Written warning

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Is it possible to entrench a permanent future for the Scottish Parliament in some form of written British constitution?

The proposal seems to be part of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s six-step plan for an improved devolved settlement after the independence referendum (your report, 11 March).

I can understand his concern but question its practicality.

There is no reason to believe that the rest of the United Kingdom would accept a major constitutional change – a written bill of rights – simply to resolve the Scottish question alone.

I claim no expertise in this complex area of law. But my understanding is that at present a government can pass a law on any issue it likes; that it cannot bind its successors, and that any law (including the Scotland Act 1998) can be repealed provided there is a sufficient majority in the House of Commons for doing so.

An independent judiciary is there to interpret the intention of parliament. The entire matter is complicated by European legislation on human rights but this does not detract from the main point.

The United Kingdom does not have a written constitution. It would need a very powerful radical push to create one.
Indeed, Mr Brown played an important role in three Labour governments with large majorities.

It proved infernally difficult to bring about real reform of the House of Lords, for example. Those administrations took no action to secure permanence for the Scottish Parliament.

That was simply because to do so would have meant a constitutional upheaval that would have overturned more than 300 years of history. Is there any reason to believe future Westminster parliaments will behave differently?

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court