Parliamentary Sovereignty and the Locus of Constituent Power in the United Kingdom

This paper argues that parliamentary sovereignty’s assimilation of constituent power—the ultimate power in a legal order to create and posit a constitution— has stultified the development of British constitutional law. The result is a deeply ideological, as distinct from oft-heralded pragmatic, constitutional structure that is incapable of confronting the systemic challenges the UK currently faces. By conceptualising a more antagonistic relation between the Crown in Parliament and ‘the People’ by questioning the democratic credentials of the former, this paper contends that the UK constitutional order can be re-invigorated. This re-appraisal, however, also requires the interrogation of the notion of ‘the People’ in the UK constitutional order itself.