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An elected Head of State for Britain

The Constitution

Britain lacks a proper Written Constitution

Ken has some expertise in the question of the British Constitution, having been an active member of Charter 88, the campaign for constitutional change, since its foundation & a member of its Council for many years. While the aim of a written constitution is still highly desirable, an Act of Parliament might suffice. It must, however, address significant problems:-

Subjects and Citizens

Technically, UK passport holders & people qualified to hold one, are the property of the Sovereign. This is actually little affected by the incorporation of the European Declaration of Human Rights into British Law in October 2000. However, a soon as full citizenship is accorded to British people, much of our existing constitutional arrangements are compromised, and not before time.

The Royal Prerogative

These prerogative powers are mostly exercised by the Prime Minister on behalf of the Sovereign & very handy they are, too, as they effectively put the Prime Minister above the Law. No Royals, no prerogative powers & many acts committed in private must be brought before the elected Parliament. The Privy Council would fall into abeyance, for example, and the agreement of foreign treaties & the declaration of war would also have to be brought before Parliament, which they do not have to be at present. Many people do not realise this.

The present Head of State's powers

At present, the Head of State is above the Law, because the Head of State is the Law. She owns the State. For example, I own the Freehold of my house, not the house. I hold it free of charges from the Queen. The change to an elected Head of State, who reports to the people is a reversal of this idea. The constitutional expert, Tony Benn, asks five questions of the powerful. These, and the answers that could be given by the House of Windsor are:-

1. What is your power? Unlimited, except by the conventions enshrined in mutable law but not by a written constitution (as, say, in the case of the Belgian King).

2. How did you get it? We have always had it, occasionally reinforced by conquest, but generally by the Will of God.

3. How do you exercise it? Through the conventions of parliamentary democracy.

4. To whom do you report? No one except God.

5. How do we get rid of you? You cannot. See the next section.

The Oath to the Head of State

How can parliamentarians who have taken an oath of allegiance to the Queen & all her successors legislate for the abolition of the monarchy? Only those such as Tony Banks, who took the oath with his fingers crossed & got away with it, are not bound by it. Either the Queen must relieve them of their oath, which she has made clear that she would not, or parliamentarians must break their oath. On passing legislation for a Republic in breach of their oath, they must immediately submit to a General Election to renew their mandate in this extraordinary situation whereby they have breached the oath on which they were confirmed in their election &, since the Queen would no doubt not assent to the legislation, to receive the permission of the people to override the lack of the Royal Assent.

A non-executive President would not have to assent to legislation that had previously been agreed as consistent with the Constitution, written or unwritten.

There are doubtless other problems but problems are there to be overcome.


Other pages:-

The Office of President

Buckingham Palace etc

Personal manifesto


Index page

Contact: Ken Baldry, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY, +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him

URL: http://www.ourpresident.org.uk/constitution.html

Last revised 24/11/2002

© 2001-2002 Ken Baldry, print, copy & pass on, please or e-mail your friends about this campaign.