THE CHANGING BRITISH POLITICAL SYSTEM
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The British political system is unusual in many aspects. First of all, Britain lacks a written constitution. The country’s political system has long appeared a model of stability in a changing world. It should be noted that European integration has had a considerable impact on the British political system. However, the election of Tony Blair government in 1997 was a starting point towards serious constitutional reforms. One of the most important was the devolution and The House of Lords reform. Apart from it Human Rights and Freedom of Information Act were introduced. In 2000 a directly elected mayor of London was elected. In 2010 a coalition government was established with David Cameron as the Prime Minister from the Conservative Party. The second were the Liberal Democrats. This coalition in itself was unusual in Britain’s post-war history. The set of changes in the British political system was an important part of the coalition agreement. The first stage was The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 which provided for a referendum on the voting system for UK Parliament and reduced the number of constituencies. The second was The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 which set the date of the next general election as 7th May 2015 and on the first Thursday in every fifth year thereafter. There are only two circumstances when early elections can be held. The Monarch no longer dissolves Parliament, but the Act does not affect her/his power to prorogue Parliament. In 2011 proposed reforms to the royal succession were also announced. They changed the rules of succession and the first-born child of a monarch would be heir apparent regardless of gender. Apart from it there were plans to reform the House of Lords again. Its current serving members were to be replaced by a semi-elected house of as few as 300 members (240 elected and 60 appointed). The plans failed, because they did not gain acceptance. Constitutional changes since 1997 have been extensive, but there was no holistic view on the reform process. Nowadays the country faces the possible separation of Scotland, which could lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom. It could be a revolutionary change of the British political system. However, there are close links between Scotland and the rest of the country and in all probability the status quo will prevail.
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