Civil service being subjected to excessive political pressure over Brexit

As investigations focus in on the likely leaker of the Darroch memos, the wider ramifications are now under scrutiny. It is now being suggested that the leaking was politically motivated by those seeking to establish in Washington a British ambassador more clearly sympathetic to both Trump’s and Brexiters’ policies. Coming in the midst of a leadership contest thought likely to install a pro-Trump Hard Brexiter, the implications are considerable. At … Read more

Can a No Deal Tory government be formed and will it last long?

With the election of a hard-Brexit supporting Tory leader, the question arises as to whether he will be able to form a government and how long it will last. In particular Johnson has refused to rule out a No Deal Brexit by 31 October and certain of his party have said that in that case they would vote to bring his government down. Two constitutionalists have said that he might … Read more

Brexit puts the UK constitution under massive strain

The Brexit crisis have underlined a number of serious issues about our unwritten constitution and even the viability of the British state. Arguably our current constitutional arrangements don’t cater effectively for certain problems raised by Brexit, but for which some mechanism or point of ultimate reference is badly needed to prevent abuse of power. One  such case is the role of the monarchy. We arguably do not have effective government … Read more

Brexit has led to a power struggle between Parliament and the Executive

What is essentially a power struggle between Parliament and the executive over Brexit has moved centre stage. Yesterday the government was defeated on the motion to hold the UK Government in contempt of Parliament, over its refusal to fully publish its legal advice on the deal. This in itself was a rare but very significant shift in the balance of power between the two arms of government in Britain’s unwritten … Read more

The Parliamentary vote on Brexit risks a constitutional crisis and instability

“Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”. Whichever way the crisis over Brexit this winter may go, there may be no real winners and a whole lot of anger. Not surprisingly, many people in Britain are very fearful of what may occur. The crisis in the UK over Brexit is moving inexorably towards its climax, a potential constitutional crisis. On 11th December, after a 5-day debate, the House … Read more

The 2016 UK referendum poses important questions for democracy

The 2016 Brexit UK referendum has thrown Britain into an unpredented political and constitutional crisis which now threatens to engulf it. To ask whether holding the referendum was the best decision in the circumstances risks inviting political controversy, so embroiled in a bitterly divisive conflict has the issue become. Thus the political observer is treading over volatile territory. However, if we take a step back and look at the health … Read more

Avoiding the slow-motion Brexit train crash

The slow motion train crash that is Brexit is gradually speeding up as the deadline for an agreement with the EU gets closer and yet the political situation in the UK remains deadlocked. May’s government has, after months of wrangling between ministers, finally produced a White Paper of an outline of a proposal for a trade negotiation with the EU, only to see it widely criticised as either unworkable or … Read more

Brexit plunges the UK into a constitutional crisis

As was to be expected, the UK is now embroiled in a constitutional crisis over the government’s plan to negotiate its departure from the EU. On 3 November 2016 the UK High Court ruled that the UK government cannot activate the Article 50 process to leave the European Union without Parliamentary approval. In doing so it asserted a fundamental principle of the UK’s unwritten constitution, that Parliament is sovereign. This … Read more

The murder of Jo Cox is a wake-up call for our political culture

The MP Jo Cox was by all accounts one who was very kind, devoted and compassionate, the epitome of the conscientious MP that is a model of an elected public servant. And she happened to support Remain. Yet on Thursday she was murdered while going about her constituency business. The main suspect seems to have had far-right leanings, although this has yet to be proved. This tells us something very … Read more

The great Scottish Nationalist wipe-out is a paradigm shift

The massive poll leads for the Scottish National Party (SNP) reported recently offers to change everything politically north of the border post the 2015 general election. It will be the great Scottish Nationalist wipe-out of their opponents which has been predicted since the 1970’s and now possible due to the dynamics of the 2014 independence referendum and the consequences of the 2008 financial crash. The SNP probably rightly senses that … Read more