Assemblies for Democracy was launched in July 2014 at a meet in the House of Commons chaired by John McDonnell MP. Assemblies have also been active in Wales, Scotland, Manchester and in Ireland. We have worked with many different organisations and established a loose, broad alliance on the question of the constitution.
Two successful Assemblies were held in London in 2015 (March and November). Both attracted a wide range of speakers, including John McDonnell, Natalie Bennett, then leader of the Green Party, John Hendy QC from the Haldane Society, Stuart White, politics professor, Oxford University, Alexandra Runswick, Unlock Democracy and speakers from Occupy London.
In November 2015, the Assembly launched a Convention Planning Group and invited those present to become members. The CPG has continued to meet regularly to develop the project and reinforce the connection between democracy and the constitution.
In May 2016, a packed meeting in the House of Commons discussed how to develop a convention. A survey of those attending was made to assess where common ground existed.
In July 2016, the Guardian published a letter drafted by Assemblies for London calling for a convention in the wake of the constitutional implications of the vote for Brexit. This was signed by Compass, Unlock Democracy, Global Justice Now!, Michael Mansfield QC, actor Michael Sheen, Stuart White and Natalie Bennett for the Green Party in England and Wales.
In the same month, a day of deliberation was held on the process and practice of a convention on the constitution. The results were assessed and published and are a significant contribution to the project.
We collaborated with Michael Mansfield QC on an article that advocated a convention on the constitution. This was published by the Guardian in December 2016.
Assemblies for Democracy has established good relationships with King’s College’s constitutional unit and the constitution unit at University College London.
Our own work has included an online mapping exercise on the UK constitution, a history of Assemblies for Democracy, creating a strategic plan and contributing articles to Open Democracy.