Constitutional change in the United Kingdom: an institutional analysis

King, Fraser H. J. (2000) Constitutional change in the United Kingdom: an institutional analysis. Doctoral thesis, London Guildhall University.


This thesis seeks to explain the lack of significant constitutional change in the UK between 1945 and 1980 and has two main findings. First, and principally, the thesis rejects conventional understandings of the UK constitution based upon Dicey's analysis and the Westminster model of British politics. It is argued that these models can no longer provide the analytical toolkits necessary to unlock the nature and scope of power in British politics. It also questions the efficacy of micro level analyses in explaining the absence of constitutional change in British politics. Second, the thesis explores realist, state centred and cultural models of political change and applies these models to a case study of devolution from 1966-1979. It is argued that analytical models which take account of the power of institutions in shaping and conditioning the policy agenda, enable a more comprehensive explanation of both constitutional development and obstacles to constitutional change. The thesis does not advocate a new constitutional doctrine but does point to research strategies, which may facilitate the development of one.

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