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Radical departure or opportunity not taken? The Johnson government's Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission

Schleiter, Petra; Fleming, Thomas G; (2022) Radical departure or opportunity not taken? The Johnson government's Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission. British Politics 10.1057/s41293-022-00206-x. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In its 2019 manifesto, Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party pledged a Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission, to consider far-reaching constitutional change. This appeared to signal a radical departure from UK precedent in approaching constitutional reform. In this paper, we examine the Johnson government’s initial proposals and subsequent actions, placing them in comparative context and contrasting them with UK precedent. We show that the government’s explicit pledge to appoint a single Commission to develop the reforms along with its emphasis on restoring public trust in politics through the constitutional reform process, reflected several internationally recognized principles and models for constitutional reform. In practice, however, the government abandoned these potentially radical procedural ambitions, and instead appointed several issue-specific elite-led reviews. We argue that the government’s procedural approach has so far closely followed recent UK precedent, and that the Commission turned out to be an opportunity not taken rather than the radical departure that initially seemed possible.

Type: Article
Title: Radical departure or opportunity not taken? The Johnson government's Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1057/s41293-022-00206-x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41293-022-00206-x
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: Constitutional reform; Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission; Executive–legislative relations; Judicial reform; Human rights; Prerogative powers
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10146914
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