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The British Constitution$
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Anthony King

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199576982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199576982.001.0001

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The Canonical Sextet

The Canonical Sextet

Chapter:
(p.15) 2 The Canonical Sextet
Source:
The British Constitution
Author(s):

Anthony King

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199576982.003.0002

This chapter provides information on several classical writers who dealt with the meaning of the constitution of Britain including Walter Bagehot, A. V. Dicey, Sidney Low, L. S. Amery, Harold Laski, and Ivor Jennings. Bagehot was one of the great journalists of the 19th century who believed that the English were still persuaded of the idea that the political institutions were constituted along mainly strictly Montesquieu-esque lines, yet lay precisely in the reality that the executive and legislative branches were bound with each other. Dicey believed that sovereignty in the UK resided in one place and in one place only called parliament. Low reckoned that the cabinet system had latterly undergone a substantial transformation, while Amery took issue with the idea that the operating styles of the prime ministers were conformed to a single, uniform pattern. Lastly, Laski clearly believed that, despite undoubted loyalty of the officials to the Attlee administration, little had really changed in recent decades, while Jennings took issue with the notion that, just because parliament had these very wide, indeed unlimited, legal powers, it was therefore ‘sovereign’.

Keywords:   canonical sextet, classical writers, British constitution, Walter Bagehot, A. V. Dicey, Sidney Low, L. S. Amery, Harold Laski, Ivor Jennings, sovereignty

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