Magna Carta anniversary sparks calls for constitutional convention

Critics fear the rules of government are being amended piecemeal

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The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta has sparked calls for a constitutional convention to settle the outstanding arguments about how the United Kingdom is to be governed in the 21st century.

Critics fear the rules of government are being amended piecemeal as Westminster politicians try to come to terms with the rise of Scottish nationalism.

The promise of increased powers for the Scottish Parliament has strengthened calls south of the border for an end to the arrangement under which all MPs have the right to vote on every piece of legislation going through Parliament. The House of Lords is considering whether to legislate for a Constitutional Convention, under which politicians, academics, and members of the public would have a year in which to find a lasting settlement.


Lord (Jeremy) Purvis, a Liberal Democrat peer, says he is picking up support from all parts of the political divide for his Constitutional Convention Bill, due to be debated in the House of Lords next month. “We cannot just carry on with a ‘make do and mend’ constitution,” he said. “We need something that people will recognise as a real, durable constitutional settlement. The outcome should be a charter of the new union that sets out what being a citizen of the UK means and what our common rights are.”