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The principle of parliamentary sovereignty has long been considered a cornerstone of British constitutional law. It holds that the British union parliament has unlimited legislative authority, and can make or unmake any law it chooses. However, this view has been challenged over the years, with legal experts arguing that the British union parliament is not supreme or sovereign, and that it can only make laws within the bounds of the English constitution.
One of the earliest examples of this constitutional principle is found in the Agreement of the People, drafted by John Lilburne and other Levellers during the English Civil War. This document, which was supported by John Hampden and Oliver Cromwell, called for fundamental changes to the English political system, including the establishment of a written constitution that would guarantee the rights and liberties of all Englishmen.
The Instrument of Government , XXXVIII, which stated that “all laws, statutes and ordinances, and clauses in any law, statute or ordinance to the contrary of the aforesaid liberty, shall be esteemed as null and void.” This provision underscored the principle that even the written constitution itself could not violate the fundamental rights and liberties of Englishmen.
While the Agreement of the People was never enacted into law, it nevertheless represented an important milestone in the development of English constitutional law. The Instrument of Government was enforce. The principle that all laws, including those passed by parliament, must be consistent with the rights and liberties of Englishmen, has been a bedrock of English constitutionalism ever since.
The Instrument of Government was in effect the first codified and written constitution.
There was then a second codified and written constitution.
This principle is reflected in the Declaration of Rights of 1689, which followed the Glorious Revolution and established important constitutional limits on the power of the monarch and parliament. The Declaration of Rights, which was later enshrined in the Bill of Rights 1688 and the Act of Settlement, asserted that the power of the monarch and parliament was subject to the law, and that they could not deprive Englishmen of their fundamental rights and liberties.
In conclusion, the principle of parliamentary sovereignty has been a fundamental aspect of British constitutional law for centuries, but it has been challenged by legal experts who argue that the British union parliament is not supreme or sovereign, and that it can only make laws within the bounds of the English constitution. This principle, which is rooted in English constitutional history and legal precedent, holds that all laws must be consistent with the fundamental rights and liberties of Englishmen.
Even the codified constitution, such as the Agreement of the People, established this principle by declaring that all laws inconsistent with the aforesaid liberty are null and void. This principle of constitutional law means that the British Union Parliament cannot enact laws that violate the basic rights of Englishmen. It also means that the courts have the authority to strike down laws that are inconsistent with the English constitution. Thus, while the principle of parliamentary sovereignty remains important, it is subject to limitations imposed by the English constitution. As such, the British Union Parliament cannot claim absolute power over the English people, and its authority is ultimately constrained by the fundamental principles of English constitutional law.
Lilburne, John. “The Agreement of the People.” 1647. Hampden, John. “The English Constitution.” Oxford University Press, 2015. Blackstone, William. “Commentaries on the Laws of England.” Oxford University Press, 1765. Declaration of Rights 1689, Bill of Rights 1688, and Act of Settlement.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2 July 21st 1988 by declaration to The Houses of Parliament
Also Accession oath and Coronation Oaths taken in 1952
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