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Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law
Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law

Meg Russell and Daniel Gover (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Although the British Westminster parliament is one of the most visible in the world it is often considered relatively weak in policy terms. This applies in particular to parliament’s core role of making legislation. Yet there has been little recent study of the Westminster legislative process. This book, written by Constitution Unit Director Meg Russell and former Constitution Unit researcher Daniel Gover, is the largest study of its kind in over 40 years and argues that, far from being peripheral, Westminster is a powerful actor in the policy process.

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Developments in British Politics Ten
Developments in British Politics 10

Edited by Richard Heffernan, Colin Hay, Meg Russell & Philip Cowley (Palgrave, 2016)

Unit Director Meg Russell is one of the co-editors of the latest edition of the well-established and well-respected Developments in British Politics series, recently published by Palgrave. The book, targeted at advanced undergraduate/postgraduate students and interested general readers provides up-to-date summaries by leading scholars of many of the key aspects of British politics. Both Meg Russell and Unit Deputy Director Alan Renwick have chapters in the volume.

Meg Russell's chapter, entitled 'Parliament: a Significant Constraint on Government', explores the role of parliament under the coalition government 2010-15 and during the first year of the 2015 Conservative government. Drawing on her work on the policy impact of parliament, it emphasises how the two chambers of parliament exercised significant influence of both a visible and less visible kind across this period.

Alan Renwick's chapter is entitled 'Voting Behaviour and Electoral Outcomes', and looks at changes in voting patterns in the UK across time, linking to the variety of voting systems now in place across the UK's electoral institutions.

Other contributors to the volume (several of whom have links to the Unit of various kinds) cover a wide range of topics including ideological politics, the party system, Britain's experience of coalition government, developments in the civil service, territorial politics after the Scottish referendum and Britain and the EU.

Faces on the ballot
Faces on the Ballot: The Personalization of Electoral Systems in Europe

Alan Renwick and Jean-Benoit Pilet (Oxford, 2016)

One of the key shifts in contemporary politics is the trend towards greater personalization. Collective actors such as political parties are losing relevance. Citizens are slowly dealigning from these actors, and individual politicians are therefore growing in importance in elections, in government, within parties, and in media reporting of politics. A crucial question concerns how this new pattern could be restructuring politics over the long run - notably, whether the personalization of politics is changing the institutional architecture of contemporary democracies. 


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Magna Carta and its Modern Legacy
Magna Carta and its Modern Legacy

Edited by Robert Hazell & James Meltion (CUP, April 2015)

Magna Carta is celebrated around the world as a symbol of limited government and constitutionalism. But in 1215 Magna Carta was a failure, abrogated within months. Why then do we celebrate this piece of parchment? To mark the 800th anniversary this book brings together top scholars from the UK, US and Australia to answer this question and analyse Magna Carta's historic and contemporary influence. Using a political science framework, Magna Carta and its Modern Legacy draws from scholarship on influence and constitutional design to explain how parchment can contain executive power. Individual chapters on Britain discuss such topics as socioeconomic rights in Magna Carta; Magna Carta and the British constitution; and public understanding of the charter. Internationally focused chapters look at Magna Carta and jury trial in America, slavery in the Caribbean, court delays in the Pacific, the proportionality principle, and judicial supremacy.

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The Politics of Judicial Independence in the UK's Changing Constitution
The Politics of Judicial Independence in the UK's Changing Constitution

Graham Gee, Robert Hazell, Kate Malleson and Patrick O'Brien (CUP, March 2015)

Judicial independence is generally understood as requiring that judges must be insulated from political life. The central claim of this work is that far from standing apart from the political realm, judicial independence is a product of it. It is defined and protected through interactions between judges and politicians. In short, judicial independence is a political achievement. This is the main conclusion of a three-year research project on the major changes introduced by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, and the consequences for judicial independence and accountability. The authors interviewed over 150 judges, politicians, civil servants and practitioners to understand the day-to-day processes of negotiation and interaction between politicians and judges. They conclude that the greatest threat to judicial independence in future may lie not from politicians actively seeking to undermine the courts, but rather from their increasing disengagement from the justice system and the judiciary.

