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The Black Spring Press Group

Pretence: Why The UK Needs A Written Constitution

Pretence: Why The UK Needs A Written Constitution

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By Austen Morgan


The moment of Brexit (2016-20) singularly challenged the UK’s unwritten constitution. Some blamed Theresa May and Boris Johnson for implementing the referendum result. Others – including Austen Morgan, a barrister and writer – criticize parliament and the supreme court more fairly. Pretence: Why The UK Needs A Written Constitution takes up the idea in the 2019 conservative manifesto, and shows how a reforming government could begin to codify the rules by which the state runs, in place of the Gilbert and Sullivan flummery which dignifies the reality of political power.

Discussing Europe, devolution, judicial review and human rights as contemporary political issues, the book even begins the process of finding agreement by the peoples of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with the author’s own suggestions for a preamble to a new constitution.


“Austen Morgan has written an engaging, wide-ranging, thought-provoking and
refreshingly undogmatic book on the history, current state and possible future of the UK constitution and system of government. Even those steeped in the subject will find interesting facts, connections and opinions which they will not have come across before. In these challenging times, anyone interested in the future of this country or how we got where we are should read this book”. -
Lord Neuberger, President, Supreme Court, 2012-17

“Austen Morgan argues powerfully that Britain, like almost every other democracy, should adopt a codified constitution, and sketches what such a constitution might actually look like. Brexit and threats of secession in Northern Ireland and in Scotland make his arguments especially persuasive. Pretence, based on wide knowledge and learning, is a book of great importance which should be read by every concerned citizen”. - Vernon Bogdanor, Professor of Government, King’s College, London

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