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Keywords:

  • Constitution;
  • consultation;
  • reform;
  • communications allowance;
  • expenses

Using the Parliamentary Communications Allowance, MP David Drew recently conducted a large scale research project into public opinion on the British Constitution. There could not have been a better time to do so. Not only are we in the wake of severe economic and political crises, but also a period of unprecedented legislative interest in the constitution. Coordinated by Ed Leighton (an undergraduate at the LSE), the project consisted of a postal survey of 43,000 households, public debates around the constituency and workshops in local schools. The response from the public was incredible, and the results both interesting and unexpected. This article will outline some of those findings and demonstrate that large scale consultations with the public are both readily achievable and warmly welcomed. That this can all be done within the budget of the Parliamentary Communications Allowance also shows that at its best this fund can be used to genuinely engage with the public.