British & Scottish Politics

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In this blog Professor Tierney argues that the legality of a unilateral referendum organised by the Scottish Parliament is a grey area. He also offers personal reflections from his experience as a parliamentary adviser at the time of the 2014 referendum and contends that a referendum held without an agreed process would have been damaging then and would be damaging now. It is incumbent upon both governments to ensure that a political solution to the current dispute is achieved and that, in particular, such a divisive issue is not left to the courts to settle. 
 
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With Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May taking apparently incompatible positions over a second independence referendum, Michael Keating considers whether the constitution is now at breaking point. 

The UK Government’s decision appears to be final. A Scottish independence referendum is not ruled out in principle but it is off the table until after Brexit. This is understandable from the UK perspective. The Government has no desire to conduct a war on two fronts or to weaken the UK position in negotiations with the EU. 

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Richard Parry discusses considerations facing Theresa May as decision time approaches on a second independence referendum. 
 
Theresa May’s speech in Glasgow on 3 March developed a line of argument that opened up a new perspective on devolution and the Conservative Party’s role in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: 
 
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If Brexit talks go to schedule (and don't break down), the shape of any deal should be clear by the autumn of 2018. Kirsty Hughes explains what will be known by then and how various political actors may respond. 
 
If Theresa May triggers Article 50 on schedule this month, then Brexit talks should end in autumn 2018 – in time for ratification or approval by the European Council (by a qualified majority vote), European Parliament and Westminster ahead of March 2019 (when Article 50’s two year deadline will expire). 
 
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Book Launch: Debating Scotland

Debating ScotlandOn 18 September 2014, Scotland held a referendum on the question: Should Scotland be an independent country? This is a most unusual event in modern democracies and engaged the political class, civil society, and the general public to an unprecedented degree, leading to an 85 per cent turnout in the final vote.

Brexit poses a considerable challenge to both sides in the Scottish indeopendence debate, says Michael Keating, as the demand to take back sovereignty requires us to say where it comes back to; London or Edinburgh.
 
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