LONDON, February 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
A unique crowdsourcing project run by the London School of Economics, giving ordinary Britons a say in how their country should be governed, has revealed growing support for an elected head of state to curb the Government's powers.
The LSE Constitution UK project, which gives people a chance to help draft the country's first formal, written constitution, has also attracted a number of votes for the formal separation of church and state in the United Kingdom.
Coinciding with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, LSE's 10-week internet crowdsourcing project hopes to generate vigorous debate within the country about the need to update a centuries-old charter to reflect modern values in the UK.
Spearheaded by LSE's Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), the Constitution UK project is canvassing opinion on 10 key issues including devolution, whether the UK should have a monarch, abolish the House of Lords or exit the European Union.
Since launching last month, the online platform at http://www.constitutionuk.com has drawn a wide range of views from across the UK, including reaching out to regional areas and different socio economic and political groups.
Recent ideas put forward by the public include replacing the House of Lords with a people's jury; giving each district the right to elect their mayor; allowing judges the right to strike down unconstitutional laws; and stripping people of British citizenship if they are convicted of certain crimes.
Human rights lawyer and IPA Director Professor Conor Gearty says the lack of a formal Constitution in the UK is the basis for the crowdsourcing project.
"With the public's help, we have already agreed on a set of values which will underpin a new Constitution and these include things like diversity, protection of freedoms and self-esteem, and a guarantee of human security.
"It is crucial that we get the views of ordinary people and not rely on academics or politicians to dominate the debate," Professor Gearty says.
"The aim is to demystify the word 'constitution' and make people realise that it is not an abstract theory but something that affects each and every one of us in a very direct way."
People are urged to log on to the website http://www.constitutionuk.com, share their views on what should be included in a formal Constitution, vote on ideas and question the experts.
The top 20 online contributors will be invited to a Constitutional Convention in March when the project will culminate in a collaborative draft of a final written document which will be presented to Parliament in June, on the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
Professor Gearty has already chaired a Constitutional debate in Cambridge and other public debates are scheduled for Nottingham, Liverpool and Portsmouth in coming weeks.
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