One key question, picking up on the post-referendum tensions, will be whether a new upper house for the UK should be constituted on a basis which accords equal representation to the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom, or at least provides a veto to each nation on important issues? The immediate political test for whether reform of the upper house might proceed on such terms may occur when the bill for an EU referendum comes before Parliament. The SNP has promised to table an amendment to any EU referendum bill requiring that any decision to leave the EU must be backed by a majority of voters in each of the four nations of the UK. While the reaction from eurosceptic Conservatives and UKIP would be predictably hostile, David Cameron could see such a veto amendment as a political lifeline, allowing him to criticise the EU as much as he wishes, safe in the knowledge that there are unlikely to be majorities in all four nations to leave the EU. Whether, as Will Self implies, there would be the political will among the UK parties to entrench permanent constitutional parity between the four nations in a reformed UK second chamber, perhaps through a veto or super majority provision, remains to be seen.
Sir David Edward – Public Lecture – Thursday 25th September 2014
Constitutional Implications of the Independence Referendum
The Centre for Global Constitutionalism was pleased to host a public lecture by Sir David Edward, a former UK judge of the European Court of Justice. Sir David addressed the constitutional implications of the independence referendum, the issues that the debate over the last two years raised and what the result might mean for the UK constitution and the constitution of Scotland.
The full lecture and Q&A is available to watch below:
Dr Anthony Lang, Director of the Centre for Global Constitutionalism, was interviewed by The Times on the question of Scottish independence. Lang responded to First Minister Alex Salmond’s proposal that an independent Scotland would have a written constitution, hence making it more ‘modern’ than the United Kingdom. Lang highlighted the potential political cleavages that may be exacerbated in the process of drafting a written constitution for Scotland. The article is available via The Times website via subscription only.