FAQ: What constitutional reforms did Labour introduce?
Posted by Matt Walker on January 6, 2010
After winning power in 1997, the Labour Government embarked upon a radical programme of constitutional reform. These reforms aimed at tackling what was believed to be an over-centralised and overly secret state, which paid too little attention to human rights and too much homage to privilege. So what did they do?
1) Devolution – Scotland was given its own parliament, and Wales and Northern Ireland their own assemblies. London was also given its own mayor.
2) Human Rights Act – this enabled UK citizens to prosecute individuals, organisations or government in a UK court, not just in the European Court of Human Rights.
3) Freedom of Information Act – making government more open by allowing individuals to request any (with some restrictions re. national security) information they want from public bodies.
4) Reform of House of Lords – the majority of hereditary peers were removed from the House of Lords, leaving only 92.
5) Supreme Court – removal of the House of Lords’ function as the highest court in the land, transferring it to an independent body, as well as the abolition of the role of Lord Chancellor.
6) Party Funding – a new electoral commission was set up to regulate party funding, including the full disclosure of donations above £500.