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To what extent have constitutional reforms since 1997 reduced the powers of the UK government

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Introduction

To what extent have constitutional reforms since 1997 reduced the powers of the UK government? 40 marks Plan * Go through all Blair constitutional reforms and evaluate how they have affected the powers of UK government * Go over devolution regarding all governments since 1997 * Go through all Brown constitutional reforms and evaluate how they have affected the powers of UK government * Go through all coalition constitutional reforms and evaluate how they have affected the powers of UK government To what extent have constitutional reforms since 1997 reduced the powers of the UK government? 40 marks Governments since 1997 have gone thorough huge amounts of constitutional reform, including devolution, the human rights act, powers to the European Union (EU) and many others. However there has been a fierce argument whether this has reduced the power of the UK government, this has also been a big issue with the public and at the 2010 election the conservative party won support by arguing that the New Labour government (1997-2010) gave to many powers away and they would fight to claim them back. ...read more.

Middle

This is seen by some as taking power away from the UK government and into the new committee. Some argue that it would be very hard for a government to pass a bill if it did not comply with the act. However some have argued that the act has not reduced the powers of the UK government at all. They argue that unlike in Germany and the US judges were not given the power to annul Westminster legislation that was found to breach the Human Rights act. Judges can only issue a 'declaration of incompatibility' which only means parliament have to consider the judges verdict, they can still easily override it, which takes no power away from the UK government. People also argue the Joint Committee on Human Rights have no real power as they are only an advisory body and do not have the power of the veto. Overall the Human Rights act, like devolution has not reduced the power of the UK government as they have overall power to abolish the act. This is one of the disputed benefits of an uncodified constitution. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was a problem because it meant the prime minister could abuse their power and call an election when they were most popular, for example Margret Thatcher called an election after the Falkland's war, and it could be argued this was because she was ahead in the polls. The fixed term parliaments take that power away from government. This is not the only constitutional reform that was introduced by the coalition that reduced government's power. They also introduced a new clause in a new EU act which meant every time the government wanted to pass over powers to the EU there must be a referendum. This of course limits government's power as it means they must ask the public's views before implementing a policy in these criteria. However people have argued that it does not reduce the power from the UK government as they can just remove the act in parliament. In conclusion the majority of constitutional reforms since 1997 have not reduced government power because of the UK's uncodified constitution which makes it easy for the next government to reverse any constitutional change that the last government made. Because this option is always there the power is never really lost only rolls and responsibilities are handed over to a separate organisation to carry out. ...read more.

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