Twenty Years On: Assessing the State and Legacy of New Labour’s Constitution

A major two-day conference in Liverpool in July 2017, to assess the state of the UK constitution on the 20th anniversary of New Labour's election to office in 1997. This government was elected on a manifesto of unprecedented constitutional ambition, and delivered a programme of reform which fundamentally changed the UK constitution.

In its 1997 election manifesto, New Labour promised devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Human Rights Act, reform of the House of Lords, elected city mayors, freedom of information, electoral reform and more. And while not all of these aspirations were realised (and some were added to the programme, such as creation of a Supreme Court), it was a defining period in the development of the modern UK constitution. The 20th anniversary of this election provides an ideal moment to pause and take stock after a period of rapid constitutional change. We therefore propose to bring together, in Liverpool, leading scholars to explore the boundaries of the new constitution, and to ask what constitutional changes the future might hold.

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