Fixed Term for Parliament

Well, my blogging hiatus lasted two whole days.  I wanted to note that the recent British election will lead to significant constitutional change there.  The new Government is proposing that from now on Parliament should have a fixed term of five years, which means that the Prime Minister will no longer control when an election happens.  Furthermore, the Government wants to raise the threshold necessary for a successful no-confidence motion to 55% of all MPs, not 50% +1.

In both respects, the UK is moving towards our Constitution.  Under Labour, Britain went from a unitary state to a federal one and adopted a Supreme Court in lieu of the House of Lords.  Now they are on the cusp of adopting our system of fixed elections and our use of supermajority rules (as far as I know, the House of Commons has never used a supermajority rule for anything before.)  Somewhere the Framers must be chuckling about this trend.

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4 Responses

  1. Howard Wasserman says:

    And somewhere else Sandy Levinson is weeping.

  2. TJ says:

    I’m not sure that our framers would chuckle at a situation where a government is proposing to pass (by a simple majority) a law that says the government cannot be removed for five years. One can see the problem if the law says that no-confidence motions require 100% and the government’s term is 1000 years.

  3. TJ says:

    In other words, it is hard to chuckle at a modern version of the Enabling Act.

  4. slantendicular says:

    Canada did the same thing last decade. And the law was just as unconstitutional and unenforceable as this one will be in Britain. Pure Tokenism.