Coalition and constitution: a laboratory for change? (13 January 2011)

Coalition and constitution: a laboratory for change?

13 January 2011, 2.00 – 5.00, followed by a reception


In 1997 constitutional reform was heralded as a priority for the incoming New Labour government. Reforms over the succeeding years included devolution to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the removal of most hereditary peers from the House of Lords, the Human Rights Act, the Freedom of Information Act and the establishment of the Supreme Court. Even so, by 2010 it was felt by many that the reforms were incomplete.

In turn the Coalition government formed in May 2010 has made further constitutional change a major part of its programme for government. Shifts already underway include the introduction of fixed-term parliaments, a reduction in the number of MPs and an attempted equalization of the number of voters per parliamentary constituency. A national referendum will be held on using the Alternative Vote system for parliamentary elections. Future possible changes include directly elected mayors for all the largest English cities (subject to referendums) and a wholly or partially elected House of Lords.

This conference will assess the constitutional legacy of New Labour and the context for the constitutional programme of the Coalition. What will be the shape of our future constitution?


2.00 – 3.15:
Opening Remarks
Graham Allen MP, Chair, House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee

New Labour’s Constitutional Legacy
Prof. Stanley Henig, The Federal Trust 

3.15 – 3.30: Coffee/Tea

3.30 – 5.00:

“England does not love coalitions”
Prof. Vernon Bogdanor, Visting Professor, Centre for Political and Constitutional Studies, King’s College London 

The Cabinet Manual: A Constitutional Landmark?
Dr Andrew Blick, The Federal Trust

If you would like to attend this event, please reply to Ulrike Rüb-Taylor via email on [email protected] or ring 020 7320 3045.

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