Jacob Rees-Mogg

Parliament matters more than ever after Brexit

(Getty images)

My contention in this speech is that it is our constitution that makes us prosperous and that returning powers to Westminster from Europe will boost our economic growth. But explaining why our nation has been so successful over the centuries relies first on recognising the existence, and then identifying the nature, of an unseen dark matter which lies at the heart of British governance.

I fear this missing link, this secret ingredient, has not received sufficient acknowledgement – despite its presence being detected by many members of the Study of Parliament Group over the years.

It will certainly help rebut Lord Hailsham’s assertion that governments in Britain tend towards undermining Parliament to the benefit of the executive through what he called an ‘elective dictatorship’.

Many commentators have come to use the phrase ‘elective dictatorship’ as shorthand for an overbearing administration and the inevitable criticisms of Standing Order 14 which follow.

In this speech, I aim to demonstrate that the fundamentals which underpin our system of governance and have developed over many centuries both explain our success as a nation and provide reassurance that the right balance continues to be struck between the executive and the legislature today.


Ours is an uncodified constitution supported by four pillars: freedom of speech, rights of property, the rule of law and democracy.

Together they have created the stable conditions necessary for economic growth and, ultimately, prosperity over a prolonged period.

In the 1960s many wondered if the Soviet Union could successfully take a viable alternative path after three decades of seemingly remarkable economic growth.

But their achievements proved illusory and other countries which are dismissive of the four pillars are likely to encounter a similar fate.

This is because economies ultimately suffer when they become dominated by the extractive institutions described so well by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson.

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