Do we need a new constitution?

Graham Smith

Tuesday, October 15 2019 at 7:30PM

Download iCalendar file
(e.g. import to Outlook or Google Calendar)


38 West Street
PO19 1RP

Tel: 01243 783185

Graham Smith

What's the talk about?

Brexit has highlighted huge flaws in the British constitution, not least the impotence and irrelevance of our Head of State.

As parliament struggles to assert itself, government appears to be in chaos and the public are more divided than ever over how we should be governed, it's time for a radical re-think of our constitution.

Yet in a normal world the changes we need shouldn't be seen as radical. Make our parliamentary system genuinely democratic from top to bottom and re-balance the power between government, parliament and the people. And in the middle of a revitalised constitution a new head of state, elected by the people for the people.

Graham Smith has been CEO of Republic since 2005. He originally joined the group in 1990 before moving to Australia where he was involved in community and charity work. On his return he stood for election to local government and has graduated from Open University with a degree in International Studies.

Graham first got involved with Republic as a volunteer in 2003. Since then he has transformed the campaign group, building a strong supporter base and raising the campaign’s media profile. He has also played a leading role in establishing and nurturing the Alliance of European Republican Movements.

Summary of talk

I would normally write a summary of this talk but the Republic website is so clear and full of information that there doesn't seem much point. All I can add is the following observations.

Graham is a most competent and engaging speaker who has a firm 
grasp of the facts. In the short time available, he managed to give an overview of the Republic campaign.

Anyone attending this talk will have been left in no doubt: our monarchy is not fit for purpose. Indeed, it hampers parliament and takes the place of a properly functioning head of state, i.e. a democratically elected President.

Graham answered many questions, including:

What does he think about the Queen being Defender of the Faith? Graham has given talks to Humanist groups on this issue and of course opposes the privileged position of religion in our constitution.

Are there any checks on an elected President? Graham prefers a neutral President who actively promotes the UK and upholds a written constitution. He does not support a US style political presidency. A President could be impeached if they abuse their power. On the other hand, a President can prevent abuses, e.g. the recent prolonged prorogation of parliament for political gain.

Does the monarchy increase tourism? This is one of a number of myths that are debunked on the Republic website. Graham convincingly argued that the monarchy does not increase tourism and is a drain on the public purse.

Visit for more information. You can sign up for regular emails, become a member and make a donation.