Ideology, Power Orientation and Policy Drag: Explaining the Elite Politics of Britain's Bill of Rights Debate

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Abstract

This article argues that three factors have framed elite political debate and outcomes on a Bill of Rights in Britain – the degree of commitment to an ideology of social liberalism, the executive/non-executive power orientation of key actors and the phenomenon of policy drag. These factors explain not only the overall historical contours of political debate but also (1) Labour's ‘aversive’ conversion to the Bill of Rights agenda and passage of the Human Rights Act (1998); and (2) the Conservatives’ more positive recent attitude to the Bill of Rights agenda.

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