The latest edition of Monitor, the Unit’s regular news update on constitutional issues, was published today. In this lead article from Monitor 78, Meg Russell and Alan Renwick discuss the continuing uncertainty about the future of the Union, government plans to change how and when we elect our political leaders, the rolling disputes about the Northern Ireland Protocol, plans to rebalance the constitution and reform the judiciary, and the increasingly relevant debate about ministerial standards.
There has been no sign of let up in the pace or breadth of constitutional developments since the last edition of Monitor in March. Voters across Great Britain went to the polls in a bumper crop of elections in May (following cancellation of last year’s round due to COVID-19). In the Queen’s Speech a few days later, the government promised several major constitutional bills.
Two overarching themes have dominated: significant uncertainty about the future of the UK Union; and pressing concerns around the risk of democratic backsliding – associated with declining constitutional standards and a weakening of checks and balances. Both themes were explored in depth at a major online conference on the Johnson government’s constitutional reform agenda co-organised by the Unit in June.Continue reading