The second phase of a unique crowdsourcing project to get ordinary Britons to debate how their country should be governed will be launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science this week.â€¨â€¨
Coinciding with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, a 10-week internet project will give people a direct say in writing a proposed new UK constitution via an online forum that goes live this Thursday 15 January. â€¨â€¨
Spearheaded by LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), the Constitution UK project will canvass opinion on 10 key issues including devolution, whether the UK should have a monarch, Head of State, abolish the House of Lords or exit the European Union.â€¨â€¨
Human rights lawyer and IPA Director Professor Conor Gearty says the lack of a formal Constitution in the UK is the basis for the crowdsourcing project.â€¨â€¨
“With the public’s help, we have already agreed on a set of values which will underpin a new Constitution and these include things like diversity, protection of freedoms and self-esteem, and a guarantee of human security.â€¨â€¨ “We have also reached out to different groups around the country, such as single mothers, asking them for their opinions on how our country should be run. It is crucial that we get the views of ordinary people and not rely on academics or politicians to dominate the debate,” Professor Gearty says.â€¨â€¨
“The aim is to demystify the word ‘constitution’ and make people realise that it is not an abstract theory but something that affects each and every one of us in a very direct way.”â€¨â€¨
From this Thursday, the public will be able to log on to the website at www.constitutionuk.com, share their views on what should be included in a formal Constitution, vote ideas up and down and question the experts.â€¨â€¨
The top 20 online contributors will be invited to a Constitutional Convention in March when the project will culminate in a draft document which will be presented to Parliament in June, on the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.â€¨â€¨In the intervening period Professor Gearty will chair Constitutional debates in regional centres including Cambridge, Nottingham, Liverpool and Portsmouth.â€¨â€¨Since the project was launched in October 2013 with a public debate at the Sheik Zayed Theatre, LSE has hosted a Constitutional Carnival and built a large online community via its blog, receiving more than 13,000 comments.â€¨â€¨The second phase will be officially launched at 6pm this Thursday 15 January in the Thai Theatre, New Academic Building at LSE.