‘The UK constitution is no longer fit for purpose’. Discuss. (40 marks)
A constitution is the concept that a political system is governed by a constitution and that political institutions are bound by constitutional rules which are binding. In the UK, we have an uncodified constitution, which is a set of constitutional rules that exist, but are not contained in a single document. Thus the rules do not have one single source, but a myriad of different sources. It also implies that constitutional rules are not entrenched or safeguarded and therefore can be changed by parliament.
Its flexibility arising from its uncodified, unentrenched nature, means it can adapt to circumstances. This was shown clearly when the May 2010 election produced an indecisive result. There were no fixed constitutional rules to deal with the circumstances that emerged. The Cabinet Secretary, Gus O’Donnell, had drawn up some draft procedures for the possibility of a hung parliament. His plan worked well and the new coalition government was installed with relatively little disruption or conflict. This emphasises that the British constitution can be easily changed to react to changing circumstances i.e. it is pragmatic, because it is neither codified nor entrenched. Thus, the UK constitution is fit for purposes as it allows for a pragmatic and adaptable society.
The UK constitution is highly traditional and has stood the test of time. The fact that Britain th
has never suffered a violent revolution or major political unrest since the Civil war in the 17
century suggests that the constitution has enduring qualities. In addition, it contains traditional elements such as the House of Lords and the monarchy; helping to maintain public support for the ...
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