The question deals with the nature of the constitution of the United Kingdom with relation to the roles of the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. This essay will address the above issues, with reference to the United Kingdom’s hesitation to take part in a military intervention in Syria. It will also discuss the United Kingdom’s application of the conceptual doctrines of the rule of law, participatory democracy, and human rights, along with its inclination towards a more democratic, codified constitution in accordance with the concept of constitutionalism.
The state of affairs in Syria was the trigger for the debate in which the United Kingdom displayed its hesitation for military intervention. Syria has been the centre of attention in the international community since the protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in March 2011. Beginning with small scale insurgences, the violence escalated, until it crossed an important threshold, when the international Red Cross formally declared it a civil war a year and a half later. A chemical attack just outside the Syrian capital, Damascus, was confirmed by United Nations inspectors, causing an outburst of international outrage. Many leaders argued the demand for intervention, such as the governments of America and France, who were insisting on a slightly militant approach. Russia on the other hand, a strong ally of Syria, was not in favour of military mediation, and ultimately managed to make a deal with the United States to eliminate Syria’s stockpile of chemical weaponry.
The issue brought before the House of Commons on the 29th of August, was to decide whether Britain should take part in a military intervention in Syria. This motion, put forth by the British Prime Minister, was rejected by the members of the House of Commons, with the leader of the opposition requesting the Prime Minister to refrain from using the powers of the royal prerogative to go ahead with an intervention. This rejection by the House of Commons speaks volumes about the constitution of the United Kingdom, its institutions, and the various doctrines pertaining to it.
By nature, the constitution of the United Kingdom is largely unwritten in character, and wholly uncodified. It is flexible, and as the constitution is not completely codified, the Parliament retains its sovereignty. Despite being formally unitary in structure, the constitution today is considered to be partially federal after the devolution of powers to Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Although the doctrine of separation of powers is eminent, there is no complete separation between the three institutions of the state; rather there exists an overlap of the institutions, with a system of checks and balances to ensure that misuse of power does not occur. The United Kingdom being under the reign of a monarch has a constitution which is monarchical in nature, instead of republican, which brings into play the powers of the royal...