Why we must have a written constitution for the UK

Many would have us believe that the UK has never had a constitution. But this is not true.  Since joining the EU in 1973, we had a constitution – the constitution of the European Union. And, by virtue of the fact that we were part of the EU,  Britain was bound by EU law.

Now that our leaders have lied and tricked us into leaving the EU, the United Kingdom once again finds itself without a codified constitution – putting us in the same club as Israel, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand.

Why is a constitution important?  A written constitution clearly sets out the rules for how a society’s laws are made or changed,  they establish the authority that different centres of power have, how they relate to one another, and how these relations can be changed. This is the vital separation of powers between the executive (the government and civil service), the legislature (which makes laws but does not administer them) and the judiciary (which adjudicates what is lawful when this is disputed).

A written constitution also defines the powers and rights of citizens and how these rights are protected. And a written constitution is a key element when expressing the aspirations of the society.  It helps us define what we stand for and tells the world who we are as a nation.  The Phoenix Movement firmly believes that the only way we can create a fair and equable constitution is to crowd source it across the UK.  Rather than simply handing over collective responsibility to party politicians,  we must create a participatory and transparent constitutional process that everyone has a hand in producing.  Rather than telling our citizens how they will be governed, let’s ask them.   Iceland has shown the world that this is possible.  The UK can do the same.

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