The Constitution Unit


Press Notice: Reckless speed is jeopardising coalition's constitutional reforms

27 January 2011

The coalition government's big constitutional reform programme is in jeopardy because it has been rushed, says the Constitution Unit. Flagship reforms " in serious trouble" include:

  • AV voting, controversially bracketed with reducing the number of parliamentary constituencies. The referendum may be lost due to "the mad rush"; 
  • The Fixed Term Parliament Bill;
  • The European Union Bill, designed to underscore the supremacy of Parliament;
  • The Public Bodies bill to create " a bonfire of the quangos."

The Unit examines the criticisms of the reform programme from select committees and the House of Lords, where the AV referendum bill is making very slow progress. "Having learnt some painful lessons, the government may now be prepared to act more slowly, and with more consultation: especially with their next set of proposals for reform of the House of Lords", concludes the Unit's director Prof Robert Hazell.

The Unit's judgements appear in a set of invaluable summary reports of the main constitutional issues in the latest edition of Monitor, our thrice-yearly newsletter just published. The January issue includes reports on:

  • Parliament
  • The Executive
  • Devolution
  • Courts & the Judiciary
  • Information Policy

Monitor reviews the state of the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in advance of the May elections; asks why MPs don't make greater use of FoI; and covers the Lord Chief Justice's forthright criticism of the use of ministerial orders to abolish quasi-judicial public bodies, a topic largely overlooked in the press. 

The Constitution Unit also announces two major research programmes, on independence and accountability for the judiciary and the impact of the coalition on the governance of the UK.

The latest Monitor can be read at the link below:

Monitor, issue 47: January 2011

Notes for Editors