“Constitutional Reform Since 1997 Has Not Gone Far Enough” Discuss

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“Constitutional reform since 1997 has not gone far enough” discuss

In 1997 the Labour government came to power, with Tony Blair as Prime Minister (later Gordon Brown 2007 - 2010). During their time in office the Labour party made a series of constitutional reforms, this was due to the fact that the constitution had areas that needed modifying; this was achieved by increasing democracy, decentralisation and individual rights. However there are still parts of the constitution that could be improved.

Labour’s first major reform to the UK constitution was the introduction of the Human Rights Act (1998). This act has safeguarded rights such as the right to life and the right to a fair trial. Prior to this act, our human rights were just included in common law, which can be easily changed. And so, this constitutional reform was a major step forward. However, this reform was incomplete as a new bill of rights and duties was proposed, but no legislation was put forward by the Government. And so, it can be seen that although there was a change to the UK constitution, the lack of an entrenched bill of human rights shows that the reform did not go far enough.

In 1999 Labour reformed the House of Lords; Labour removed 600 hereditary peers and reduced it to only 92 hereditary Lords in the House of Lords. However, the labor government did propose a system of “elected peers”, where the public could choose peers to sit in the House of Lords. This proposal was never fully implemented into the UK constitution. Until this proposal is full entrenched it is argued that the Lords are not democratically legitimate as all policy making institutions must have legitimacy. Therefore, there is much that can be done towards constitutional reform.

Another one of Labour’s reforms to the UK was the devolution act. In Labour’s manifesto they said that they would address the issues of devolution and making the country more democratic. When Labour got into office they...
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