Latest Issue

Constitutional paradox

Labour's constitutional reforms are designed to devolve power. But to succeed they must first centralise it

By Robert Hazell   December 1996

The last two Labour governments attempted major constitutional reform and came spectacularly unstuck. Dick Crossman’s 1968 bill to reform the House of Lords had to be abandoned after high level filibustering by Michael Foot and Enoch Powell. The following Labour government’s travails over devolution consumed two whole parliamentary sessions, and led eventually to Jim Callaghan’s downfall in 1979, when the government failed to deliver on devolution and the Scottish National party withdrew support. There are lessons to be learnt from these failures if a Blair government is not to risk the same fate with its “most extensive package of constitutional…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect