A new Magna Carta? - Political and Constitutional Reform Contents

Part II

Three Illustrative Blueprints



1  The series of three illustrative blueprints, of which this is the first (Constitutional Code), has been prepared in the belief that a consideration of detailed alternative models on how a codified constitution might be designed and drafted will better inform and advance the debate on the desirability - or not - of writing down the constitution into one documentary source.

2  The characteristics of the three blueprints or models of codified constitution, stated briefly, are -

(a)  Constitutional Code - a document sanctioned by Parliament but without statutory authority, setting out the essential existing elements and principles of the constitution and workings of government.

(b)  Constitutional Consolidation Act - a consolidation of existing laws of a constitutional nature in statute, the common law and parliamentary practice, together with a codification of essential constitutional conventions.

(c)  Written Constitution - a document of basic law by which the United Kingdom is governed, including the relationship between the state and its citizens, an amendment procedure, and elements of reform.

3  Each of the blueprints is self-contained in the sense that each could serve as a particular model for codifying the constitution. Taken together, however, they could be regarded as three stages or building blocks to go through in the process of working towards a written constitution of the UK - identifying the basic principles and elements of government and the constitution; establishing the detailed contents and boundaries of existing constitutional law as expressed in statute, the common law, parliamentary practice, and convention; then preparing a modern documentary constitution of fundamental law that binds the working of the state and its relationship with its citizens.

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© Parliamentary copyright 2014
Prepared 10 July 2014