To what extent has British constitution been effectively reformed since 1997

Topics: United Kingdom, Parliament of the United Kingdom, House of Lords Pages: 2 (842 words) Published: January 4, 2015
To what extent has British constitution been effectively reformed since 1997?

There have been many reforms to the British Constitution since 1997, including changes to the House of Lords and Commons, the Human Rights Act, Fixed-term Parliaments and Devolution. However, the effectiveness of these reforms is arguable. Some of these reforms have not been fully made, or have not achieved intended results.

Modernization is one of the key ways in which the British constitution has been reformed since 1997. Under this falls the House of Lords reform. This reform entailed the 600 hereditary peers of the House of Lords being cut to just 92, allowing the second chamber to be much more democratic. However this is the only part of the reform which has taken place over the last 13 years, and there has been no reform for a fully elected second house – something that would be extremely beneficial to British politics. Until an elected House of Lords is achieved, the second chamber is not democratically legitimate, as the people or representative does not appoint it. Due to this, many consider the House of Lords extremely unaccountable and a massive flaw in Parliament. However, the creation of the Supreme Court means that the House of Lords is no longer the highest court of appeal, meaning that the currently unelected House of Lords is not as much of a problem. A way in which modernization has been effective is in reforms to the way the House of Commons is run; the increase in use of Westminster Hall for debates, the publication of bills two weeks in advance to increase scrutiny and the changes to Prime Minister’s Question Time. The latter reforms have in fact strengthened the UK constitution, in contrast to the reform to the House of Lords, which was essentially ineffective.

Furthermore, the British Constitution has adopted the European Union’s Human Rights Act in order to ensure that rights are fair. However, the human rights act is only semi-entrenched due to...
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