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The Bonfire of The Decencies

Repairing and Restoring the British Constitution

A reflection on the state of democracy and observance of the British constitution in the United Kingdom.

In The Bonfire of the Decencies, Peter Hennessy and Andrew Blick use Boris Johnson’s tenure as prime minister to argue that mechanisms for the upholding of constitutional principles in the United Kingdom are deficient and require an overhaul. They show that, from the outset, Johnson’s time in office was a source of serious disruption that saw standards and integrity compromised, as well as constitutional values violated. Those problems, however, did not end with Johnson’s removal from office. Rather, they are part of longer-term tendencies in the UK, and of a worrying international trend towards the weakening of democracy. Hennessy and Blick analyze the pre-existing vulnerabilities that Johnson exposed in the UK system of government and conclude with a series of proposals to repair the damage and prevent a repetition of this anxious episode in the UK’s political history.

238 pages | 1 halftone, 6 tables | 5 1/4 x 8 1/2 | © 2022

Law and Legal Studies: The Constitution and the Courts

Political Science: Public Policy

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"[Blick] assembles the case for the prosecution against the former prime minister in a comprehensive way, assessing his conduct against the yardsticks of the Ministerial Code, the Cabinet Manual and the Nolan principles of public life, as set out by Lord Nolan in 1995. . . . These powerful points are worth making afresh in view of the evidence that a sizeable number of Conservative party members and MPs regret his departure and hanker after his return."

Literary Review

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part One: The Nature of the Problem 5
Part Two: The Problem in Detail 83
Part Three: Recommendations and Conclusion 119
Appendices 147
Notes 173

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