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The Political Costs of the 2009 British MPs’ Expenses Scandal
The Political Costs of the 2009 British MPs’ Expenses Scandal

Edited by Jennifer Hudson (Palgrave, October 2014)

In May 2009, the Daily Telegraph began publishing un-redacted expenses claims made by British MPs showing how, and the extent to which, some MPs took advantage of an unregulated expenses system. This study examines the evolution and political consequences of this 2009 British MPs' expenses scandal and argues that despite claims at the time of a revolution in British politics, it in fact had a limited, short-term impact. Beginning with the efforts of journalist Heather Brooke and the role of the Freedom of Information Act in exposing the scandal, the book examines the scandal's electoral impact and how it affected public perceptions of wrong-doing and probity amongst politicians. It also notes the many opportunities MPs had to reform parliamentary expenses, and gives special consideration is given to the media's role in reporting the scandal but also to the role of Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority in reforming expenses.

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

Ben Yong and Robert Hazell (Hart, August 2014)

This book is the most detailed study yet carried out of special advisers. The Constitution Unit's research team, led by Dr Ben Yong and Professor Robert Hazell, assembled a comprehensive database of over 600 special advisers since 1979. They conducted written surveys, and interviewed over 100 special advisers, ministers and officials from the past thirty years. They conclude that special advisers are now a permanent and indispensable part of Whitehall, but are still treated as transient and temporary. The book concludes with practical recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of special advisers through improvements to their recruitment, induction and training, support and supervision, and strengthening their accountability

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The Contemporary House of Lords: Westminster Bicameralism Revived
The Contemporary House of Lords: Westminster Bicameralism Revived

Meg Russell (OUP, July 2013)

This book provides the first detailed portrait of the post-1999 Lords, explaining who sits in the chamber, how it operates, and crucially what policy impact it has. Its membership is shown to be more diverse and modern than many would assume, and its influence on policy to be substantial.

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The Politics of Coalition How the Conservative-Lib Dem Government Works
The Politics of Coalition How the Conservative-Lib Dem Government Works

Robert Hazell and Ben Yong (Hart, 2012)

The Politics of Coalition tells how the Coalition has fared in the different arenas of the British political system: at the Centre; within the Departments; in Parliament; in the parties outside Parliament, and in the media. It will be of interest to politicians, policy makers, academics, students and anyone interested in how the UK coalition works in practice and not just in theory.

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Doing Politics
Doing Politics

Tony Wright (Biteback, May 2012)

As a Member of Parliament for nearly two decades he represented the voice of sanity and reason in the House of Commons. As Chair of the influential Public Administration Committee – according to Anthony King, one of those rare committee chairmen who ‘have become public figures in their own right’ – he kept up a running commentary on the conduct of government. He was the politician who forewarned of the parliamentary expenses scandal and who took the initiative in getting the House of Commons to reform.

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A Citizen’s Guide to Electoral Reform
A Citizen’s Guide to Electoral Reform

Alan Renwick (Biteback, 2011)

The ballot box is the only thing guaranteed to make politicians listen. Electoral rules shape the nature of our politics: the relationship between government and governed, between candidates and their parties. And what if tweaking the system could prevent MPs claiming expenses for their duck houses? The choice will be yours. The first nationwide referendum for over 35 years is on the horizon. But it's all too easy just to switch off when it comes to the debate on electoral reform. Full of acronyms; AV, AMS, STV and MMP - it's like being plunged into an alphabet soup! A Citizen's Guide to Electoral Reform is here to help. This easy-to-read guide cuts through the obscurities and let's you know what's really at stake when the referendum comes.

The Politics of Electoral Reform: Changing the Rules of Democracy
The Politics of Electoral Reform: Changing the Rules of Democracy

Alan Renwick (CUP, April 2011)

Elections lie at the heart of democracy, and this book seeks to understand how the rules governing those elections are chosen. Drawing on both broad comparisons and detailed case studies, it focuses upon the electoral rules that govern what sorts of preferences voters can express and how votes translate into seats in a legislature. Through detailed examination of electoral reform politics in four countries (France, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand), Alan Renwick shows how major electoral system changes in established democracies occur through two contrasting types of reform process. Renwick rejects the simple view that electoral systems always straightforwardly reflect the interests of the politicians in power. Politicians' motivations are complex; politicians are sometimes unable to pursue reforms they want; occasionally, they are forced to accept reforms they oppose. The Politics of Electoral Reform shows how voters and reform activists can have real power over electoral reform.

