Citizenship GCSE: Changing Britain's Constitution

How does the House of Commons deal with challenges to Britain’s uncodified constitution?

Politicians discuss the 2014 referendum on Scotland's independence.

With the real chance of Scottish people voting to leave the United Kingdom, they discuss the way that the House of Commons might have to change.

They discuss the wider implications such as devolution and "English Laws for English votes".

The next example is a new law proposed by the government called the ‘Recall Bill’.

It allows for MPs to be sacked by their constituents for serious wrongdoing.

Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith thinks it doesn’t go far enough and we follow him as he tries to get enough support to challenge the Government.

What do his proposals mean for democracy? Does it give voters more direct influence on their MP? Or does it make MPs vulnerable to business and lobbying interests?

We follow the story right up to the crucial vote in the House of Commons.

Featuring Alan Duncan MP, Zac Goldsmith MP, Nicholas Soames MP, William Hague MP, Thomas Docherty MP, Lindsay Hoyle MP, Russell Brown MP, Cheryl Gilliam MP, Crispin Blunt MP.

This short film is from the BBC series, Exploring the House of Commons. This series goes behind the scenes of the House of Commons to explain some of the processes that drive British politics.

NB This series was filmed in 2013 - 2015 and some of the political figures shown no longer hold their positions.

Teacher Notes

GCSE or Scottish National 5:

This short film could be used as an introduction to a discussion about the effectiveness of the UK constitution.

After watching, pupils could consider the strengths and weaknesses of the UK's uncodified constitution.

Pupils could also consider how far the two constitutional reforms would benefit Parliament.

A level or Scottish Higher:

This could be used to support an investigation into the strengths and weaknesses of Britain's uncodified constitution.

How effective has the UK constitution been since 2010?

Pupils could also consider the pros and cons of Zac Goldsmith's proposed reform and the extent to which it would benefit the House of Commons.

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching classes about UK politics. It will be suitable for GCSE or A Level, and Scottish National 5 or Higher.

More from Exploring the House of Commons

How does an MP change the law?
How do MPs vote in the House of Commons?
What is a Private Members' Bill?
What is Prime Minister's Questions?
Public perceptions of British politicians
Why do MPs rebel?
What is a Government Whip?