Constitutional conventions
When is a convention not a convention?
in Governing Britain
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This chapter defines and discusses the role of constitutional conventions, viewing them as the oil in the formal machinery of the constitution. It distinguishes them from law and practice. It examines how conventions come into being and details key conventions of the constitution, such as the monarch giving assent to any bill passed by the two Houses of Parliament and the prime minister having to be an MP. It identifies practices that have been confused with conventions (such as the Sewel ‘convention’), conventions than have been transposed into statutes (such as elections resulting from votes of no confidence), and conventions that have been broken or appeared close to being broken, not least under the premiership of Boris Johnson.


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