Is this the first draft of a UK constitution?

The Cabinet Office have published a book they calling the Draft Cabinet Manual.

You can download a PDF of it.

Here’s a bit of churnalism from the press release.

The Cabinet Office has published a draft Cabinet Manual which sets out the main laws, rules and conventions affecting the conduct and operation of Government.

The Manual gives an overview of the UK system of Government, including how the Executive – the Government and the Civil Service – relates to Her Majesty the Queen, devolved administrations and international institutions such as the European Union (EU).

It reflects the importance of Parliament and Cabinet government, and the democratic nature of the UK’s constitutional arrangements.

The manual is primarily intended to provide a guide for members of Cabinet, other Ministers, and Civil Servants in the carrying out of government business, but will also serve to bring greater transparency about the mechanisms of Government, informing the public whom the government serves.

The Cabinet Manual has been published in draft and comments are welcomed by 8 March 2011 and can be sent to: [email protected]

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This entry was posted in Parliament.


  • Cue Labour outrage about how this is an abuse of power in some unspecified way.

  • “a constitution is not the act of a government, but of the people constituting a government.” – Paine.

    I say no.

    I stll hold out hopes, that with the Conservatives wanting a ‘bill of rights’ the Lib-dems wanting a written constitution, formed via a citizens convention. There may be some middle ground there….

  • As it is not legally binding, I don’t see how it can be seen as a constitution, draft or otherwise.

  • Ed Maxfield 14th Dec '10 - 9:35pm

    It would be a peculiarly British constitution that was composed by the civil service, limited to the role of the cabinet and not offered to the citizenry for their consent.

  • Erskine May is more of a constitution than this, and I am deeply concerned at the implications that this document entails. Including that civil service obsession with ‘collective responsibility’. Nick Clegg’s biggest problem at the moment is that he is surrounded by too many civil servants and not enough Lib Dems.

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