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The New British Constitution


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Table of Contents

PART I: THE OLD CONSTITUTION 1 A Peculiar Constitution 2 The Old Constitution Under Strain PART II: THE NEW CONSTITUTION 3 The Human Rights Act: Cornerstone of the New Constitution 4 Devolution 5 Hung Parliaments: Governing without a Majority 6 A Reformed House of Lords 7 The Referendum 8 The New Government of London 9 Towards a Written Constitution? PART III: BEYOND THE NEW CONSTITUTION 10 A New Localism? 11 The Constitutional State 12 Towards a Popular Constitutional State: Democracy and Participation

About the Author

Vernon Bogdanor, CBE, Fellow of Brasenose College, is Professor of Government at Oxford University, Gresham Professor of Law, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. He has been an adviser to a number of governments, including those of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Israel and Slovakia. His books include The People and the Party System, Multi-Party Politics and the Constitution, Power and the People, and Devolution in the United Kingdom. He is a frequent contributor to TV, radio and the press and is a sometime special advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities (1982-83), and the House of Commons Public Service Committee. Most recently he was awarded the Sir Isiaiah Berlin prize for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies by the Political Studies Association.


This is a beautifully written book, the language as clear as the thinking, and it could not be more timely. The Economist 25th June 2009 This book is written with a vigorous clarity, with easy expertise and with quiet wit. Bogdanor is himself a part of the constitution, an unacknowledged legislator: the book is a revelation. More, it is a reproach to journalism, that we have not more clearly explained a great shift of the past decade. He has. John Lloyd The Financial Times 28th June 2009 Bogdanor's book is a practical analysis of the British Constitution. Its appeal is certainly not limited to lawyers or political historians. The is an engaging, clear and timely read for all. The book comes at a time when both the government and the opposition are talking widely about a bill of rights, and this is a must-read for anyone interested in the startling constitutional changes proposed by the parties. Sangeetha Lengar The JUSTICE Journal Volume 6, Number 2 ...[Vernon Bogdanor] is well informed, subtle and immensely thorough. This is not just a book to read, it is one to keep on the shelf for reference. Anyone remotely interested in the constitution, including all the main party leaders, should certainly acquire a copy...The New British Constitution is a formidable and invaluable achievement... Anthony King Times Higher Education 13 August 2009 ...provides a fresh and reflective account of democratic change...despite the efforts of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown public opinion polls and attitudinal surveys reveal declining levels of public trust in politicians and confidence in the political system. It is exactly in explaining, understanding and responding to this puzzle - major constitutional reform combined with the erosion of public support - that The New British Constitution provides a provocative and original answer. Matthew Flinders Vernon Bogdanor offers a fresh insight into the substantial, and still largely underappreciated, changes to the British constitution. He combines the approaches of the political historian, the constitutional lawyer and the political scientist to put the changes into a wider context. It is a must read for anyone interested in British politics. Peter Riddell, The Times This masterly survey charts the rise of the 'New' constitution and expertly explains both how it works and why it matters. Bogdanor is Dicey and Bagehot rolled into one for the twenty-first century Guy Lodge, Institute for Public Policy Research Vernon Bogdanor's The New British Constitution is a timely work...Bogdanor has set himself an ambitious target in writing this book; he is inviting comparison with the great late Victorian analysts - and advocates - of the old constitution of untrammelled parliamentary sovereignty, Bagehot and Dicey. He is worthy of the comparison. The book is an illuminating guide to quite how much of what we used to know about the British constitution has ceased to be applicable in a comparatively short time...One of Bogdanor's similarities with Bagehot (although he is a better scholar by far) is that he writes with an unusual clarity. Lewis Baston Progress 24th July 2009 The British Constitution is a mysterious, ramshackle and amorphous beast. Because much of it has never been written down, some people even claim that it doesn't exist. But in hunting this Snark through the thickets of legislation and tradition, there can be no more doughty guide than Vernon Bogdanor...[a] timely and indeed prescient book. Alison Thomas Public Servant July 2009 If David Cameron becomes Prime Minister... he should read the thoughts of the Oxford tutor who explained it all to him when he was a student twenty years ago. The Times Literary Supplement September 2nd 2009 The scholarship and clarity is impressive.You will look long and hard for as complete a resume of what has been done... as an analysis of changes which may or may not have a direction but which have certainly changed Bagehot's settlement, this is an important book. Total Politics September 2009 ...this work provides a thorough dissection of contemporary political and constitutional issues that merit careful consideration...the book will interest scholars in the field of British constitutional history: past, present, and future. Richard A. Cosgrove The Law and Politics Book Review Vol 19, Issue 10, October 2009 Bogdanor's book provides a fascinating insight into the constitution that many of us may have thought we didn't have. What makes it successful is Bogdanor's easy ability to make these issues interesting, real and relevant...The clarity Bogdanor brings to the UK's current constitutional halfway house will, for many, be a political and social revelation. The New British Constitution also undoubtedly provides a strong basis for discussion of future change. Simon Moore Public Service Magazine Autumn 2009 ...this is an impressive wo

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