Time for a Convention
Time for a Convention
Citizens should decide where power lies in this country.
After the Scottish independence and European referendums, nothing in the UK can be the same. But if there is one thing which that both referendums made clear, it was that people do not accept that these decisions should be made by politicians behind closed doors.
October 2012 ERS submits evidence to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee
11 September 2014 ERS gathers 19 democracy experts to write to the Times calling for a Constitutional Convention
19 September 2014 Four of the five largest UK-wide parties call for a Constitutional Convention following the Scottish independence referendum
17 October 2014 ERS gathers 28 civil society and academic signatures for a letter to William Hague asking him to commit to a Constitutional Convention
11 December 2014 ERS joins forces with Unlock Democracy to hand in our 15,000-strong petition to No.10 Downing Street
17 July 2015 ERS and 12 senior academics and journalists write to the Times in support of Lord Purvis Bill establishing a Constitutional Convention
16 September 2015 the ERS and 6 Universities launch a Citizens Assembly Pilot Project.
May 2016 the ERS and 3 universities launch A Better Referendum, a tool to help people run their own assemblies about the EU referendum.
What’s a Convention?
A constitutional convention is a process for involving members of the public in making decisions about the constitutional shape of a country, region, nation or state. Conventions and assemblies on constitutional issues have been held in a number of countries and regions, including Ireland, Iceland and British Columbia. The UK also has experience of constitutional conventions, most notably the Scottish Constitutional Convention which paved the way for the creation of the Scottish Parliament.
The design and composition of these conventions reflect the unique geographical, historical and political make up of each of these areas, and the moment in time in which the conventions took place. While there are lessons to be drawn, the UK will need a convention suited to its own distinct composition and needs.
It's time for a UK-wide, citizen-led Constitutional Convention to decide the future shape of our country.
Democracy Matters Citizens' Assembly
In an effort to test how different models of Constitutional Conventions could operate, the Electoral Reform Society and 6 leading universities have launched a ‘Citizens’ Assembly’ pilot project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The Assemblies themselves were held in Sheffield and Southampton in October and November 2015. You can read our report on the project here, and find out more about the project on citizensassembly.co.uk