Constitutional Reform and the Functioning of UK Democracy

  • Peter Riddell


In this chapter, the author examines how the growing debate on institutional/constitutional reform in the UK from the late 1980s onwards assumed that changes would both improve the working of democracy and increase satisfaction with the political system. While substantial in number, the changes introduced after 1997 were piecemeal, and without an overall plan, and did not represent real shift in the balance between the state and the citizen. Moreover, these changes proved insufficient to withstand either specific scandals such as the MPs’ expenses’ revelations of 2009 or the more general populist reaction against the Westminster political class which has surfaced in this decade, leading to the vote for Brexit in June 2016. The author concludes that leaving the EU will trigger profound and unpredictable political and constitutional changes well beyond what was considered desirable or feasible two decades ago.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Riddell
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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