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Return of the constitution

The second phase of constitutional reform in Britain is sending further waves of change through Wales and Scotland, parliament and the legal system. Tony Blair remains uninterested or suspicious, but Gordon Brown is ready to take up the cause

By Robert Hazell   February 2006

Constitutional reform will be seen as the Blair governments’ greatest legacy. But it is a subject in which Tony Blair is famously uninterested, and to which he has devoted only one speech as Labour leader. Significantly, that was the first John Smith memorial lecture, and the subject was chosen in homage to his predecessor, whose cause (and legacy) it was.

In Blair’s mind, constitutional reform was the agenda of his first term, when the government legislated for devolution, the Human Rights Act and Lords reform. Having legislated, Blair was able to put the issue behind him and move on to…

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