Does FOI Work? The Impact of the Freedom of Information Act on Central Government in the UK
Does FOI Work? The Impact of the Freedom of Information Act on Central Government in the UK

Robert Hazell, Ben Worthy and Mark Glover (Palgrave, August 2010)

This book is the first systematic evaluation of FOI anywhere in the world. It evaluates the performance of the Act against its objectives, and its impact on Whitehall. The book draws upon evidence from interviews with officials, plus FOI requesters and journalists as well as stories in the national press. Each chapter draws on case studies to make particular points and bring the study to life. It also compares developments in the UK to those in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.

Has devolution worked? The verdict from policy-makers and the public
Has devolution worked? The verdict from policy-makers and the public

Edited by John Curtice and Bed Seyd

Devolution to Scotland and Wales represented the most fundamental reform of the British state for almost a century. Ten years on, how successful has the reform been? Drawing on the views of citizens, elected representatives and interest groups in Scotland and Wales, this book provides an answer.

The Endurance of National Constitutions
The Endurance of National Constitutions

Elkins, Zachary, Tom Ginsburg, and James Melton. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, October 2009)

Constitutions are supposed to provide an enduring structure for politics. Yet only half live more than nineteen years. Why is it that some constitutions endure while others do not? In The Endurance of National Constitutions, Zachary Elkins, Tom Ginsburg, and James Melton examine the causes of constitutional endurance from an institutional perspective. Supported by an original set of cross-national historical data, theirs is the first comprehensive study of constitutional mortality. They show that whereas constitutions are imperiled by social and political crises, certain aspects of a constitution’s design can lower the risk of death substantially. Thus, to the extent that endurance is desirable – a question that the authors also subject to scrutiny – the decisions of founders take on added importance.

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Church and State in 21st Century Britain: The Future of Church Establishment
Church and State in 21st Century Britain: The Future of Church Establishment

Edited by R.M. Morris (Palgrave, March 2009)

This book argues that, in an increasingly pluralized society, the gap between form and reality has become unacceptably stretched. Disregarding facile arguments about disestablishment, the book analyses the present position afresh and examines what are the options for change, including to the religious character of the monarchy.

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State of the Nations 2008
State of the Nations 2008

Edited by Alan Trench (Imprint, September 2008)

2007 saw dramatic changes in the UK's devolved politics, with the arrival in office of nationalist parties in Scotland and Wales and the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland, as well as a change of prime minister in London. The State of the Nations 2008 considers why these changes happened and charts the impact they have had across teh United Kingdom. It also looks at some broader underlying issues - in particular the financial arrangements for devolution, influences on devolved policy-making, the role of Scottish and Welsh MPs at Westminster and intergovernmental relations in a comparative context.

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Constitutional Futures Revisited: Britain's Constitution to 2020
Constitutional Futures Revisited: Britain's Constitution to 2020

Edited by Robert Hazell (Palgrave, December 2008)

In this book, leading political scientists and lawyers forecast the impact of these changes on the UK's key institutions and the constitution as a whole. It is an indispensable guide for policy makers, lawyers and judges, the media, academics, students, and anyone interested in the future of the UK's political landscape.

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Devolution and Power in the UK
Devolution and Power in the UK

Edited by Alan Trench (MUP, July 2007)

Devolution and power in the United Kingdom is concerned with a paradox – why devolution has enabled different approaches to government and policy-making to develop in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland since 1999, while a close examination of the structure of devolution suggests that the UK government retains control over most key aspects of the UK.

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The English Question
The English Question

Edited by Robert Hazell (MUP, March 2006)

England remains a gaping hole in the devolution settlement. Devolution will not be complete, and the settlement may not be stable, until the English Question has been solved. Does England need to find its own political voice, following devolution to Scotland and Wales? Do the English want an English parliament; regional assemblies in England; or 'English votes on English laws'?  Or are the English content to muddle through, with no separate representation or political voice?

