The constitution by topic

Constitution includes the following topic areas. Please click the links to access lists of publications by topic:

Devolution

  • Calls for a UK-wide constitutional commission

    Since devolution in the UK in the late 1990s, intergovernmental relations (IGR) have been necessary for joint decision-making on areas of shared responsibility and for dispute resolution. The political and institutional structures that support IGR have been evolving since this time. However, there have been calls for a UK-wide constitutional commission to examine the relationships and arrangements between the four nations of the UK.

    Calls for a UK-wide constitutional commission
  • Queen’s Speech 2022: Brexit—Retained EU law and the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

    The Government is planning to make significant changes to the legal status of retained EU law and the post-Brexit regulatory landscape. This would be through a ‘Brexit Freedoms Bill’ and standalone legislation in areas such as procurement and data protection. There is also speculation the Government may introduce a bill to override parts of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Brexit—Retained EU law and the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland
  • Queen’s Speech 2022: Devolved affairs

    The Government has argued that devolution has “empowered communities” and provided “huge benefits across the United Kingdom”. Its stated aim is to continue to collaborate with the devolved administrations, “work[ing] together to deliver for the British people”. This article discusses some of the key issues in devolved affairs that may be addressed in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Devolved affairs
View all briefings on devolution

Elections

  • Political opinion polls: Should there be greater oversight?

    The House of Lords Liaison Committee has updated the findings of an earlier ad hoc Lords committee on the issues arising for UK politics from political opinion polling. The Liaison Committee welcomed recent advances in polling techniques and information prepared by the polling industry on how to interpret polls. However, it concluded that the case for greater oversight of polling remained a matter for debate.

    Political opinion polls: Should there be greater oversight?
  • Impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland on recent political developments in Northern Ireland

    Amid ongoing objections to the protocol from unionist parties, Northern Ireland’s First Minister recently resigned. This followed an attempt by the Minister for Agriculture, currently subject to legal challenge, to halt checks required by the protocol on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain. This article considers the Government’s assessment of the protocol’s impact on recent political developments in Northern Ireland ahead of a debate in the House of Lords.

    Impact of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland on recent political developments in Northern Ireland
  • UK support for democracy in Taiwan

    The Government has described Taiwan as a stable and vibrant democracy, and an important economic partner. However, in the context of the complex relationship between Taiwan and mainland China, the UK does not formally recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state. The Government has called for a peaceful resolution to tensions between Taiwan and mainland China through constructive dialogue by both sides.

    UK support for democracy in Taiwan
View all briefings on elections

Government

  • International Agreements Committee report on improving the framework for the parliamentary scrutiny of treaties

    In September 2021, the House of Lords International Agreements Committee published a report on its experiences scrutinising agreements under the current statutory framework for treaty scrutiny. Among its recommendations, the committee called for government commitments on scrutiny working practices made since April 2020 to be consolidated in a formal concordat. The committee also asked the government to commit to giving it more notice of both treaties set to be laid before Parliament and significant other agreements.

    International Agreements Committee report on improving the framework for the parliamentary scrutiny of treaties
  • Political opinion polls: Should there be greater oversight?

    The House of Lords Liaison Committee has updated the findings of an earlier ad hoc Lords committee on the issues arising for UK politics from political opinion polling. The Liaison Committee welcomed recent advances in polling techniques and information prepared by the polling industry on how to interpret polls. However, it concluded that the case for greater oversight of polling remained a matter for debate.

    Political opinion polls: Should there be greater oversight?
  • Queen’s Speech 2022: Devolved affairs

    The Government has argued that devolution has “empowered communities” and provided “huge benefits across the United Kingdom”. Its stated aim is to continue to collaborate with the devolved administrations, “work[ing] together to deliver for the British people”. This article discusses some of the key issues in devolved affairs that may be addressed in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Devolved affairs
View all briefings on government

Local government

  • Queen’s Speech 2022: Levelling up, housing and communities

    Ahead of the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022, this article examines the Government’s policy commitments on levelling up, housing and communities. This includes the measures found in the levelling up white paper, which aimed to reduce geographical inequalities across the UK. It also discusses the Government’s plans to bring forward legislation on social housing, the rental market and leaseholds.

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Levelling up, housing and communities
  • Levelling up: plans for the South West of England

    Research has shown that the UK is one of the most geographically unequal countries in the developed world. Addressing these inequalities by ‘levelling up’ is a priority for the Government. This article examines inequalities in the south-west of England, the Government’s strategy to address them and the reaction to these plans.

    Levelling up: plans for the South West of England
  • Removal of coronavirus restrictions

    The Government has ended the legal requirements around self-isolation for people who test positive for coronavirus. It has also removed the pandemic-related power for local authorities to restrict certain gatherings. The regulations to effect these changes are scheduled to be debated in the House of Lords on 14 March 2022. The Liberal Democrats have tabled a regret motion that is due to be debated on 17 March 2022.

    Removal of coronavirus restrictions
View all briefings on local government

Parliament

  • International Agreements Committee report on improving the framework for the parliamentary scrutiny of treaties

    In September 2021, the House of Lords International Agreements Committee published a report on its experiences scrutinising agreements under the current statutory framework for treaty scrutiny. Among its recommendations, the committee called for government commitments on scrutiny working practices made since April 2020 to be consolidated in a formal concordat. The committee also asked the government to commit to giving it more notice of both treaties set to be laid before Parliament and significant other agreements.

    International Agreements Committee report on improving the framework for the parliamentary scrutiny of treaties
  • Queen’s Speech 2022: Devolved affairs

    The Government has argued that devolution has “empowered communities” and provided “huge benefits across the United Kingdom”. Its stated aim is to continue to collaborate with the devolved administrations, “work[ing] together to deliver for the British people”. This article discusses some of the key issues in devolved affairs that may be addressed in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Devolved affairs
  • Queen’s Speech 2022: Constitution

    The Queen’s Speech is taking place on 10 May 2022. This will set out the Government’s legislative and policy programme for the new parliamentary session. This briefing provides a summary of legislative proposals concerning the constitution and other announcements that may be included in the speech.

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Constitution
View all briefings on parliament