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Labour Parties Reforms in 1997

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After the Labour party’s strong victory in the 1997 general election, winning 179 seats, they have made moves and provisions towards constitutional reform. Indeed, the two prime ministers; Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have done much for reform over the years, as illustrated by devolution and the human rights act. Indeed, they made provision for reform in 4 key areas, modernisation, and greater protection of rights, democratisation and decentralisation. However, it can be argued that their reform has been limited, and much more can be done for constitutional reform.

Firstly, it is clear that the modernisation aspects of the reform have been severely limited. Indeed, this can be illustrated by the reform of the House of Lords. Over the past 10 years, only part 1 of the reform process has taken place. This has included the removal of over 600 hereditary peers to only 92. However, no reform for a partially or fully elected second chamber has taken place. Until this happens it is argued that the Lords is not democratically legitimate as all policy making institutions must have legitimacy. By merely appointing the members of the Lords means that whilst they may have expertise, they are not representing the public which means they are not socially accountable. Also, the Wright report, which includes provisions towards electing members of select committee chairs by secret ballot, and to end the Winterton rule on public bill committees is still stuck within the legislative process. Therefore, there is much that can be done towards constitutional reform.

However, the modernisation process has done much in recent years. This can be illustrated by the separation of powers by creating the Supreme Court. The removal of the 12 law lords to become Supreme Court justices means that the House of Lords are no longer the highest court of appeal. In addition, since 2005 there has…...

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