Lord Wilson of Dinton (Richard Wilson): Is an unwritten constitution still a good idea?

Speaker: Lord Wilson of Dinton (Richard Wilson)

This talk will discuss why, unlike most countries, we don’t have a written constitution in the UK; what it’s like in practice working without one; and, what the arguments for and against having one are. It will argue that, although we are in the middle of a period of major constitutional change, it would be better not to try to set out all our constitutional principles, rules, and laws in one document. It would run contrary to our history, it would lose us flexibility in public affairs, and it would open up enormous arguments – for instance about whether we should abolish the monarchy – which would take up a lot of time and be impossible to resolve. It also argues that the British people are not very interested in constitutional matters.

Richard Wilson attends the House of Lords as a cross bencher, and is a Life Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. After entering the Civil Service in the Board of Trade in 1966, he became Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service in 1998. In 2002 he received a peerage and was elected Master of Emmanuel College.

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Event information


25 Oct 2023


2:15 pm


Zoom and Bridge St (booking required)