Dr John McGarryDr John McGarry of the School of Law has responded to a parliamentary inquiry examining the role of Parliament in the UK constitution. Dr McGarry, who joined the University of Bolton in August, responded in particular to the question of how effective Parliament is at challenging and holding the Government to account.

Dr McGarry says: ‘The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee called for evidence of how the UK’s constitutional arrangements have developed with regard to Parliament. In my response, I argued that the relationship between Parliament and the Government is governed by a number of constitutional conventions – political rules and norms – which depend on a shared understanding. Yet, it is often the case that these constitutional conventions are not clearly delineated. Moreover, being political rules, they are susceptible to political manipulation and politicians sometimes attempt to escape the obligation they impose by relying on public support for their particular actions. I also argued that this is often successful because the public will often support a particular politician, party or policy and be unaware of the constitutional principle that is meant to apply. I suggested a possible solution would be to better educate the public about the constitutional arrangements of the UK, including the role of constitutional conventions.

Dr McGarry’s response to the inquiry coincides with his research specialisms which examine all aspects of the UK constitution including the relationship between Parliament and the Government.

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