The Changing of Britain's Constitution in the Twenty First Century

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The Changing of Britain's Constitution in the Twenty First Century Introduction: Tony Blair's inception as Prime Minister in May 1997 prompted constitutional change due to manifesto commitment. Labour's first term introduced the first wave of alterations to the traditional document. Subsequently the return of the Labour government in June 2001 heralds a second wave of changes to the British constitution. I believe that the onset of this century will introduce a new phase for the British constitution as 'the momentum continues' (Hazell et al., 2000, 260). This is why I have chosen to investigate such a topic, as it is so relevant on the contemporary stage. A constitution is a body of fundamental laws of a state, which lays down the system of government and serves to define the relations of the legislature, executive and judiciary to each other and the citizen. The UK constitution does not exist as a single document but as an amassment of customs and precedents, together with laws defining certain aspects. In the essay I am going to focus on changing spheres which I believe will influence most upon the constitution. My first focus will be Europe, as it covers such a wealth of potential to modify the constitution. Europe acts as a supranational body on Britain and has assent over some British legislation. Subsisting under the umbrella of the European Union (E.U.) has certainly impinged upon the British constitution in the twentieth century and will continue to do so. Some parts of Europe have suggested a European super state with a federal organisation, which essentially challenges the unitary notion of which the constitution exa... ... middle of paper ... ... Johnson, N. 2000. "Taking Stock of Constitutional Reform," Government and Opposition. 36 (3): 331-354. Norton, P. 2001. The British Polity, 4th Edition, London: Longman. Norton, P. 1991. "The Constitution in Flux," in B. Jones et al. eds., Politics UK. Hemel Hempstead: Philip Allan. Studlar, D.T. 1999. "Unwritten rules: Britain's constitutional revolution," Harvard International Review. 21 (2): 48-52. Tempest, M. 2002. "Straw outlines E.U. reform plans," February 21 2002. The Guardian. Http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/o,4273,4360504,00.html Wadham, J. 2002. "Terror law takes liberties," 10 March 2002. The Observer, p. 2. Waugh, P. and S. Castle. 2000. "Europe hits back over Blair's tax stance," 13 December 2000. The Independent. http://www. independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=19104.

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