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Britain has no written constitution. Meet the man who drafted one.

At the request of Parliament’s Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, King’s College London scholar Robert Blackburn spent four years drafting blueprints for a full-fledged constitution. The results were published last year in a parliamentary report titled “A New Magna Carta?”

Washington Post: Should Britain have a written constitution? In what ways could it be useful in settling the questions at the core of the U.K.’s existential dilemmas — devolved vs. centralized power, in Europe or out, four nations or one, etc.

Robert Blackburn: Britain should now move towards adopting a written constitution, which would have great benefits in providing a renewed sense of national identity, and settling the state of the Union across the four nations of the U.K. and the terms and limits of its partnership in Europe.

Within the country at large, a documentary constitution would enable ordinary people to know and see what are the principles, rules and institutions by which they are governed, to replace the present sprawling mass of common law rules in law reports, convoluted Acts of Parliament that are unreadable to most people, and unwritten conventions some of which are unclear even to politicians working at Westminster.

An initiative on enacting a written constitution would provide the opportunity for resolution of a number of constitutional problems, ones where despite cross-party agreement that something must be done, no outcome has been forthcoming, such as settling the rationale and democratic form for the parliamentary Second Chamber (House of Lords).

Read more of this Washington Post interview with Robert Blackburn


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