This year's Bingham Lecture will be given by Dr Hannah White, Deputy Director at the Institute of Government. Time pressure is a necessary constraint on aspects of the constitution, but it can also pose a threat to good government, parliamentary accountability and scrutiny. In this lecture Hannah White will consider the impact on the constitution of the time constraints created by the Article 50 process and the COVID-19 pandemic. She will examine the ways in which time pressure shaped the May and Johnson governments’ strategies for giving effect to the 2016 referendum result and how they controlled time in pursuit of their policy objectives. She will discuss the impact on procedures and conventions of the imperative for the government to act swiftly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the opportunities and risks of the precedents set. In concluding she will reflect on the lasting legacy of the time pressure exerted on the constitution during these two exceptional periods and offer some thoughts about how the constitution might be protected against the negative consequences of governing under time constraints.
Dr Hannah White is Deputy Director of the Institute for Government where she oversees its programme of research on government, parliament and the civil service and leads its work on Parliament. Before joining the Institute in 2015 she spent a decade working in Westminster and Whitehall. Before running the Committee on Standards in Public Life in the Cabinet Office, she was a clerk in the House of Commons - managing select and legislative committees and advising on parliamentary procedure. She received an OBE in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to the Constitution. Hannah is a regular commentator for radio and television, a frequent contributor to the Institute’s comment pages and writes for a range of media including The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and Prospect magazine.