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


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...

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