The Fixed Term Parliament Experiment

One of the arguments surrounding the nature of the UK Constitution is that it is uncodified and unentrenched. This means that, positively or negatively depending on your view, it is very easy to change. The Coalition demonstrated this with their passage of the Fixed Term Parliament Act in 2011, securing the date of the next election from the outset of their government and removing this power from the Prime Minister.

However, as Parliament is sovereign and therefore no Parliament is binding on any other, this Act could always be removed by the next Government. In the article above, Ken Clarke MP suggests that the Fixed Term Parliament Act was ‘a mistake’ and comments on his perceived flaws in this Act. This is particularly interesting as another prominent Tory, Alan Duncan MP, has put forward a Private Members’ Bill entitled the Fixed Term Parliament Act (Repeal) Bill, demonstrating further discontent with the Act.

This would be a really useful example for the benefits and issued raised by the flexibility of the UK Constitution.