New UK PM Brown outlines planned constitutional changes, floats bill of rights

New UK PM Brown outlines planned constitutional changes, floats bill of rights

[JURIST] In his first statement to the UK House of Commons Tuesday, new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown [JURIST news archive] laid out a series of proposed constitutional reforms [statement; recorded video] he said were designed to make British government more accountable to the people. The changes, yet to be set out in formal legislation, include giving members of parliament the final say on declaring war and the ratification of international treaties, allowing US-style confirmation hearings for certain public officials, consulting with the public and other political parties on a possible "British Bill of Rights and Duties" or a written constitution, moving election days to weekends and creating a national security council. Some of the reforms address complaints made over Britain's commitment of troops to the Iraq war; others continue the governing Labour Party's turn toward US-style political and administrative institutions. All appear to be in response to criticisms over Labor's apparent centralization of power. BBC News has more. The Scotsman has additional coverage.

Brown, the long-time Chancellor of the Exchequer under former PM Tony Blair [JURIST news archive], took over from Blair late last month when Blair stepped down after ten years in office.