The emergence of our unwritten Constitution
in Writing the United Kingdom Constitution
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This chapter sets the scene for the book by explaining the evolution of the United Kingdom and highlighting some of the features of its unwritten Constitution. It touches on the civil wars of the seventeenth century, the revolutions in America and France, and the separate stories of how Wales, Ireland and Scotland were annexed by or united with England. The main constitutional features highlighted are the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, the ability of judges to develop the common law, and the role of constitutional conventions. Given the current fragility of the Union, at least in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the chapter wonders if the creation of a written Constitution would help to strengthen the bonds within the Union. It states that the book’s main argument is a written Constitution would not of itself strengthen the Union. What is required is the federalisation of the UK. The chapter ends with a glimpse at some of the subsequent chapters.


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