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Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Chapter one: Defining the constitution
  3. Chapter two: Parliamentary sovereignty
  4. Chapter three: The rule of law and the separation of powers
  5. Chapter four: The royal prerogative
  6. Chapter five: The House of Commons
  7. Chapter six: The House of Lords
    1. January 1910 - Herbert Asquith's election address
    2. December 1910: Herbert Asquith's election address
    3. Parliament Act 1911
    4. Life Peerages Act 1958
    5. Government white paper on House of Lords reform (1968) (Cmnd 3799)
    6. R (on the application of Jackson and others) v Attorney General [2005] EWCA CIV 126 (Court of Appeal)
    7. R (on the application of Jackson and others) v Attorney General [2005] UKHL 56 (HL)
  8. Chapter seven: The electoral system
  9. Chapter eight: Parliamentary privilege
  10. Chapter nine: Constitutional conventions
  11. Chapter ten: Local government
  12. Chapter eleven: Parliamentary sovereignty within the European Union
  13. Chapter twelve: The governance of Scotland and Wales
  14. Chapter thirteen: Substantive grounds of judicial review 1: illegality, irrationality and proportionality
  15. Chapter fourteen: Procedural grounds of judicial review
  16. Chapter fifteen: Challenging governmental decisions: the process
  17. Chapter sixteen: Locus standi
  18. Chapter seventeen: Human rights I: Traditional perspectives
  19. Chapter eighteen: Human rights II: Emergent principles
  20. Chapter nineteen: Human rights III: New substantive grounds of review
  21. Chapter twenty: Human rights IV: The Human Rights Act 1998
  22. Chapter twenty-one: Human rights V: The impact of The Human Rights Act 1998
  23. Chapter twenty-two: Human rights VI: Governmental powers of arrest and detention
  24. Chapter twenty-three: Leaving the European Union

December 1910: Herbert Asquith's election address

I ask you to renew the unbroken relationship between us, as Constituency and Member, which has now entered upon its twenty-fifth year.

During the whole of this long connection there has been complete confidence both on the one side and the other, and neither you nor I have every wavered in our allegiance to the great ideals and purposes of which the Liberal Party is the champion and trustee.

I am, therefore, not under the necessity, which would be binding on a new-comer, of making to you any general profession of political faith. As lately as January in the present year, I expounded to you in detail, and you approved by a decisive majority at the poll, the present aims of liberal policy.

The appeal which is now being made to you and to the country at large may almost be said to be narrowed to a single issue. But upon its determination, in one sense or the other, hangs the whole future of Democratic Government.

Are the people, through their freely chosen representatives, to have control, not only over finance and administrative Policy, but over the making of their law? Or are we do continue in the one-sided system under which a Tory majority, however small in size and casual in creation, has a free run of the Statute Book, while from Liberal legislation, however clear may be the message of the polls, the forms of the Constitution persistently withhold a fair and even chance?

You will not, I am sure, be misled in the judgement you are called upon to pronounce by the belated and delusive composition which the House of Lords is, at the last moment, being advised to offer to its critics. The schemes which are now being put forward, in the hope of disguising the real issue, would result, if they were carried into law, in the creation of a Second Chamber predominantly Conservative in character, practically inoperative while there is a Tory majority in the House of Commons, completely independent of the prerogatives of the Crown, and capable of interposing an even more formidable veto than the present House of Lords upon the prompt and effective translation into law of the declared will of the nation.

I ask you to repeat, with still greater emphasis, the approval which only eleven months ago you gave to the proposals of His Majesty's Government..