Constitutional Reform Since 1997 Has Not Gone Far Enough. Discuss

1093 words - 5 pages

Constitutional reform since 1997 has not gone far enough. Discuss.

I believe that constitutional reform since 1997, ultimately has not gone far enough in the UK. Such reforms in the UK, including the House of Lords Act 1999 took reform in Westminster to quite a large extent, but this has be limited by a few factors. In addition, the Human Right Act 1998 was another significant reform under the Blair government allowing citizens clearer light on their rights and freedoms, however this Act of Parliament is not entrenched within the UK’s constitution. The electoral system has also been subject to interpretation under constitutional reform such as PR systems used for Scottish Parliament and ...view middle of the document...

This new addition to the constitution provided citizens a clearer outlook on their rights and freedoms as previously there was much confusion over people’s civil liberties in society. Furthering its importance was the fact that it provided some checks over executive power in government. However, the Human Rights Act is not an entrenched law and can be removed through Parliament as it still holds ultimate sovereignty in the constitution. This was highlighted when Theresa May in 2013 at the Conservative Party Conference looked to repeal the Human Rights Act for easier anti-terrorism measures, such as the issues on extradition of suspected terrorist Abu Qatada. Some, such as the Liberal Democrats stress for an entrenched Bill of Rights to address this problem.
Another significant reform was the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This act of Parliament allowed for citizens to request information from government and other public bodies. This was a fundamental piece of legislation in constitutional reform which allows for a more open and transparent, and therefore more democratic. The Freedom of Information Act was put in place to release information in the MPs expenses scandal, which was vital for transparency and ensured that the changes were necessary for the public’s interest. Despite the FOA’s advantages, it can be argued that this act had not gone far enough as the government are able to refuse information on the grounds of national security meaning they still possess loopholes and that the act has not been fully extended to the public’s benefit. In addition to this, the general public, essentially have problems requesting information as they’re simply unclear on how to access, so measures it can be argued have not gone far enough for the FOA.
A further important area of constitutional reform is the devolution of powers within the UK. Powers have devolved through the formation of the Welsh and N.Irish assemblies and the Scottish Parliament in 1998, along with devolved powers through the local and city mayoral positions. Devolution allows for the devolved bodies to dictate national policy on areas such as education, health and the economy, and overall, give individual authority over more localised policy in the UK. Though there are few...

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