Adam Tomkins

in The Oxford Handbook of British Politics

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199230952
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations


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This article reviews the nature of the British constitution, exploring its unusual ‘unwritten’ form, and presenting an account of its main substantive components. It also addresses a range of challenges which the contemporary constitution faces and argues throughout that the constitution is currently undergoing a profound transformation from being a largely parliamentary or political constitution to being a mainly legal or juridical order in which the courts will play a markedly expanded role, unprecedented in British constitutional history. It specifically outlines ‘Europe’ and New Labour's constitutional reforms. The present time is one of rapid and in many cases significant constitutional change in Britain, change which in some instances the Blair/Brown New Labour governments either caused or contributed to but which in other instances stems from different sources not altogether within the government's control.

Keywords: British constitution; British constitutional history; Europe; New Labour; constitutional reforms; constitutionalism

Article.  11433 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; UK Politics ; Politics and Law

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