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To What Extent Has The British Constitution Been Effectively Reformed Since 1997?

859 words - 4 pages

The new Labour government took power in 1997 began to reform the British constitution, introducing the Human rights act, Devolution and some reform of the House of Lords among other less important changes. Unfortunately Labour did not complete those reforms and a great deal was left undone. The question since then is how much has the constitution been reformed and how positive effect these reforms have had.
There is no doubt that the HRA has transformed Britain. It created a means by which government and other bodies could be prevented from abusing our rights. The courts were given powers to enforce rights. This has meant that we now have more privacy and have the right to be treated ...view middle of the document...

However, it soon seems that more powers will be devolved to Wales and Scotland with the success of such political parties such as Plaid Cymru in the Welsh assembly and the SNP in the Scottish parliament.
The reform of the HOL by removing all but 92 of the hereditary peers had some impact. This was effective as it made the HOL less undemocratic but it did not make it any more democratic. Therefore if we are to truly have an effective second chamber it will need to be elected and therefore accountable, many would argue. As the creation of the supreme court which has no more power than the old HOL. Therefore it does not have more ability to effectively control government power. Thus the judges cannot overturn what parliament legislates and so they are very limited.
However, some reforms were not made at all. As for example, Labour promised to introduce proportional representation for general elections but it dropped this proposal when it came to power. Thus we are still operating with an outdated electoral system that was to preserve the two party system and give too much power to government. As PR was introduced in devolved governments but not at Westminster. So the plans to have more control over the two main parties have not been effective. As similarly we have still not seen an effective reformation of the HOL.
The reformation of the prerogative powers of the prime minister was proposed by Brown but nothing was done and we still operate under the old system where the PM has to have a great...

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