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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > May 2019 > Does Britain need a proper constitution?

Does Britain need a proper constitution?

YES Yes, if by “proper” we mean codified, with some provisions “entrenched” so they are harder to change.

Britain is one of a tiny handful of states in the world to lack a codified constitution. Nothing wrong with being an outlier some might say, and why change a system that has served for several hundred years? The reason is that Britain’s constitution no longer functions adequately today.

Brexit has illustrated this very effectively.

Should it be so easy to change a constitutional fundamental (EU membership) on the basis of an advisory referendum whose result commanded the support of less than 50 per cent of the franchise? A written constitution could contain provisions making its amendment subject to rigorous requirements.

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InProspect's May issue: Tom Clark explores how British politics has ended up in crisis and suggests that a proper constitution could have avoided the current chaos and may well be necessary now to avoid the same problems in the future. Elsewhere in the issue: Kevin Maguire profiles Labour deputy leader Tom Watson who says that “if needs must” he would join a government of national unity. Max Rashbrooke examines Jacinda Ardern’s government in New Zealand and the ways the country is being transformed, ultimately suggesting that it could be an example for Britain to follow. Also, Stefanie Marsh follows the work of a donor detective who is helping children conceived by anonymous sperm donation to find their biological parents and Francesca Wade shows how Virginia Woolf is inspiring a new generation of women writers.