A constitution constitutes ‘the set of laws, rules and practices that create the basic institutions of the state, and its component and related parts, and stipulate the powers of those institutions and the relationship between the different institutions and between those institutions and individual’.1 So defined, all countries have a constitution. The British constitution is often lauded as being ‘unwritten’. The description is misleading. Much of it is written. A great deal is embodied in a mass of statute law: the Bill of Rights 1689, the Parliament Act 1911 and the European Communities Act 1972 are all fundamental documents of constitutional law. What distinguishes the British constitution is not that it is unwritten, but rather that it is not codified in a single, higher law document. In this respect, it is distinctive, though not unique. This distinctiveness is important to the Conservative.


Labour Government Conservative Political Conservative Party Constitutional Reform Constitutional Change 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Norton

There are no affiliations available

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