denham and Daniel Devine, Political Quarterly, August 2018.
- A Parliament that Works for Wales, by Laura McAllister for the National Assembly for Wales, published 2017.
- ‘Answering the West Lothian Question? A Critical Assessment of “English Votes for English Laws” in the UK Parliament’, Daniel Gover and Michael Kenny, Parliamentary Affairs, 2018.
Speakers: Dominic Grieve QC, former Attorney General; Peter Riddell, Commissioner for Public Appointments; Prof Meg Russell FBA, Constitution Unit, UCL; and Prof Tim Bale, Queen Mary, University of London.
Chair: Prof Petra Schleiter, Oxford
- The public appointments system is under strain: it needs more clarity and transparency, by Peter Riddell on the Constitution Unit blog, published 16 May 2021.
- The anatomy of democratic backsliding: could it happen here?, by Stephan Haggard and Robert R Kaufman on the Constitution Unit blog, published 10 June 2021.
- The marginalisation of the House of Commons under Covid has been shocking; a year on, parliament’s role must urgently be restored, by Meg Russell, Ruth Fox, Ronan Cormacain and Joe Tomlinson on the Constitution Unit blog, published 21 April 2021.
- The government's proposed Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission: what, why and how?, by Meg Russell and Alan Renwick on the Constitution Unit blog, published 14 February 2021.