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The Dynamics of Devolution: The State of the Nations 2005
The Dynamics of Devolution: The State of the Nations 2005

Edited by Alan Trench (Imprint, May 2005)

Devolution is a dynamic process.The institutional changes of the late 1990s, and the politcial and social pressures that lay behind them, have acquired a momentum of their own. The relationship between these two sets of forces, and how that develops over the next ten to twenty years, is the most interesting question about devolution. This book explores the future of devolution, by examining the new politicl dynamics devolution has put into play.

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Devolution, Law Making and the Constitution
Devolution, Law Making and the Constitution

Edited by Robert Hazell & Richard Rawlings (Imprint, April 2005)

This book is essential reading for academics and students in law and in politics, and for anyone interested in the constitutional and legal aspects of UK devolution.

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Building New Labour: The Politics of Party Organisation
Building New Labour: The Politics of Party Organisation

Meg Russell (Palgrave, March 2005)

'New' Labour was defined in part by wide-ranging reforms to the party's internal democracy. These included changes to how candidates and leaders are selected, changes to policy making processes, and a programme of 'quotas' that transformed women's representation in the party.

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Has Devolution made a Difference? State of the Nations 2004
Has Devolution made a Difference? State of the Nations 2004

Edited by Alan Trench (Imprint, January 2004)

This book provides the first comprehensive and dispassionate stock-take of the effect of devolution during the first term of the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales. Part 1 covers the territories of the UK—Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions. Part 2 looks at its impact on the centre Westminster, Whitehall and public opinion. Part 3 looks at developments in two key areas of public policy. The book as a whole assesses not just how parts of the UK have been affected by devolution, but also its effect on the UK as a whole.

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State of the Nations 2003: The Third Year of Devolution in the UK
State of the Nations 2003: The Third Year of Devolution in the UK

Edited by Robert Hazell (Imprint, January 2003)

This book covers developments in the third year of devolution in the UK, and looks ahead to the devolved assembly elections in May 2003.

Part 1 reports on the latest developments in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions, while Part 2 analyses the impact of devolution in Westminster and Whitehall. Part 3 looks at the growing divergence in public policy resulting from devolution, and Part 4 looks ahead to the 2003 elections.

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Scottish Independence
Scottish Independence

Jo E Murkens (Edinburgh University Press, 2002)

This book provides the first comprehensive and dispassionate stock-take of the effect of devolution during the first term of the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales. Part 1 covers the territories of the UK—Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions. Part 2 looks at its impact on the centre Westminster, Whitehall and public opinion. Part 3 looks at developments in two key areas of public policy. The book as a whole assesses not just how parts of the UK have been affected by devolution, but also its effect on the UK as a whole.

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The State of the Nations 2001: The Second Year of Devolution in the United Kingdom
The State of the Nations 2001: The Second Year of Devolution in the United Kingdom

Edited by Alan Trench (Imprint, December 2001)

As a volume of record this book is an essential up-to-date text for courses in constitutional law or the UK political system. The book is written by the leading experts in the field, but in a highly accessible and readable style. It contains a mine of information not published elsewhere on the dynamics of devolution. This is a unique contemporary record describing all the main developments during the second year of devolution.

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Reforming the House of Lords, Lessons from Overseas
Reforming the House of Lords, Lessons from Overseas

Meg Russell (OUP, January 2000)

Meg Russell provides an overdue and authorative correction in showing the lessons to be learnt from second chambers overseas in the balanced, analytical and highly readable manner that the Constitution Unit has made its trademark. (Roger Scully, Representation)

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The State and the Nations: The First Year of Devolution in the United Kingdom
The State and the Nations: The First Year of Devolution in the United Kingdom

Edited by Robert Hazell

The chapters in this book cover the first year of devolution in the UK, bringing together the fruits of a major five-year research programme funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The programme comprises 11 research projects, underpinned by a regular series of monitoring reports, written by teams of experts in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. As a volume of record this book is an essential up-to-date text for courses in constitutional law or the UK political system.

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Constitutional Futures: A History of the Next Ten Years
Constitutional Futures: A History of the Next Ten Years

Edited by Robert Hazell (OUP, February 1999)

This book sets out to forecast what the UK’s constitution will look like in ten years’ time. Starting with the 11 constitutional Bills passed in 1997-98, the book analyses how these will affect the UK’s constitutional structure, and examines in detail the further reforms that will be required to ensure that the new constitutional settlement beds down.

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