Young People and the Constitution – EU event on iPlayer

The latest event in the Young People and the Constitution series was a panel discussion on the topic of the EU and its relationship with the British constitution – held on Thursday 18th July. With the title Britain and Europe: Past. Present. Future? the event looked at the history of Britain’s relationship with the EU and also the future of our constitutional ties to the organisation. 

Chaired by our Associate Director, James Hallwood, with a panel of differing opinions but equally high expertise on the matter, the seminar addressed an audience of young people as well as diplomatic staff and journalists. The session was filmed by the BBC and first broadcast on Saturday 20th July. 

Dr Andrew Blick, Mary Honeyball MEP, Bill Cash MP, and Sarah Ludford MEP completed the panel – each offering 10 minute contributions on their thoughts of Britain’s history and future with the European Union. We are indebted to the European Parliament Information Office for hosting this event. 

The discussion avoided polemic and broad brushstrokes in favour of reasoned argument and a sound knowledge of the constitutional history of this complex relationship. 

An abridged film of the event can be found on iPlayer here

22nd July 2013

Tags: , , ,

Rt Hon John Bercow MP launches ‘Young People and the Constitution’

The Constitution Society was delighted to host the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, as he spoke to an audience of young people on his role in the British constitution chaired by our Project Manager, James Hallwood.

As patron of YPC, Mr Bercow spoke of the importance of neutrality and some of the changes he has brought to the Commons, as well as several more he would like to implement. 

On the British constitution, Mr Bercow explained that he believed that traditions and practices that work should never be got rid of for the sake of ‘reform’ – but when there is a case for change he supported looking at what could be done. 

The audience put some interesting questions to Mr Bercow. The Speaker’s answers offered what he said was an “honest politician’s views” and that he avoided “sitting on the fence” despite his neutrality. For instance, Mr Bercow voiced support for same-sex marriage, suggested Britain was best placed to remain in the European Union, rejected a call for separation of powers, and advocated the doctrine of Parliamentary Supremacy as remaining potent and relevant.

Read more ›

Fresh battle looms between European human rights court and UK

Prosecutors could be forced to stop using evidence from victims and witnesses who do not attend court in another human rights battle between Britain and Europe. The case is the first significant clash between European judges and the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court, over who should dictate domestic law.

Read it at The Telegraph ›

14th December 2011

Tags: , , , , ,

ARCHIVE: EU debate leads to significant rebellion

[First Published on Tuesday 25th October 2011]

The following post was first published on ConSoc’s previous site. It is recorded here as a window onto issues as they were at the time. For more up to date news on the Constitution and Constitutional reform, make sure to follow the ConSoc blog.

A backbench motion debate on Britain’s relationship with the European Union has led to a significant rebellion of government MPs.

The motion, introduced by David Nuttall MP, moved:

‘…to introduce a Bill in the next session of Parliament to provide for the holding of a national referendum on whether the United Kingdom should:

  1. remain a member of the European Union on the current terms;
  2. leave the European Union; or
  3. re-negotiate the terms of its membership in order to create a new relationship based on trade and co-operation.’

ARCHIVE: Debate triggered on the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU

[First Published on Friday 21st October 2011]

The following post was first published on ConSoc’s previous site. It is recorded here as a window onto issues as they were at the time. For more up to date news on the Constitution and Constitutional reform, make sure to follow the ConSoc blog.

With Parliament preparing to follow the call of a public petition to debate the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU, questions about the appropriate role of direct popular influence on the political process have returned to the spotlight.

In the context of a rising sense of public disillusionment with politics following the expenses scandal, the Coalition promised last year to implement a “fundamental shift of power from Westminster to the people”. A number of policies which the government argue follow up on that promise have since been introduced. The Localism Bill (currently being debated in the House of Lords) includes provisions for elected mayors, local referendums and neighborhood planning.  The European Union Act commits the government to holding a referendum before any further transfer of power to the EU and the referendum on the Alternative Vote allowed the public to decide the future of the electoral system.

Read more ›

ARCHIVE: EU Foreign Policy: to boldly go where none has gone before?

[First Published on Tuesday 18th May 2001]

The following post was first published on ConSoc’s previous site. It is recorded here as a window onto issues as they were at the time. For more up to date news on the Constitution and Constitutional reform, make sure to follow the ConSoc blog.

An ardent science fiction fan, perhaps Baroness Ashton, the European Union’s new High Representative for Foreign Affairs, would appreciate the words of Mr Spock in Star Trek: “I must acknowledge, once and for all, that the purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis.”  Perhaps ‘crisis’ is too strong a word for it, but the EU’s foreign policy appears to be in something of a disarray. 

For some years criticism has been levelled at the EU for failing to develop a more effective foreign policy;  all too frequently the finger was pointed at the inadequate institutions of the EU.  The rotating Presidency of the EU tended to lead to a lack of continuity, whilst the fact that the aims of the EU are blurred – is it an economic union? is it a political and social union? – tended to mean that the European Council and the Council of Ministers together lacked sufficient expertise in EU foreign policy.  This was only compounded by the division of labour between the Commission, which was the powerhouse on economic matters, and the Council of Ministers, to whom it fell to sort out diplomatic issues.  Not only that, but the political rivalry between the Council and the Commission led to competition rather than cooperation in this most sensitive of areas.

Read more ›

13th January 2001

Tags: , , , , ,