5 Conclusion |
93. We welcome the Government's commitment to
constitutional reform and renewal, and its desire to restore public
trust in Parliament and the political process more broadly. The
Government, however, must take this opportunity to complete the
"unfinished business" of its previous attempts at constitutional
reform, particularly in relation to the House of Lords, and in
relation to the governance of England which remains in a pre-devolution
94. The Government's approach to constitutional
reform has been ad hoc and piecemeal. Constitutional reform will
determine the direction and nature of our core institutions for
generations to come. It is imperative that we get this right.
It must be done properly.
95. Further reform must therefore be underpinned
by a set of constitutional principles based on a proper understanding
of the position and role of Parliament in relation to the other
institutions of state. Individual reforms cannot be treated in
isolation, so must be considered both in relation to each other
and in the context of this set of principles. The Democratic Renewal
Council should prioritise the clarification of constitutional
principles and their strategic and consistent implementation through
its proposals for reform.
96. Without the strategic implementation of constitutional
principles, proposals for change can have unintended and unforeseen
constitutional consequences and risk the creation of a constitutional
imbalance. The Parliamentary Standards Bill, as originally presented
to the Commons, provides a stark illustration of this.
97. In order to avoid these dangers, the Government
must allow sufficient time for adequate and thorough consultation
with the public and with Parliament on constitutional change.
It is essential that the process for reform is transparent, considered
and appropriate. If this is not achieved, not only will the legitimacy
of the specific reforms be undermined, but the Government will
also risk the further alienation of the publicpotentially
worsening the crisis that it is seeking to resolve.