IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - Between Union and Devolution: The Structure of the British Parliament as a Problem of Process (Professor Nicholas Aroney, University of Queensland)
The Parliament at Westminster has a three-fold status: it is the sovereign legislature on which the British Constitution rests, it is the general legislature for the United Kingdom, and it is the special legislature for England. Prior to devolution, Parliament simply legislated for the United Kingdom, and did so with sovereign authority; it was also constituted in a manner suitable to a unitary state. Devolution has involved a transfer of jurisdiction to the devolved legislatures, but it has not involved any structural change to Parliament itself. The House of Commons continues to be composed of members chosen to represent local electoral constituencies, and neither the Commons nor the House of Lords is designed to represent the people of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom as discrete political communities.
While the American Senate and the German Bundesrat, for example, represent the constituent political units of the federation, they do so in very different ways. Likewise, any future reforms of the British constitution will necessarily develop in a manner unique to the British context, as they always have.
This lecture is free and open to all.
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