Another important convention is that government ministers must have a seat in Parliament (and, in the case of the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, specifically in the House of Commons) in order to hold office.
This is a vital aspect of what is known as the ‘Westminster system of parliamentary government’, providing a direct form of executive responsibility and accountability to the legislature.
There are a number of associated characteristics of Britain’s unwritten constitution, a cardinal one being that in law Parliament is sovereign in the sense of being the supreme legislative body.
Since there is no documentary constitution containing laws that are fundamental in status and superior to ordinary Acts of Parliament, the courts may only interpret parliamentary statutes.
Insofar as Magna Carta was ‘the first great public act of the nation’, it also established the direction of travel for our political system towards representative institutions and, much later, democracy itself.
In 1258, the Provisions of Oxford, sometimes referred to as the first ever written constitution, provided for a Council of twenty-four members through whom the King should govern, to be supervised by a Parliament.
The very existence of the office of Prime Minister, our head of government, is purely conventional.The case for a written UK constitution has been debated at our universities and by politicians of all parties for several decades and has been the subject of a House of Commons committee inquiry during the 2010–15 Parliament.If a written constitution for the future is to be prepared, it must be one that engages and involves everyone, especially young people, and not simply legal experts and parliamentarians.They may not overrule or declare them invalid for being contrary to the constitution and ‘unconstitutional’.So, too, there are no entrenched procedures (such as a special power of the House of Lords, or the requirement of a referendum) by which the unwritten constitution may be amended.Some of the mystique and charm of our ancient constitution might be lost in the process, but a written constitution could bring government and the governed closer together, above all by making the rules by which our political democracy operates more accessible and intelligible to all.Little is known of the venerable gentleman beyond the circumstance that he is of a good old Welsh family, who it is asserted can trace their descent in a direct line from Gwynfardd Dyfed, Lord of Pembrokeshire & descendant of Mewrig, an early King of Dyfed. Archdeacon received his early tuition at Bromsgrove Grammar School, Worcestershire & appropriately enough entered on his collegiate career at Worcester College, Oxford. Of the beneficed clergy who held prefermant in the diocese previous to the consecration of the late Bishop, 26 appear to be still in the enjoyment of their benefices or have as in one case been raised to a higher ecclesiastical dignity within the disocese.So is the rule upon which he or she is appointed, being whoever commands the confidence of the House of Commons (the majority party leader, or head of a coalition of parties).The Monarchy is one of the three components of Parliament (shorthand for the Queen-in-Parliament) along with Commons and Lords.This was convened for the first time in 1264 by Simon de Montfort (d. During the constitutional conflicts of the 17th century, the Petition of Right (1628) relied on Magna Carta for its legal basis, setting out rights and liberties of the subject including freedom from arbitrary arrest and punishment.The Bill of Rights (1689) then settled the primacy of Parliament over the monarch’s prerogatives, providing for the regular meeting of Parliament, free elections to the Commons, free speech in parliamentary debates, and some basic human rights, most famously freedom from ‘cruel or unusual punishment’.