Category Archives: British Constitution

Government Loses Brexit Case

Brexit just got more complicated. In a landmark ruling, the High Court ruled that the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union can’t use the royal prerogative to activate Article 50. The European Communities Act 1972 is at the heart of … Continue reading

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The Curious Case Of Camilla And The Privy Council

When browsing the Court Circular, I noticed that the Duchess of Cornwall was admitted to the Privy Council in June. This is rather unusual. Although the heir apparent invariably becomes a Privy Counsellor, this honor is not usually extended to their … Continue reading

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How Does One Become A Minister?

Earlier this week, I explained the formalities that a person must undergo before they can become Prime Minister. Today, I will do the same thing for the other members of Her Majesty’s Government. This is a surprisingly complex subject since ministers … Continue reading

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How Can Theresa May Create New Departments So Quickly?

A reader was surprised to learn that Theresa May has made David Davis ‘Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.’ They thought it was odd that she could create a new department out of thin air. This is possible because of the constitutional … Continue reading

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Why Is There A ‘First Lord of the Treasury’?

My recent post about the formalities surrounding the premiership led a reader to ask about the office of First Lord of the Treasury. As the title implies, the First Lord is actually one of several ‘Lords of the Treasury.’ By convention, the … Continue reading

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How Does One Become Prime Minister?

In an unexpected development, Andrea Leadsom has quit the race for Conservative leader, leaving Theresa May as the only candidate to succeed David Cameron. However, certain formalities must take place before May can take the reins of government. In this post, I’ll … Continue reading

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Why Do Privy Counsellors Lead Inquiries?

After seven years, the committee of Privy Counsellors set up to investigate Britain’s role in the Iraq War has finally made its report. But why do Privy Counsellors lead inquiries in the first place? The Privy Council oath includes a promise to “keep secret all matters … Continue reading

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Will Brexit Require An Act Of Parliament?

The UK Constitutional Law Association’s blog has a number of interesting posts about the constitutional aspects of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Particularly noteworthy is a piece by Nick Barber, Tom Hickman, and Jeff King arguing that Britain might not be able to … Continue reading

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Could Parliament Ignore The Brexit Vote?

Last night, a friend of mine asked if I thought there was any chance that Parliament might ignore the result of the Brexit referendum. It’s an interesting question. From a constitutional standpoint, the referendum is simply advisory, and the Government … Continue reading

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Why Didn’t David Cameron Step Down Immediately?

In the aftermath of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, David Cameron has announced that he will step down as Prime Minister in October. This led a friend of mine to ask why he didn’t resign right away. The answer is that … Continue reading

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