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The Politics of Coalition

James M Heather15 October 2012

The Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London.

We are almost halfway through the first coalition government that the UK has had in more than 70 years, which seems like an appropriate time to reflect on its successes and its failures.

Thankfully, Professor Robert Hazell (director of the UCL Constitution Unit) and his Research Associate Ben Yong spent the entirety of 2011 doing just that – roaming the halls of Whitehall and Westminster to rack up an impressive number of interviews with all manner of ministers, journalists and civil servants.

Their work was recently published in The Politics of Coalition and, last Wednesday, both authors presented a quick run-down of some of the key findings in the book.

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Is the alternative vote worth voting for?

Lara J Carim13 April 2011

This was the subject of a debate at UCL on 11 May, reports Leo Ratledge (intern at the UCL Constitution Unit), where leading figures from the yes and no camps met alongside electoral experts and UCL students to argue the point.

Watch the full debate below

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Sir Gus O’Donnell on the Cabinet Manual: “More than just a Janet & John guide to the Queen and stuff”

Lara J Carim2 March 2011

Patrick Graham, an intern at the UCL Constitution Unit, provides an overview of a presentation by Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell, Britain’s most senior civil servant, about the proposed Cabinet Manual. The event, which was part of the Constitution Unit’s Public Seminar Series, took place on 24 February and was held at the Institute for Government.

Published by the Cabinet Office, a draft version of the Manual is currently being considered by three parliamentary Select Committees while a consultation period is scheduled to end on 8 March. Sir Gus explained that the Manual is intended to “help the public better understand how our democracy works” by making the inner workings of government more transparent. He emphasised, however, that it is not intended to be an exhaustive description of existing practices: rather, the Manual should act as a “high-level summary” of areas such as ministerial responsibility, devolution and hung parliaments.

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Lord Phillips: A view from the Supreme Court

Lara J Carim9 February 2011

Funding arrangements do not “satisfactorily guarantee” the Supreme Court’s institutional independence, said Lord Phillips (President of the Court) in his lecture at UCL on 8 February, which marked the launch of the Constitution Unit’s project on the politics of judicial independence.

Click on the player below to watch the lecture in full

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