Consultation on A new Magna Carta? - Political and Constitutional Reform Contents

Appendix 1: Winning entries in the Committee's competition to find a preamble for a written constitution for the UK

Winner in the Open category: Richard Elliott

United, we stand in celebration of the diverse voices that make up the great chorus of our nation. Confident in our individuality, and steadfast in our shared values and common purpose, we—the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland—have come together in the spirit of self-determination in order to establish the principles of our law and governance.

By this act, we create for ourselves a sovereign state, animated by many spirits, accountable to all. Conscious of the responsibility that we bear to future generations—and of their role in defending and regenerating this Constitution—we lay down maxims crafted to promote civic harmony, mutual tolerance, universal wellbeing, and social and political freedom.

We embody these ideas in democratic government, and enshrine them in a system of law. And we empower each citizen to reform this design, by democratic process and political debate. By popular mandate, we establish this Constitution:

—  To recognise every citizen as an equal partner in government—at a local, regional, and national level.

—  To affirm that each citizen is entitled to fair and equitable treatment under the law.

—  To establish the principle of equality of opportunity for all citizens.

—  To eradicate poverty and want throughout the nation.

—  To protect and cultivate community identities within the four great countries of the union: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

—  To preserve our common environment, and to hold it in trust for future generations.

—  To safeguard freedom of thought, conscience, and assembly; and to facilitate peaceable dissent.

—  And to protect these fundamental rights against the encroachment of tyranny and the abdication of reason.

Through this undertaking, we remind one another of the benefits and duties of citizenship enshrined in membership of the United Kingdom, challenging ourselves to enact these principles throughout society.

Let our example stand as an inspiration to the peoples of the world, and to their rulers and their governments.

Let our principles animate our dedication to peace and justice in international affairs.

And let our united resolve grow ever-stronger under the enlightened auspices of this Constitution.

Joint winners in the under-18 category: Harrison Engler and Jake Kennedy

Entry by Harrison Engler:

We, the citizens of the sovereign state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, henceforth hold this Constitution to be the written embodiment of the previously un-codified Constitution, made up of ancient common law, ordinary statutes, conventions and traditions.

For reasons to be explained, we now feel it necessary to entrench and codify our constitutional principles and protections, so they are amended only by the special constitutional process afforded to higher law, which will hereby be made judiciable by the state.

The constitution shall determine the nature of elections to a representative House of Commons and the makeup of the House of Lords, as well as the practice by which constitutional sovereignty can be exercised through the Supreme Court in order to challenge authority and protect the citizens of this liberal, free democracy.

The Constitution beneath will confirm the basic principle of the rule of law, strengthen the legitimate rights of the people represented by an effective Parliament and strongly defined devolved institutions.

The constitution will limit the extent to which citizens' rights are threatened by other citizens or by Parliament's power, which is limited by this Constitution, and subject to the Supreme Court's judicial interpretations, in order to protect the human rights laid out within this document, which shall have superior authority over all other priorities of state- the people's parliament must aim to protect individual freedoms and privileges, as far as possible without threatening the collective and individual rights of citizens.

Furthermore, the constitution shall lay out the functions, limits of, and relationship between, different state bodies defined within, including the sovereign, judiciary, government and the bodies associated, and finally, our representative parliament, which shall continue to function and be fully committed to the advancement of the people of this nation, who make up the aforementioned parliament, in all forms.

The words above define the fundamental values and principles of the citizens for whom this charter is written and shall be enshrined within this document, and given authority through royal assent, and the necessary super-majorities of Parliament and citizens, through a legally binding plebiscite.

Entry by Jake Kennedy:

We the citizens of Her Majesty's United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, hereby declare this document legally binding, which outlines the rights of us citizens, and the power of government.

This document will protect and enshrine in law the following principles, key to our modern democratic nation:

1. A system of checks and balances, through a system of separation of powers between the various branches of government, whereby each branch is accountable to the others, but also to the citizens through the election process, which would grant suffrage to all over 18, all with the goal of protecting the citizens from tyranny.

2. The protection of the natural rights of any and all citizens, without discrimination.

3. That each and every citizen is entitled to protection from harm, provided by the state, and where the state fails, a due process of law to resolve it.

4. To ensure this, that the principle of the rule of law is upheld, in order to give fair protection to all citizens, without discrimination.

5. The establishment of the three branches of government in a way that benefits the citizens. The executive and legislature being set up in respect of one another in their sharing of powers, and that the judiciary is wholly independent so as to check the other branches of government effectively.

6. The principle of devolution and the continued existence of the devolved bodies that currently exist within the United Kingdom, in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Greater London.

With these key principles upheld and enshrined, the Constitution that follows will achieve the goal of upholding our modern democratic nation's key values, and ensuring that society will continue to flourish, and all citizens without discrimination have the ability to do so also.

As such we the citizens of the United Kingdom do declare that the following document and any future amendments will form the constitution that will govern our nation and us the citizens.

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Prepared 9 March 2015